Art Therapy

The American Art Therapy Association states:  Art Therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting art work to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self- awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self esteem.  

A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.  Art Therapy practice requires knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms) and the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.
Art Therapy Interventions may also be designed to:

  • Address motor  and perceptual skills
  • Address cognitive- perceptual organization
  • Address self-help skills/prevocational and vocational skills
  • Address social emotional status
  • Improve/develop communication
  • Improve availability for learning
  • Teach and promote Social Skills
  • Address School Safety
What is public school art therapy (AT) service?
As a related service according to IDEA, AT service assists students to be functional participants in their educational environment.  Art therapists provide direct and consult services to a student when assessed to show that AT is need to assist in gaining IEP progress.
Art Therapy may include:
  • use of graphic media to assist with readiness and organizational skills in the classroom
  • use of art and art interventions/prescribed activities to help a student achieve objectives on the IEP
  • providing teachers with adaptive interventions to assist with regulation and sensory needs
What are the levels of AT service?
  • Direct:  provided directly as coded on their IEP to a student either individually or within a group when AT is shown to provide an assist and/or motivation in performing goal related behavior
  • Consult: monthly or quarterly direct sessions with the student, as coded on their IEP, to develop AT strategies to be shared with classroom for classroom implementation
  • Resource: At ideas provided on an informal basis upon request to a teacher or parent when a student would not qualify for direct/consult services.  This sometimes includes information on the Supplementary Aides and Services section of the IEP.
Which students are eligible for AT services on the IEP?
  • Using the Art Therapy referral process, a teacher, school counselor, school social worker or psychologist, or the IEP team determines that a student is not making IEP progress and appears to display positive behaviors when non-verbal and/or art materials are available in the classroom environment
  • The school will contact an AT to have them complete an informal pre-assessment observation to determine if the guidelines are met
  • If the AT determines that a student qualifies for an assessment, a team is held to give permission to assess
  • An Art Therapy Assessment is completed by the art therapist within 90 days
Who provides school AT services?
Art Therapy services are provided by Nationally Board Certified Art Therapists who are Licensed Art Therapists in the State of Maryland and employed by BCPS.  The Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist (LCPAT), and Board Certified Registered Art Therapist (ATR-BC) signifies that each has completed a degree from an approved American Art Therapy Association program, completed required internships, passed the national and state certification exams, and continues to complete required continuing education programs equaling 20 credits per year.

Art Therapists are part of the transdisciplinary team who use art therapy interventions to assist with IEP objectives provided by team members for a student.
What is the difference between public school AT and private AT services?
School AT services must prove to be required for a student to benefit and make progress in their educational program when determining assessment results.  Private AT can address other areas of a disability or need which may impact on their education however art therapy interventions do not form the basis of IEP directives.
How can I find out more about school based AT?
If your child attends a Baltimore County Public School contact your child’s teacher, IEP chairperson or the case manger assigned to your child.