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Using iPads in Art Therapy

Lately, there has been a lot of iPad usage in educational and therapeutic settings; especially for children who seemingly respond to  “digital”  media. The debate over whether this is good or bad remains to be unanswered, as in my opinion it all depends!

It depends on- what is the purpose of using the iPad?  Will the iPad be a distraction to a particular child? Will it help the therapist or parent connect better? Is the iPad an incentive? a creative tool? a learning tool?  Maybe it changes….as I said, it all depends.

As an art therapist in private practice, I have used it in all those ways BUT I have made sure not to rely on it or over use it. In fact, I have tried to “pair it up” with other traditional art media that transitions the child into more spontaneous expression.

I think of the iPad as another tool in my bag of tricks. It can be a multimedia art tool when used with graphics apps, a “story starter” with eBooks, references photos can be searched for drawings, the list goes on.

I think what is important is to allow the child to express themselves in a way that matches their interests. Obviously, digital media is very popular among young people and will attract children to explore.

When working with this child pictured above, I allowed her to have a set amount of time to play with the iPad. She was able to explore a story about family on the iPad with an interactive storybook, then she played with the dollhouse, and lastly created family paper dolls with colored paper and collage. The theme was consistent yet the media changed and she felt rewarded with the iPad usage.


Share your iPad and Art Therapy ideas!


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