School & Center For Children With Autism In New York

Therapies

At SKHOV, our children receive physical, occupational, speech, and art therapy.

Physical therapy (PT) is used to build strength, mobility and motor skills. Our physical therapists help children with physical, developmental or neurological disabilities. The main emphasis of PT is on impairments of movement that lead to functional limitations.

Occupational therapy focuses on strengthening both fine and gross motor skills while also addressing eating and oral motor skills, self-care maintenance, and positioning. Therapists use adaptive equipment and sensory integration techniques to help our students acquire the knowledge needed to perform these skills.

Speech therapy (ST) is another very important component of SKHOV’s program. Our speech department is staffed with professionals that are well versed in alternative and augmentative communication. The purpose of speech-language therapy is to enhance intentional communication via expression of ideas, obtaining desires, sharing information, and interpersonal interaction. Language is the means by which communication is achieved. Components of language include: understanding/verbal expression, facial/manual gestures, tone of voice, and body orientation. Art therapy is a form of communication development that allows children with ASD to express themselves.

Art therapy has been a thriving aspect of education at Shema Kolainu since September ‘06. The innovative practice is exciting for both staff and child, and provides benefits to both. This year the students at Shema Kolainu explored their artistic drives and accomplished what they could not before. Students who had no interest in art before, for example, now finger paint beautifully.

Each child’s special personality and functionality is taken into account during art therapy at Shema Kolainu. Group sessions as well as individual sessions allow the therapist to tailor instruction to the children’s particular developmental needs. During group sessions, students start off with a music segment, afterwards joining together in exploring and creating art pieces. Often the students share the art materials, collaborating with one another to create their own work. The students have made their own tambourines and maracas, and explored sand art, painting bubbles, textured prints, chalk, painting collaboratively and making stamps.

Generally, art therapy consists of a few types of activities, frequently, but not always, used in tandem. The first of these are traditional children’s art projects such as finger paints or model magic, guided closely by the teacher to ensure the children are fully involved in the project. There is also a broad range of activities involving sensory stimuli and the children’s reaction and interpretation of the stimuli. Objects designed to enhance the sensory experience, such as a toy that might have one rough side and one smooth side, or have contrasting colors, are employed. Materials like sand, rice, water, and foam dough form a big part of this therapy.

Children with autism-related disorders or other developmental disabilities frequently do not pursue art when left to their own devices. Art is, fundamentally, a way to understand our world through abstraction. Thus art therapy allows children to mentally reach places and concepts they otherwise could or would not, expanding their horizons and providing real benefits in the form of their interactions with others and with the wider world. Art is also a form of communication that allows children with communication disabilities to express themselves as they would nowhere else.

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