The deaf child’s primary handicap is his inability to hear human speech. The whole functioning of the deaf child is hampered by his hearing loss. This implicates that deafness can cause secondary problems such as: -- language problems; -- speech problems; -- thinking problems; -- social problems; -- emotional problems; -- educational problems; -- occupational problems; and -- family problems. These problems impose a special challenge to people who intervene with deaf children. The deaf child cannot communicate intelligibly. The therapist has to pay special attention to this problem and to the way in which communication will commence and continue. Pedotherapeutic intervention implicates effective communication. The use of language plays an important role in the Educational-psychological practice. Diagnostic tests and therapeutic techniques require an average language capability. The therapist must seek alternative concrete ways in which to assess the deaf child and to solve the child’s problems. The creation of a work of art is a concrete sensory act. A variety of authors state that, most children can project their deepest inner feelings through a work of art without fear and pain. The instructions given for art therapy are simple and most children feel safe to create. A child’s work of art has diagnostic as well as therapeutic value. It is important that the therapist will recognize and interpret the projected symbols and that he will use it to change and expand the deaf child’s world of meaning. During the assessment of a child’s drawing the therapist must take aspects of the art work, such as colour, form, line, art material, the content of the drawing, the perceptual and motor development of the child, the child’s age, non-verbal communication and verbal communication during the creative process, into consideration. The therapist must not use above-mentioned directions at random. Every individual’s work of art must be assessed in a phenomenological way, before any conclusions can be made. A private, well equipped art therapy room is necessary for the child in order to feel safe to explore and create. The therapist who intervenes with deaf children has to be well trained. He must have knowledge and experience of deafness, know sign language and should have exceptional language abilities. In this study the therapist applied art therapy with a deaf child. Both the child and his educators were involved in therapy. The therapy was successful. Most of the therapeutic goals were achieved. The therapist needed to adapt the way of communication in order to enhance the level of communication between her and the deaf child. Art therapy can be successfully used with the deaf child because adequate communication is possible, the deaf child can identify with the therapeutic content and transcendence is possible. Some deaf children do not respond well to art therapy. The uniqueness of each deaf child should be taken into consideration before a therapeutic technique can be chosen.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.
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