ADHD and Art Therapy: Setting Your Child Up for Success
By: Lisa Lamoreaux, MA, LPC
If your child has been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or you suspect they are struggling with symptoms of ADHD it is important to provide them the tools needed to thrive at school, in the home, and in life. Art therapy has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of ADHD.
ADHD has a genetic component and impacts learning and behavior. ADHD can affect people of any age, gender, IQ, and socioeconomic status. If undiagnosed or left untreated a person can go through life struggling in school and at work, can have difficulty regulating emotions, have low self-esteem, have problems in relationships, and often struggle with impulsive/risky behavior resulting in risk to safety and possible run-ins with the law.
As an art therapist working with children diagnosed with ADHD I have witnessed the art making process support them in strengthening working memory, increasing focus, increasing problem solving, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation skills, and improving self-esteem.
Art can provide a visual record that can support working memory. When a child looks at previous art directives they can recount what they were feeling and/or thinking at the time they created the piece, and can support them in remembering events surrounding the artwork.
Many children are naturally drawn to art materials, and because it is something that interests them they are able to engage in art making activities for extended periods of time. Art activities can also require the child to progress through a sequence of changing directives requiring sustained focus.
When creating art children are often required to problem solve when something doesn’t work out as planned. This also provides a great opportunity for the child to practice tolerating frustration leading to increased emotional regulation. And finally completing a piece of art the child is proud of and/or satisfied with, leads to an increase in healthy self-esteem.
With the right supports a child diagnosed with ADHD can thrive. Art therapy can support a child in increasing focus, self-esteem, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, problem solving skills, and working memory, and these skills can directly translate into the school and home environment.
Art Therapy is a great tool for any circumstance if you have questions feel free to contact us. We are here to help! Our therapeutic services can assist with any challenge that may need some extra attention. Lisa Lamoreaux, MA, LPC is an Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor that is a Partner Practitioner at Violet Hive Art Therapy. Check out more about her approach and work with ADD/ADHD and the Autism Spectrum on our Collective Team page.
Do Good and Be Well,