Occupational therapists work with children to help them engage in everyday activities such as work and play. Art therapy is based on the idea that artistic creation is therapeutic to expressing one's thoughts and emotions. Art therapy has been used with many different people, such as children with learning difficulties, autism or a history of abuse. Today, the use of art therapy has expanded to include individuals wanting to explore their potential or resolve some social problem. Occupational therapists often used art therapy with clients who have difficulty speaking and writing, including children with special needs. Art therapy is typically a fun and meaningful occupation for children, families and therapists.
Examples of art therapy include:
-drawings on paper using crayons, charcoal pencil, pencil, brushes or markers
-painting using watercolours, oil-based paint, chalk pastels
-building clay sculptures using playdough or clay
When designing art therapy with children, occupational therapists use client-centred principles to select strategies that a child and family are interested in and find meaningful. For example, occupational therapists consider the client's preferences, such as uncomfortable sensations when handling clay or finger painting.