Group taps art as therapy for kids with autism

MANILA A coffee artist believes that art can be therapeutic for children with autism as it promotes healthy self-expression.

1 San Mateo Artists Guild president Ella Hipolito has launched early this year a weekly art session called "Art Friday" held at the activity center of SM City San Mateo in Rizal. The art session was initially intended for all mall goers, but just recently, it has catered to children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday, Hipolito said the local government unit of San Mateo tapped the guild to accommodate members of the Autism Society Philippines in its weekly art workshop.

According to Autism Society, ASD is a complex developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a spectrum condition that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.

Hipolito said creating art could be an alternative treatment, especially for children with autism having difficulty with expressive communication.

"Art is a good therapy for children (with ASD) since they could express themselves using art materials. They could express themselves without using words. It's better than being confined within their homes," she said.

She recalled how parents felt grateful for this creative activity for their children to develop mental and emotional well-being through art.

Parents would appreciate it whenever she shares their kids' artworks on her social media account.

"It makes them feel that they are valued by our group," she said.

She also shared how some participants were inspired to pursue an artistic career such as being a fashion designer or an animator.

"Despite financial constraints, it is still fulfilling to know how much you inspired and touched someone's life," she said.

In a bigger picture, Hipolito said she wants to revive art and the creative passion in the Municipality of San Mateo.

She hopes to put San Mateo at par with Angono, which is often referred to as the "Art Capital of the Philippines."

"I want San Mateo to also be renowned for its art," she said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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