IVDU: Art Therapy Program

The children at IVDU Long Island with their Purim project masks.

At IVDU Long Island, art therapy is just one of many therapeutic approaches offered throughout the week.

When Mrs. Alyssa Axelrod, the staff art therapist, comes around with her trademark warmth and enthusiasm, the students run to art therapy, their excitement evidenced by the smiles on their faces.

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy which provides children with a natural forum to express themselves through the creative process of making art.

A variety of methods are used in art therapy, including drawing, painting, clay, and collage. Some benefits of art therapy include sensory awareness and integration, social skills enhancement, the development of problem solving skills, and the expression of feelings.

Art therapy is also beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing focus, and increasing self-esteem. In order to maximize the therapeutic benefits, students at IVDU are seen individually or in groups of two.

The projects that the students create with Morah Alyssa are more than just art. They serve as a natural medium for communication and connection.

This week’s project was mask-making, featuring characters from the Purim story. The students enjoyed decorating their masks with various art materials, and delighted in masquerading as characters from the Purim story.

To find out more about IVDU, a Special Education program under the auspices of Yachad, please call Mrs. Miriam Reifer, school administrator, at 718-758-2999 ext. 3, or email reiferm@ou.org.