school art therapy

When a student is distracted by emotional issues, learning disabilities, speech or language disorders, behavioral disorders or illness, even a well-trained, experienced teacher may be unable to get beyond these barriers to a student’s learning. As one professional on a student services team, the school art therapist is not only trained to recognize these barriers, but to diagnose problems and provide individualized interventions and services to help the student focus on learning.
Art therapy provides a visual and verbal approach to accessing and addressing student needs. As a natural mode of communication for children, it is a means of externalizing the complexities of emotional pain. Children rarely resist the art-making process because it offers ways to express themselves that are less threatening than strictly verbal means.

•    Collaborate with teachers, parents, and school personnel about learning, social and behavior problems
•    Help others understand child development and its relationship to learning and behavior
•    Strengthen working relationships between educators, parents, and the community
•    provide educational programs on: classroom management strategies, parenting skills, working with students who have special needs, teaching and learning strategies using art as informal assessment in the classroom, and child development and its relationship to cognitive and emotional growth
•    evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management procedures, and other services provided in the school setting
•    conduct research to generate new knowledge to improve learning and behavior
•    Working closely with parents and teachers, school art therapists use a wide variety of techniques to evaluate:

o    cognitive and emotional development
o    academic strengths and weaknesses
o    school and classroom programs
o    personality development
•    work directly with students and families to help solve conflicts and problems related to learning and adjustment
•    provide counseling and social skills training, behavior management, and other interventions help families deal with difficult crises such as separation or loss

Connie Gretsch