Merging Music, Art and Drama for Fun that Heals
Let’s start with the basics. Arts For Healing’s unique therapy and adaptive teaching programs integrate music, art and drama interchangeably to serve the needs of children and adults with Autism, Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome, neurological dysfunction and physical disabilities. Using all varieties of art forms, Karen and her staff work to enhance cognitive abilities, motor skills, and self – awareness. She wants to reach the person underneath the diagnosis, helping them discover their potential, while helping others discover them, too.
But that description doesn’t begin to describe what happens when People with Special Needs and the Creative Arts connect.
To say that Arts for Healing Founder, Karen Nisenson is devoted to her clients is a massive understatement. When you speak with her you hear compassion, commitment and joy.
As I did when she shared the story of one of her clients.
Lily came to Karen when she was 5 years old. She had an Autism Spectrum diagnosis, along with sensory integration issues and seizure disorder. She was non-verbal and completely withdrawn from her environment and the people around her.
Karen started with improvisational music. Whatever Lily did: bang a drum, play a key on the piano, shake a maraca, Karen would make a song out of it. The safety of relating to the music is easier than relating to a person and acts as a bridge. The music helped her get comfortable with Karen.
As they progressed, Karen gave her a microphone. Soon she was making sounds. Following the stages of childhood language development, she grew from babbling to syllables to words. Progressing to drawing and pretend play with puppets and dolls, Karen nurtured the little girl’s cognitive and expressive functions.
Now, some 4 years later, she is making up her own songs and telling stories that go with her drawings. Her sensory issues are greatly improved, she is not as fearful and feels more comfortable in her environment. She is more self – aware. Now, a happier and more verbal child, Lily socializes with other kids and can function in a mainstream classroom setting.
“Everyone who comes to the center has a story,” says Karen. And it’s clear that she likes nothing better than helping them share their story with themselves as well as their families.
Arts For Healing works with all people of all ages, both In house and through outreach programs. (Click Here) for more information.
If you or someone you know has an innovative program worth interviewing we want to hear about it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-977-6843