Programs

Social Creative Playgroups

“Art and Music with Friends.”

Our playgroups are offered for young children with developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum who have missed many of the stages of development that are so important for socialization and learning. Whether due to physical challenges, sensory integration disorder, anxiety or behavioral issues, children growing up with any kind of challenge need a place to re-experience exploration through play.

Playgroup participants can be organized by Arts for Healing, but they can also be arranged by the parents to include children of friends, classmates and/or siblings. Very often the playgroup includes neurotypical children who have fun, gain similar growth in interpersonal skills and can't wait for the next meeting.

Creative playgroups enable the children to prepare for the cognitive, emotional, and physical challenges of school. They begin to learn the basics of socializing with peers by sharing instruments and art supplies in a group format. Many of these children have difficulty with verbal expression and can learn to develop communication by other methods. They gain the ability to express themselves through art and music – media intrinsically inherent to all humankind. The experience of existing in music or art requires little skill, only interest. Through this interest, children can open a gateway to creatively develop their communication and socialization needs. They become more tolerant of other's expressive natures, and learn to grow in their own communication. Within the context of the group, children learn to become more comfortable with activity change, in turn learning how to accept that something new will happen. They learn to expect instruction and redirection through a scheduled yet flexible format.

Facilitated by trained music therapists and art therapists, these groups run for six or twelve week sessions. Goals are established for each child, and group process is discussed with parents during the session term.

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What parents are saying

I've seen Manny move from being isolated and in his own world to being able to join his peers in school and even at home with his younger sister.
Jason, Manny's father
Daniel has grown in so many ways through the art and music sessions. He is expressing himself so much more clearly and fully. He seems to be so much more comfortable with who he is.
Cheryl, Daniel's mother
Her awareness of others and her ability to use her language has improved tremendously in the past few years. I think the music has been a real key in her development.
Heidi's mother
Dear Miss Karen, As you know, I auditioned for the play Honk, Jr. at my school. Guess what -- I got the lead role of Ugly! I think all of my work in music and theatre at Arts for Healing really helped me do a good job at the auditions. So thank you for helping me so much over the past 8 years. I'm really excited. Love, Brian "Music can always be there when you need it."
Zeke, 8 year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome
Dear Karen, you have been able to bring out Harold's smile and his joy of life. He can open up and let us know more of what he is feeling and thinking. What a gift for a parent!
From a parent
Thank you for your music and for all the joy and learning you've brought to Jeremy. All the musical intelligence you've encouraged will thrive! He'll always remember you.
From a parent

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