Art Speak Expressive Arts Enrichment Program
"Can I take it home?" The ArtSpeak's art instructors have heard this comment regarding the students' finished art work at least 100 times through-out the program's implementation.
ArtSpeak is a visual arts program, supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, designed to serve children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
ArtSpeak works with the students' individual expression of creativity, reinforcing their accomplishments with positive statements throughout the art activity. The ArtSpeak program is an integrated blend of art and verbal communication. ArtSpeak brings various materials for the students to use, such as pastels, paints and clay. ArtSpeak operates inside the students' classroom making it conducive for the students to feel safe and be familiar with their environment. Often while the student is creating their art, they verbalize excitement and anticipation in wanting to show their creations to their teachers. ArtSpeak helps the children understand their surroundings, allowing them to express themselves in ways that are concrete and compelling. ArtSpeak invites them to explore and experiment. While the student loves taking their finished projects home, the art of creating for enjoyment is ArtSpeak's mission.
Because art can be a nonverbal experience, students often demonstrate their ideas in ways other than words. They express themselves through the lines, shapes and images they create. During the time that the students are creating, the teachers have the opportunity to observe. They watch how the students are engaged, focused, problem solving and viewing how perhaps for the first time, the student is seeing a new perspective of what they're looking at and working on. The teachers also observe how calming the art process can be or how exciting the art making can be when they like what they’ve created.