Last updated:

December 11, 2023


 min read

How Does Art Help Children With ADHD?

Is art therapy for ADHD effective? Get all your questions on ADHD and art therapy answered here.

Reviewed by
Reyana D’Souza
Written by
Malvika Rathi

Strategies like art therapy have shown to be quite successful in addressing some of the fundamental difficulties faced by children with ADHD. Delve into this piece to find out how art can improve focus and concentration in children with ADHD as well as boost their self-esteem and establish a strong identity.

What is art therapy and how does it work?

Children with ADHD are usually hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. They have active minds and are very brilliant and creative, but they can also be easily distracted or periodically overly concentrated. While traditional treatment modalities like medication and behavioural support are critical for improving outcomes, alternative techniques like art therapy can help manage ADHD. 

The techniques of drawing, painting and sculpting are used in art therapy to boost children's confidence and general well-being. Its foundation is the idea that self-expression can be employed to deal with emotional issues, improve interpersonal abilities, control behaviour, lessen stress, and raise self-awareness. Art therapy can be helpful to anyone, regardless of artistic ability.

By engaging in physical exercise and sensory integration, art therapy allows children to examine various problems. When we express ourselves creatively, many brain regions are active. Using a brush to sweep a canvas calls for motor skills. Drawing a mental image necessitates analytic and sequential procedures, logic, and abstraction. Working memory and attention abilities are essential to follow the processes required to accomplish an art activity. 

A child's mood is lifted and a relaxation response is produced when they create art. Also, serotonin levels in the brain are raised by creative activity. It has been demonstrated that engaging in a calming art activity, such as colouring a mandala can improve decision-making and focus. Art therapy, when included in a holistic treatment plan, can provide patients with a sense of control.

The Benefits of Art Therapy for Children with ADHD

Increases Attention Span 

Research has demonstrated that art therapy improves children's attention span by offering something to focus on. Art is a normal and crucial aspect of children's growth, and it is helpful for children with ADHD to choose art projects that fascinate them because these act as an outlet to focus on. Even though the amount of time spent on the task may lengthen across numerous sessions, the procedure helps the tender minds to develop the capacity to focus their energy in a productive way that leads to fulfilment.

Additionally, art therapy positively impacts a child's self-esteem. Children with ADHD are frequently reprimanded for their inability to concentrate. Art therapy teaches them the fundamental skill of focus and attention which can be extended to other settings. 

Channel their Emotions

Art therapy makes use of a variety of strategies for nonverbal creative expression. This can help the kids manage their strong emotions without expressing them verbally. This nonverbal mode of expression gives the child an outlet, which can help to alleviate behavioural issues. 

A child's behaviour may improve with time, leading to more encouraging comments from parents, teachers, and counsellors. This may have a long-term positive impact on the child's self-esteem and their behaviour will significantly improve as his or her confidence grows, further supporting favourable results in all areas of development.

Helps in exploring identity 

Art therapy for ADHD can serve as a basis for a child's exploration of his or her identity. Given that children with the condition are frequently identified by labels and behaviours, this technique can be very effective. Labelling and focusing on problematic behaviours can make it challenging for children with ADHD to define themselves in a positive light. 

Through art, a kid can develop a healthy and healing connection to their inner selves as this can help the child get past a lot of the negativity that permeates much of their daily experience. Even though it could take several sessions for kids to see this result, laying the groundwork for this kind of growth is crucial for helping the kid develop a stronger sense of self.

How can Parents help?

Indulging in artistic pursuits with a parent might help a child who has had a challenging day at school or has trouble falling asleep to relax and focus. Here are some guidelines for parents to make the process more effective:

Give them a set space: Set boundaries for your child when they work on art projects this means that you need to tap off a section of a large sheet of paper. Doing this will improve their focus and keep them concentrated. It's helpful to have art trays that kids may use to organise all of their supplies such as sketch pens, stickers, and paint. 

Keep it simple: Start with tasks that need three steps or less as the likelihood of finishing the job will increase.

Incorporate movement: Ensure that your child gets up to move around every once in a while as it helps children release extra energy and serves as a reset when they become disinterested in a task.

Mandalas are a great starting point: Mandalas are easily available online for print. The pre-drawn circle usually excites children and therefore they are a good starting point. A child who is faced with a blank sheet of paper feels less anxious when they have a starting place to work from. 

Final Word 

While ADHD cannot be cured 100%, there are a host of treatment options available today thanks to advances in research. However, every individual requires a different treatment plan. For some medications and psychotherapy could be very effective whereas for others art therapy could work wonders. 

It can be confusing and overwhelming to understand the possible choices and make an informed decision. However, our mental health experts are here to help. Schedule a consultation with our RCI licensed Clinical Psychologist to explore different treatment options for ADHD from the comfort of your home.