As a mom who has ADD with two busy twins I often find myself wondering what I can do with my kids to calm them down… OK me too… and help us focus. Though art and crafts projects often makes it even more crazy around the house, I have come to notice how the creative process can help my kids to manage their feelings and behaviours and how good it is for me as a mother to observe it. Though I don’t know much personally about art therapy, I’ve got TheSpecialMom to explain a bit more…
ADHD support source ADDitude published statistical research, which found that in every classroom of 30 students, between 1-3 children have ADHD. This shows that the condition is more widespread than some people might think.
There are many ways to deal with ADHD, but studies have shown that one highly effective alternative method is art therapy. Just as the name suggests – encouraging a child with ADHD to draw, paint, create sculptures, or do other things related to art.
Here’s why it works:
Michael Fogel, an art psychotherapist, explained on Everyday Health that art therapy helps with impulsivity, decision making, coping, sequencing, flexibility, and social skills, and can help boost self-esteem. Considering that a child with ADHD can lose control, it is effective if you give the child something to practice or work with.
Fogel states, “In art therapy, you can practice working on self-control. If you strategically give a child something like paint, it’s a big giant mess. You can ask, ‘How did that turn out? What would you do differently next time so that your project comes out better?'”
A study paper by Adler Graduate School highlights numerous advantages of utilising art therapy on children with ADHD.
– Provides a steady channel for expending energy
– Boosts imagination and abstract thinking
– Promotes sensory integration
– Allows expression of emotions
– Enhances social skills
– Relaxes state of mind
– Develops problem-solving skills
Things to Remember
Always keep in mind that the essence of art therapy is the process, and not the artwork. Talk to your child about how it feels to draw, sculpt, etc. Let your child express feelings, whether positive or negative.
Enquire about the project. Ask simple questions like, “What name would you give to your sculpture?” or “What are you drawing?” This will allow your child to express his/her point of view.
If your child feels disappointment over artwork they have created, it’s actually better not to automatically reassure him/her that the artwork is beautiful. Instead, ask your child what they could have done differently. This promotes the value of not quitting.
Lastly, never hesitate to seek support. Find and join groups with members who’ve experienced, or are going through, similar situations.
Conversely, even joining something as simple as a community with other parents will already help, regardless of whether they have children with ADHD or not. At the end of the day, all parents just want what’s best for their child.
In an interview with Wear and Where, single mom Kate Pietrasik and founder of award-winning children’s unisex clothing label Tootsa, was asked about seeking parenting support. She said, “There is a lot of help out there if you go looking. Government schemes, free courses and organisations to help and don’t dismiss people in your own circle of friends and contacts.”
Caring for a child who has ADHD can be a grueling task. But exploring different ways of addressing the situation, including art therapy, and keeping in touch with a stable support system will definitely make things a lot easier.
Exclusively written for KraftiMama
TheSpecialMom is a researcher and writer for various publications, both print and online. Due to her high personal interest in science, she has created numerous articles about different scientific fields, including physics, medicine, and astronomy. Watch out for her blog soon!