Art and Autism: Utilizing Art to Increase Mirroring Ability, Attention Skills, and Play Interaction of an Autistic Child

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Zuehlke, Katie
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Major deficits seen in children with autism include social interaction skills, such as little imitation skills, odd play patterns, and impaired joint attention (American Psychiatric Association, APA, 2013). To date, there was limited literature on enhancing mirroring ability, play interaction, and attention skills in autistic children. Art making has been shown to provide a safe and fun learning environment for these individuals as art engages the child in expressive freedom while promoting social skills (Gazeas, 2012). This two-week case study explored the effectiveness of art interventions to promote mirroring ability, play interaction, and attention skills for a three-year-old boy diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pre- and post-art intervention questionnaires and observations were conducted to measure the child’s possible improvements. The results were mixed with a decline on the participant’s mirroring ability during peer interaction, but indicated an increase of imitation during art interventions, and improvements of play interaction and attention skills. Further research was recommended.