Art and Communication

A communication disorder involves deficits in both the understanding and expression of language. Individuals with communication disorders may have difficulty communicating effectively, preventing many from forming meaningful relationships, friendships and participating fully in all areas of their life. Without a means to communicate, individuals may experience depression, feelings of inadequacy, and isolation. Art can be a means to foster communication within these individuals. Art is a physical representation of thoughts, emotions, concepts and ideas, and it can be used to share stories and experiences, as well as bring individuals together. The process of art making provides individuals with opportunities to learn and practice social and verbal communication in a safe, multimodal environment. Incorporating art into language therapy for individuals with a variety of diagnoses and of all ages, has benefits in enhancing an individual's well-being, expressive and receptive language, social communication, memory and metacognitive skills. Five lesson plans have been created to target language, cognitive and social communication goals through the development of art. Lesson designs, materials chosen, methods and skills targeted were chosen with clients’ various communication needs in mind. Lessons were reviewed by speech-language pathologists currently working in the field and an art educator, who specializes in art therapy with trauma victims. Lessons were found to be appropriate in meeting goals and various communication needs of individuals with communication disorders.