Creative Arts Therapy

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THE USE OF CREATIVE ARTS FOR PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME IN EDUCATIONAL SETTING

Towards a Definition of Creative Arts Therapy

As Storr (1972) observed, creativity offers a means of “coming to term with, or finding symbolic solutions for, the internal tensions and dissociations from which all human beings suffer in varying degree”. Numerous and often conflicting definitions of creative arts therapy have been advanced since the term first emerged in the late 1940s (Waller and Gilroy, 1978).

According Naumburg model described the therapy as the release of unconscious through spontaneous arts expression with the roots in the transference of the client-therapist relationship on the encouragement of free association and on a continuous effort to
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There seems to be no doubt that creative arts therapy can be effective for the mass population. Yet, a question popped into my head when I was reviewing the relevant literature - is creative arts suitable for people who may not function “normally”, for instance, those with Down Syndrome? This paper, which the major characteristics of down syndrome patient are integratively analyzed with various theories and art modalities, will satisfy my own inquiry. Hong Kong education context will be applied, in particular, as I aspire to be a special education teacher in the future.

Is Creative Arts Therapy Suitable for People with Down Syndrome?

Major Characteristics of Down Syndrome &
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Malpass (1963) writes that the tempo of DS children in which abilities are acquired during motor development is clearly slower. As a result of developmental delay, the mentally handicapped DS children usually have problems with fine motor skills, including coordination and manipulation; as well as hypotonia, having low muscle tone which affects each DS child differently and can affect different parts of the body differently (Winders, 1997). Moreover, mentally handicapped DS children are on average less strong, have less stamina and more problems in the execution of complex motor tasks; other problems in eye-hand coordination, dexterity (the ability to use hands skilfully) and reaction speed are also recorded (Groden,1969).

Visual Problems
DS usually has negative effects on the developing eye and vision. Eye problems, like tear duct abnormalities, eye misalignment, “lazy eye” (relying on one eye to see), jerking eye movement, are evident in about two-third of individuals with DS, and resulting in vision impairments (Holbrook, 2006).

Hearing and Speech
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