To this day, many still do not understand the nature of autism and our culture still does not have a solid solution for autistic children after their parents die. Continue reading
Louis (age 4) had a very hard time transitioning. He used to have a tantrum every time a transition occurred. We created an individualized visual schedule of his day for him to keep at his work station and shortly … Continue reading
A known problem is developing where parents of children with autism are unable to talk to their doctors about their child’s autism due to their physician’s lack of knowledge about treatments and community resources. Continue reading
There is some evidence that certain treatments are helpful. Continue reading
According to the National Autism Association, wandering-related factors remain one of the top causes of death within the autistic population. This is horrifying as 1 in 68 children have Autism. Many children with autism are prone to wander and when … Continue reading
It has long been known that music can soothe almost anything from the atom level up. The studies of music frequency and its effect has been analyzed by scientists, therapists, dictators, businessmen, and so many others, not to mention musicians … Continue reading
With bullying the way it is, ‘Finding Dory’ is an exceptional movie for all children. However, its message is even stronger for those on the Autism Spectrum. The film has been in theaters for less than a week and already its … Continue reading
An autistic child is afraid of letters, but loves drawing faces.
So Patrick Allred, a registered behavior technician who works with the Utah Autism Academy, used to help him learn. Drawing faces on each letter helped him get over his anxiety about letters, said Allred, “With these letters, he was able to learn the alphabet because they were nice to him, they weren’t scary.”
Art, and how it can help children with autism, was the topic of an art talk Tuesday evening at the Woodbury Art Museum, where three professionals who utilize art therapy talked about how children who have difficulties vocalizing needs can learn to use art to communicate.
Allred has involved students in projects where they will draw what they’re afraid of, or will listen to music and draw how the music made them feel. He shared with a small audience how a child learned to draw faces with different expressions and emotions, and would mimic each face as he drew it.
Jenny Elizabeth, an artist who has used art therapy to help children, spoke on how art can be used to help with trauma. She has witnessed that some art mediums are seen as safer than others, like watercolors, which can evoke more emotion than pencils.
“You can tell a lot about where a person is and what they need to work on if you look at the media they’re using and what they are drawing,” Elizabeth said.
George Cepull, a professional artist who volunteers as an art instructor at local elementary schools, is known to his students as “Mr. Cepull, the man with the robot leg.” When he enters classrooms, he dresses so the students can see his prosthetic leg.
“I am something different to them, and I think that helps them adapt to the real world,” Cepull said.
He teaches the children that everything is made up of shapes, and making a picture is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. At the end of his lessons, he projects their drawings onto a screen.
“I think this is a way they can feel good about themselves and see what they can do,” Cepull said. “They can see their art on the wall.”
A recent study conducted by Vanderbilt University confirms the fact that acting is a new form of therapy for children diagnosed with autism. The study consisted in comparing children who participated in a theater program for 10 weeks to those who did not. According to the research, children who actively engaged in the program saw an improvement in their social skills including their ability to interact and behave with others as well as their communication.
The art form of acting is extremely beneficial for children with autism since not only does it involve observing and interpreting ideas, but also expressing them verbally as well as nonverbally through body language. The theater program which the children attended is called the Social Emotional Neuroscience & Endocrinology (SENSE) Theatre. This program in specific focuses on evaluating the social skills of children with autism.
The 30 children selected ranged in ages 8 all the way up to 14 and were about evenly distributed to the experimental group and the control group. Researchers found that those children participating in the acting program saw a vast improvement in their ability to remember faces due to new changes in their brain patterns. In other words, the activity of acting paved new connections and therefore new thought pattens as well.
Another benefit of participating in the program results in the children spending more time outdoors playing in groups with other children. They also were more communicative with their families at home and in their respective communities. The SENSE Theatre also introduced actors from another local university and paired them each with a child.
The peer actors were trained to provide supportive and engaging dynamic skills with their assigned child and allowed them to try out different acting methods such as improvisation or role-playing all on their own. The program finishes with a stage performance carried out by both the actor and the child. The data shows that it is possible for children with autism to improve the way they interact with the exterior world and acting seems to make those interactions smoother for them in the long run.
For additional information, please visit PsychCentral.
By Edgar Catasus
A recent research study conducted by psychologists from the University of East Anglia in England have discovered a surprising link between creativity and autism. Their study has uncovered that individuals on the autism spectrum produce original and unusual ideas to a particular problem more frequently. At the same time, they’re also more likely to respond fewer times to the same problem. This unique way of processing information is called divergent thinking.
The study examined individuals who demonstrate certain behavior patterns and thoughts that are related to autism without being diagnosed with the condition. The purpose was to show how some traits associated with autism can be beneficial and not harmful to the development of a person. “People with high autistic traits could be said to have less quantity, but greater quality of creative ideas”, says Dr. Martin Doherty from UEA’s School of Psychology.
The study consisted of a series of tests in order to determine the participant’s level of creativity when solving a certain task. Out of the study’s 312 participants, 75 of them were on the autism spectrum disorder. They were instructed to come up with alternative uses for a brick or a paper clip. Four or more uses meant that the individual was likely to display more autistic traits. The test also consisted on showing the participants four abstract drawings in which they had to give as many as ideas possible in just under one minute of time. Again, the more number of ideas produced were related to a higher level of autistic traits.
Even though most persons would go for cognitively simple answers at first, those that exhibit autistic traits go straight for the more complex and demanding strategies. According to Dr. Doherty, this means “people with autistic traits may approach creativity problems in a different way”. Noted celebrities such as Temple Grandin and Stephen Wiltshire are prime examples of individuals diagnosed with autism who are yet immensely creative to their dedicated field of profession. This remarkable link between creativity and autism is helping researchers understand the brain better and they are hoping future findings can aid persons that are on and off the autism spectrum.
By Edgar Catasus
For additional information, please visit: http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/08/16/the-link-between-autism-and-creativity/90899.html