The role of art therapy intervention on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Khoo, Yi-Ling Magdelene
Nurhidayah Binte Yusoff
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder represented by deficits in communication, interaction, and engagement. It is also marked by inflexible or enduring patterns of behaviours, activities, and interests that emerge early in life. Behaviour modification therapies are conventional best practices to address the ASD symptoms. In recent years, creative treatments in the form of art therapy (specifically visual arts) has emerged to support certain facets of ASD that current mainstream treatments overlooked, particularly in the socio-emotional and sensory-motor domains. Although art therapy has evolved over the last few decades, it remains discounted as it has not been widely endorsed to date. Hence, the potential of art therapy as a valuable intervention to serve the special needs population should be highlighted. As such, this review aims to explore the diverse applicability of art therapy to the ASD population. Findings suggest that art therapy appears to be helpful in enhancing socio-emotional bonding with caregivers, and also aids to soothe emotional anxieties to ease apprehension, and thereby facilitate interaction. Additionally, art therapy is beneficial in integrating sensory-motor experiences to regulate daily functioning of individuals with ASD. Unfortunately, more evidence is required to ascertain whether art therapy is helpful in improving speech and language processing, recognition of emotions, and joint attention. However, existing literature tend to be qualitative in nature. Thus, future research in art therapy should lean towards empirically-based controlled studies in order to establish the effectiveness of art therapy as a credible intervention for individuals with ASD.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University