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Art can play a big and hugely beneficial part in the lives of special needs children. There are several recognized art therapy activities and creative ideas that are used in occupational therapy. They give special needs children an outlet whereby they can express themselves. Art therapy also brings great happiness and increased self-esteem to these kids. Here are ten therapeutic activities and ideas centered around art and related activities.


Creating something artistically helps to boost a child’s self-confidence. Painting a picture or printing paint-covered shapes with cut vegetables or fruits improves coordination.  

Clay Modeling 

Making a sculpture out of clay helps to improve concentration. It stimulates the mind and helps special needs children develop gripping, eye-hand coordination, and even learning the alphabet. Watch this video of a child enjoying working with clay. 

Building Tools

Activities with building blocks and other building tools are especially beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and learning disabilities. An autistic child finds it very difficult to break from their comforting routine. By building different structures, the child is encouraged to try new things, develop creativity, and improve problem-solving skills. 

Music and Dancing 

Many children with special needs find listening and reacting to music blissful. Dancing helps them to express themselves and improve their body strength. Music or dance therapy relaxes them and boosts the feel-good hormones in their brain.

Physical Play

Playing a game like catch improves motor skills in a disabled child. For kids on the autism spectrum or with cerebral palsy or learning disabilities, playing physical games builds endurance and enhances body awareness. 

Playing in Water

Water play is calming and soothing. It helps autistic children with their coordination and motor skills. Playing with others in the water also helps improve social skills.  

Sensory Bin

This is typically a large container filled with materials and items specifically chosen to stimulate the senses. This is a handy way to integrate a child’s senses and improve their attention. For special needs kids, a sensory bin can help develop coordination and motor and problem-solving skills.  

Board Games

These types of games build self-confidence and social skills in special needs children. In the home, parents can share these games and increase bonding with their kids. Parents can also help teach their children valuable social skills like taking turns and sharing. 


 The use of puppets helps to increase emotional intelligence and imagination. For autistic children and those with delayed speech and language, puppets create an opportunity for a child to understand abstract concepts and practice spontaneity. 


In today’s modern world, technology has touched all our lives in some way or other. There are many apps available to help special needs kids learn and communicate better. Children with hearing and visual impairments and language and speech delays can greatly benefit from communicating through pictures and voices on digital devices. 

Art Therapy for Special Needs Children: Conclusion

Occupational therapists will incorporate art therapy into their programs based on the individual requirements of a special needs child. Art therapy can be introduced to your child at home following an assessment by a trained occupational therapist.

If You Live in Columbia, SC

Caring Health Care understands that you have a busy life and may not have enough time to devote to the art and game therapies recommended by your child’s therapist. Our trained professionals can ensure that your child’s therapy continues at home. Give us a call to discuss.