CreativeRachna - the member who asked this question - selected this as the best answer posted by another Education.com member.
from a fellow member
Thanks for submitting your question about art therapy and child development. My experience with art therapy is that it provides a great way for children to overcome and express sensitive and traumatic issues and emotions without the use of verbal expression. As a former teacher, I once had an elementary student who lost her father and part of her grieving process involved drawing pictures of memories with her father, which evolved to expressing her fear and anger of losing him to gunfire, by drawing images of the 911 violent tragedy (2 years after the occurrence) as a metaphoric representation.
Many times children are at a lack of words or too shocked to be able to access the verbal language to express how they're really feeling about a tragic or horrific experience. Drawing or creating art that is representative of their experience can often be a safer way for them to slowly peel back the layers of the armor protecting them from their deep emotions and allow them safety from retraumatization.
I have also had experience with a student who was very troubled due to a variety of reasons, from his home life to his cognitive abilities and the impact of these issues came to a head through his dark drawings, which were evidence enough for me to refer him for priority counseling within the school where I worked.
I have attached a link from a Dr. Laura Just Ask answer describing art therapy for supporting a young victim of abuse. Included at the end of the article are a host of links for further reading on the subject.
Art is an expression. It can have multi meanings depending on who is looking at. This is what makes art so complex and though provoking. Learning to analyze a picture will cross into writing and other subjects. Art allows someone not to get trapped into that definate "you are wrong" mentality. I can look at the Mona Lisa and have my own thoughts about what I am seeing.
Sure, it may not be what the artist had in mind, but when did the artist have the power to tell others how they should think? Never. Also, art therapy allows children to express emotions otherwise kept inside. It allows them to have power of the what they do not in real life. The artist is in control and nobody else. It can give a child a sense of self worth.
It has not been until recent reform that the educational system has down played the importance of art. Which we are now seeing the cost of excluding it in the programs. A refined person (whole) should have a mandatory art class each year. If not for anything, to discover who he/she is. We learn about so many people, but it is really ourselves we must first understand before helping anyone else. And art is a way to discover oneself.
Art therapy can aid a child’s development in various ways. The article that I have provided discusses the benefits preschool children receive from art. Preschool children benefit in motor control, expressing their emotions, and developing perceptual abilities. Art also helps children in other subjects such as math, science, and economics. I hope the article helps you learn more about the development aid that art provides for children.