Art as therapy to Children with Disabilities

by Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan

Artpreneurs for Change began its Round 2 in November 2013. This round will be closing by the end of February 2014. The salient milestones of this round are:

  • Successful training of 12 Art as Therapy Practitioners (ATPs) who are continuing to conduct art as therapy sessions with a total of 36 children (approximately 3 children per ATP).
  • An ATP from Round 1 has decided to continue on with the child she was conducting sessions with and has developed a special relationship with him.
  • Apart from the two school rolling over from Round 1, the ATPs were placed in a vocational center for (mostly) adults with disabilities. It was interesting to see how the ATPs, who were trained in working with children have been able to conduct sessions with adults. The physical age of the adults may be high but intellectually they meet the criteria (of children) we had provided to the institutes. 
  • The ATPs of this round have been able to engage their respective groups using very creative activities. In the 10 weeks, the ATPs have noticed some changes in their clients. Some of these changes are subtle while some are very obvious changes.
  • We have managed to organize two support and supervision session with the art therapist. These sessions give the ATPs an opportunity to reflect on their own performance as well as get feedback on queries.

This round will close by 28th February 2014. The letters of recommendation as well as certificates for the ATPs will be provided to them once all the material (process summaries, artwork, stories) have been submitted to the responsible project personnel. The information from Round 1 is being compiled and processed by a team member. The process summaries will be changed into stories and shared with our donors here on Global Giving!

Learning from challenges faced in Round 1, Artpreneurs for Change spent the 7 months on thorough planning and promotion of the programme. The activities during this time period include:

  • Promotion of the project in local universities, talking to students about the process of Art as Therapy and how they can get involved. 
  • The team spoke on air at a local radio station, discussing the project and spreading the word.
  • Another major activity of the team was that we sorted through all of the artwork from the pilot round as well as Round 1 that had been piling up. Once the piles were neatly sorted, we got an Art Consultant on board who will be helping us in exhibiting the artwork in a more attractive way. This Art Consultant was trained in the previous round as an Art as Therapy Practitioner (ATPs).
  • After much struggle with planning, the new round has begun. The first training session was on November 21st 2013. The group of ATPs for this round is the most diverse group of individuals we have had so far. There is a highschool student, students majoring in Economics, Dentistry, Sociology, and Psychology. Other participants have a background in Arts, Political Science, and Psychology.

We are hoping that the new round deems as successful as the previous rounds helping us in achieving our goals.

Training Session in Process
Training Session in Process

Artpreneurs for Change wrapped up its activities of Round 1 in the first week of June 2013. The activities began in March 2013 and they consisted of:

  • Selecting individuals to be trained by an internationally certified art therapist. The training spanned over a period of about 24 hours and included different art as therapy activities, different developmental psychological theories, how to engage the clients in group therapy, and a short session on disability sensitization
  • After the training, the Art as Therapy Practitioners (selected individuals who underwent training) were sent into the schools where they worked with children with disabilities over a period of 12 weeks. The disabilities they worked with include: physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, children on the Autism Spectrum, and Down's Syndrome
  • Many of the Art as Therapy Practitioners noticed a gradual change in the behaviour as well as in the social interactions of the children. In some cases their emotional development was visible in the artwork while in some it was visible in their stories and their interactions with the Art as Therapy Practitioners
  • Any queries would be addressed in the support and supervision session with the art therapist.
  • All of the sessions were wrapped up successfully. Some of the Art as Therapy Practitioners were so influenced by their experience that they have requested to continue working with their respective groups in the next round.

Another achievement in the past three months is that we managed to set up an exhibition for artwork from our pilot round. The main purpose of the exhibition was to create an awareness of art as therapy as a practice amongst people in the Karachi art community. We managed to, successfully, reach out to a lot of people as well as to sell about 11 paintings.

Our aim is to continue having more exhibitions so that we can not only generate some funds for the project, but also continue in creating an awareness about art as therapy. Currently we are in the process of promoting our activities using different forums, along with planning for Round 2.

During an Art as Therapy session
During an Art as Therapy session
A piece of 3D artwork done during the sessions
A piece of 3D artwork done during the sessions
A View of our Stall at the Exhbition
A View of our Stall at the Exhbition



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Organization Information

Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Sumra Ahmed
Project Manager
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan

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