Therapeutic Arts Program

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The Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center provides a variety of programs to children and youth with special needs. OCCTAC provides free and low-cost programs that integrate parents and children with and without disabilities in a nurturing, community-based environment that teaches respect, disability awareness, cultural diversity and inclusion.

What are Special Needs?
Special Needs simply means there are individuals who need some of the same support that others may have been privileged enough to already have in place. This could mean individuals may have special needs for a mental or physical disability or even health impairments. It could also pertain to emotional and behavioral challenges. But what is often forgotten, when it comes to special needs, is the support children and youth need for situations such as facing neglect, gangs, teen pregnancy, limited resources, and/or violence. Therapeutic Arts benefit youth and children with a vast array of special needs.

Benefits & Well-Being
Creative therapies share a commitment to the expressive action that engages emotions in a direct and physical way; an ability to generate creative energy as a healing force for mind, body, and spirit; and a belief that the creative imagination can find its way through out most perplexing and complex problems and conflicts. Therapeutic Arts help with:

•  Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives.
•  Confidence – gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and allows them to make mistakes.
•  Problem Solving –Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems.
•  Focus –It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created.
•  Pride – Children not only become appreciators of each other’s work, but also develop skills of self-reflection in the effort to bring their personal vision to fruition.
•  Academic Growth – Students who are highly involved with the arts outperform less-involved peers from all socioeconomic groups.
•  Community Attachment – Meeting and working with new people helps your child to engage in social and creative activities while feeling part of a larger community.

Youth of Limited Resources
For many students, the arts educational programs have provided a natural transition to bring to the classroom creative expression, critical thinking, discipline, goal-setting, and teamwork. Arts programs have become even more critical to students of color and lower-income youths, giving them a safe and productive opportunity to explore hidden talents and abilities.

Our programs include:

Music Therapy
A music therapist utilizes music to address the emotional/psychological, cognitive, physical, and social needs of the client. Music therapy begins with a thorough assessment to identify the client’s strengths.

Art Therapy
The premise is that the creative process allows for artistic self-expression which helps individuals become problem solvers, manage behavior, improve self-esteem, develop self-awareness and insight, manage stress, and develop interpersonal skills.

Dance Therapy
The use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual. The focus of the therapeutic process is the movement that emerges within the therapeutic relationship.

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses – especially learn how to see.
Realize that everything connects to everything else.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is art, and art only, that reveals us to ourselves.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.” ~ Pablo Picasso

For more information please contact the Program Coordinator:

Jenny Lee
Therapeutic Arts Program Coordinator
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
2215 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92706
714-547-5468, Ext. 303
JennyL@occtac.org