Art Therapy helps kids with behavioural and learning problems

fingerpaint baby
Art therapy is helping children in the UK get back on track, as a new study suggests.

via Fox News

The Art Room program, which started in 2002, is aimed at children between the ages of 5-16 who have been identified as needing emotional and behavioural support by their teachers.

There are currently nine Art Room programs in UK schools. More than 10,000 children have been through the Art Program since its inception.

“It works closely with schools to support children within the school environment and help them find creative ways to bolster their self-esteem,” said Melissa Cortina, a consultant research psychologist with The Art Room.

In a study published in the journal The Arts in Psychotherapy, researchers found that children can achieve and learn through art.

The purpose and goal of the program is to help children to re-engage with their education. The Art Room works with the children on their therapy and social skills.

For the new study, Cortina and colleague Mina Fazel of Oxford University analyzed questionnaires filled out by 169 students in the program and their teachers before and after the 2012-2013 school year. Overall that year, more than 1,000 kids from 13 feeder schools attended The Art Room.

Based on teacher responses, students improved in all areas. There was a 37 percent reduction in a topic called Total Difficulties, a 41 percent reduction in emotional problems, a 15 percent reduction in conduct problems, a 33 percent reduction in hyperactivity, a 41 percent reduction in problems with classmates and a 24 percent improvement in social behavior.

On the children’s part, there was a notable drop in depression symptoms. Before the program, 16 students (22 percent) had been classified as depressed. After the program, less than 4 percent qualified as depressed.

The Art Room intervention is not something that parents can easily duplicate at home, however “it is certainly possible for parents to adopt some of the techniques used in The Art Room for home, such as creating a positive, support environment that promotes creativity,” Cortina said.

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