Art Exhibit Highlights Skills of Children With Cerebral Palsy

cerebral-palsy-artworkChildren with cerebral palsy can struggle with many significant impacts on their lives. They may not be able to walk, talk, eat, hear, or balance like other children. This can make it difficult for them to lead normal lives and succeed in social situations. While cerebral palsy can reduce motor skills, these children still have vivid imaginations and the need for creativity. Art therapy can fill this need, and demonstrate the incredible artistic skills of children with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy and Art Exhibits

Many cerebral palsy art exhibits and galleries exist throughout the United States. There are hundreds of artists who participate in cerebral palsy art therapy and donate or sell their pieces to exhibitions. One gallery in particular highlights the talents of cerebral palsy patients: the Washington Reid Gallery in Los Angeles, California. Every piece of artwork in this gallery came from artists with cerebral palsy. Although it displays artwork from adults, not children, it still exemplifies the outstanding artistic skills people with cerebral palsy have.

Children with cerebral palsy can also find success and social acceptance through art therapy and related exhibits. Children enrolled in art therapy at young ages can create pieces that help them express their creativity and build confidence. It can also yield a sense of freedom and independence, being able to draw or paint whatever they want without help from others. Cerebral palsy artists have found great success showing and selling their work in national galleries, helping them lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

The Benefits of Art Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Children

Cerebral palsy patients benefit from many different forms of therapy, including recreational therapies. Recreational therapies such as art and music therapy encourage creativity and provide a variety of mental and physical health benefits. Multiple studies have proven the benefits of art therapy for children with cerebral palsy, particularly in relation to speech intelligibility.

Patients who engage in art therapy often show improvements in speech and language functions - even more so than patients who undergo articulation rehabilitation. One study found that art therapy directly improved the intelligibility of speech in children with cerebral palsy; specifically, in children with dysarthria. Dysarthria is a common condition connected to cerebral palsy that affects speech intelligibility and psycho-social adjustment in children.

Dysarthria can make it difficult for other children to understand those with cerebral palsy, often resulting in feelings of isolation and social problems. Art therapy, even when not focused on language therapy, can improve dysarthria and overall intelligibility. Art therapy stimulates expression and linguistic performance, and can lead to marked improvements even in children with severe dysarthria. Art therapy programs can be life-changing for children who struggle with language development disorders, speech impediments, and intelligibility due to cerebral palsy.

Other Creative Therapies for Cerebral Palsy

Art is not the only form of creative therapy suitable for children with cerebral palsy. Numerous forms of physical, occupational, and recreational therapies exist to specifically target conditions associated with cerebral palsy. Enrolling children in therapies at a young age could help with early development and achieve lifelong positive results. The following are some other creative therapies available to treat cerebral palsy conditions:

  • Play therapy. Play therapy is organized group therapy focused on child play. It is an inclusive, interactive type of therapy that can help build self-esteem, confidence, and social skills. It lets children have fun, express creativity, and enjoy freedom of emotion. It can involve drawing, playing games, stringing beads, and other enjoyable activities.
  • Music therapy. Music therapy can help children with cerebral palsy relax, combat stress and anxiety, and achieve a sense of peace. It uses musical instruments to help children express themselves, improve mobility, and work on social and language skills. It is a flexible type of rehabilitation that can help both verbal and non-verbal children.
  • Dance therapy. Dance therapy is another creative option for children with cerebral palsy. It creates feelings of joy, freedom, and relaxation for children while simultaneously improving motor function, balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and overall well-being. Dance therapy can improve self-esteem and self-confidence as well.

Children with cerebral palsy have dreams, desires, and skills just like other children. Art therapy and other forms of creative therapy can help children express these sides of themselves, while also showing the world their talents. Art exhibits for children with cerebral palsy can boost confidence and give children a sense of belonging with other kids their age. Many therapists, schools, and special needs camps use art therapy and host exhibits for these reasons.

Could Your Child Benefit From Art Therapy?

Most children with cerebral palsy can benefit greatly from art therapy. Supporting your child's venture into the arts can be an important symbol of your appreciation for his or her skills. Children with cerebral palsy can benefit from having others appreciate their artwork. They can improve self-confidence, become more comfortable in social situations, and improve disabilities such as dysarthria or physical limitations. Art therapy can be a child's gateway to the rest of the world.