How to Prepare Workshops for Individuals With ASD
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition, autistic children and adults alike can benefit from participating in art programs. If you’re a workshop facilitator looking to create safe, supportive learning environments for those with ASD, you have come to the right place. In this post, you’ll learn some of the benefits of artmaking and considerations needed to prepare a workshop for people with autism.
Benefits of Arts for Individuals With Autism
- Enhance Communication Skills: People with ASD can have trouble decoding others’ emotions and expressing their feelings as other people do. They can also be very rigid in their thinking process and find it difficult to adapt to changing circumstances. Creating art can help to develop these skills as well as others, such as independence, self-confidence, and flexibility.
- Improve Self-Control: Many adults and children on the autism spectrum lack impulse control and can be easily overstimulated. Providing structured activities can help them stay in control of their emotions. On the other hand, giving people with ASD a safe place to experience small changes in routine and circumstances is also beneficial. Finding the balance between enough structure and enough freedom is essential.
- Use Art to Relax and Unwind: Since creating art can be an incredibly tactile experience, individuals with autism can benefit greatly from activities such as sculpting with clay, finger painting, carving, and other high-touch exercises. People with ASD are also often very visual thinkers and excel at reproducing images either through observation or from their own mind. Other modalities, such as music and dance can be very relaxing for those who prefer physical touch or movement to being still and quiet.
Steps to Plan and Run an Art Workshop
- Research the Impact of Art on People with ASD- As a workshop facilitator, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of both ASD and how artmaking can contribute to the life of a person with ASD. Be ready to answer questions that caregivers or clients themselves may have. Some resources include:
- The Impact of Art on Autism (from Autism Care Today)
- The Value Of Art Therapy For Those On The Autism Spectrum (from The Art of Autism)
- Art as an Early Intervention Tool for Children With Autism by Nicole Martin
- Consider your Clients’ Needs - Before choosing a theme or focus for your workshop, consider the needs of your students or clients. Find out if any of the participants have sensory issues or physical limitations (like aversion to sticky substances or loud noises). Knowing your clients’ needs is essential to ensuring that your workshop is successful and that it protects the mental and emotional health of the participants.
- Look for Reputable Art Courses or Workshop Facilitators- If you are looking to bring in a workshop facilitator or are considering taking online classes for yourself, look for courses and art programs that have worked with clients with ASD before. Circle Painting is a non-profit organization with over a decade of experience helping facilitators and workshop hosts incorporate art into their programs. Our artists and facilitators have experience hosting events for special populations, including people with ASD, visual and hearing impairments, the elderly, and more. We offer a variety of online courses for workshop facilitators and social workers who want to deepen their knowledge or acquire certification in supporting individuals with autism or other specific needs.
Many therapists and facilitators believe they don't have the artistic talent to include art in their programs. However, you don't need to have an art degree or consider yourself creative to add art projects into your practice. All you need is a desire to learn and help others.
Our masterclasses at Circle Painting provide professionals with the skills and tools they need to better support the children they parent, care for, or work with.
Our Online Courses Will Help You:
- Facilitate engaging art project and expand your program
- Build a strong relationship with your clients
- Connect with children who may not be able to verbalize their emotions or thoughts
- Promote the use of art in therapy practices and programs
Start Your Collaborative Art Journey Today
Collaborative art projects such as Circle Painting is a comforting activity that can provide an outlet for self-expression and encourage social interaction in a safe, non-judgmental environment. If you want to plan and run workshops for individuals on the autism spectrum, sign up for Circle Painting’s online courses. Get in touch with us today to get started.