Art is for fun...but it can also be therapeutic

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) by Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) Additional Needs

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

Art is a fun activity that can foster bonding between friends, siblings, parents and children.

More importantly; it’s just another opportunity to have fun and create memories!

As a pediatric physiotherapist, we try to create sessions that are full of fun, filled with age appropriate activities, which also serve a therapeutic purpose.

There are many ways to help a child actively participate in creating their own little piece of art.

If a child can sit independently or if they’re able to move their hands away from their body while in an adaptive seat, there are several ways they can create a master piece.

One way to set up this activity is to get a giant piece of paper and lay it on the table, or post it on the wall.

Draw a line down the middle, and model what the action is. Strokes can be long, straight, diagonal, or just scribbled.

Of course, the most common way to draw is with chalk, markers, crayons (which now can come in different shapes) or paint, and paper.

A child can finger paint or hold a paintbrush, a bingo marker, a sponge, newspaper scrunched up, or material scrunched up and even taped to the child’s hand if they cannot volitionally grasp the material.

Throughout this activity some things to note are whether the child can maintain contact with the paper.

Some additional benefits include: hand eye coordination, grasp, upper extremity strengthening, range of motion, standing, sitting, weight shifting and even communication.

A fun suggestion: turn on different types of music, and ask your child to color according to what they hear. The strokes may be slow, rhythmic, long strokes or short, sporadic, choppy strokes.

This is always a fun and exciting activity.

During warm weather, you can also use finger paints on a sheet of plexi glass outside, and then spray it off with a hose.

You can paint the bottom of the child’s feet and have them stomp on the floor, paper or grass.

If the child is non ambulatory, a parent can hold a trifold up and have them press against it with their feet.

I even had a little guy roll across a roll of paper with washable paint and he created a beautiful masterpiece!

Art is fun, but can also benefit motor, visuospatial and communication skills. So, seek out washable paint, a variety of shapes and sizes for the crayons, markers or brushes, and try a variety of positions. It changes the whole experience.


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