Today I’m wrapping up a series on successful arts therapy collaborations (something that was pretty new to me!)

Check out Part 1 of the series here and Part 2 here.

I’m going to continue sharing themes and experiences from the 8-week Healing Arts Program I facilitated for a high school autistic support classroom here in Pennsylvania.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the opportunity to collaborate and co-treat with painters, fiber artists, yoga instructors, theatre instructors, and creative writers.

Prior to session planning, I met with the autistic support teacher, and she gave me several themes and concepts that she and her students were working on in the classroom.

From that list, I came up with a theme for each week’s hour and a half long session and collaborated with the instructor for that week to come up with our arts experiences.

Here are the themes and arts experiences we came up with for the second half of the program:

Week 5 & 7 – Becoming Adults
Theme – Adult living and taking on adult responsibilities
Guest Arts Instructor – Creative Writing & Theatre Instructor
Arts Experiences:

  • Theatre Exercises/Icebreakers
  • Accordion Poetry – We split the students into three groups and each chose a theme word that resonated with their concerns over the transition from high school into adult living. Group 1 wrote the first line of poetry on a paper folded like an accordion. They passed the paper to Group 2, who wrote the next line based on the line from Group 1. They then passed the paper to Group 3, who wrote a line based solely on the line prior, written by Group 2. The paper continued around the group until we had a whole page of poetry. I then took each of the poems and turned it into a song written in a genre that was a favorite of the students (country, blues, and hip hop).
  • Lyric Analysis and Song Discussion/Comparison of two songs that have different approaches to getting older and moving into a new phase of life: “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots and “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.

Week 6 – Relaxation
Theme – Relaxation
Guest Arts Instructor – Yoga Teacher
Arts Experiences:

  • Drumming Group Round & Check In
  • Yoga with theme of moving into adulthood
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation & Guided Imagery

Week 8 – Empowerment/Self-Esteem
Theme – Empowerment, Self-Esteem
Guest Arts Instructor – Musician & Music Educator
Arts Experiences:

  • Cups Rhythm Game to Blues Brothers Songs
  • “What I Am” by Will.I.Am – We sang the song and students thought of a positive word to describe themselves. Students then cut out words, letters and pictures from magazines and created artwork around that word.

And that sums up our 8-week Healing Arts Program! It was an incredible opportunity to stretch my creativity muscles.

I’m now two weeks into the Fall program at the same high school and I’m sure I’ll be back on the blog to share more ideas from this program soon.

If these posts were inspiring and you’re looking for more ways to infuse CREATIVITY into your sessions, I would encourage you to sign up for a 6-month subscription of Elevate.

You’ll receive monthly musical experience ideas sent straight to your inbox each month, have access to instructor support for any questions, AND complete Creativity Worksheets to double or triple the number of ideas you walk away with and earn 7 CMTE credits.

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