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This presentation will cover basics of art-based intervention and how these therapeutic techniques are used to support development in young children. Case studies will be presented to illustrate the various techniques. Video will be also used to highlight both classroom and individual strategies when using this integrated approach.


 This presentation will focus on how Creative Arts Therapy and play-based intervention can be utilized within the DEC Recommended Practices to support young children with learning or behavioral challenges.  We will demonstrate how to best meet the complex needs of our students, while demonstrating the best of both worlds in how we work together, determine programming, embed intervention in everyday routines (Recommended Practice E1) and assess children’s learning through art and play (Recommended Practice A3).  We hope to be able to share with others how we come to understand what collaboration of these two methods bring to the success of students and families (Recommended Practice L3).


We will also review the results of a study by one of the presenters, which evaluated play-based creative arts therapy (CAT) programming for children with challenges (Recommended Practice L9).  The study found moderate evidence supporting the proposition that children who participated in a play-based creative arts therapies program experienced increased and improved social/emotional skills.  In addition, qualitative findings of themes in therapists’ notes of Regulation, Engagement, and Communication provided further support for the program’s fidelity and effectiveness.


Participant Outcomes:

  • Participants will identify at least 3 goals of using art with young children as both a creative process and a psychological process, to reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.
  • Participants will describe art- and play-based intervention components and how they support growth and development in young children.
  • Participants will describe at least 5 techniques to incorporate art– and play-based intervention in a one-to-one or individual session.
  • Participants will describe at least 5 techniques to incorporate art–and play-based intervention in a classroom group setting.
  • Participants will develop an individualized program for a student with challenges, using art– and play-based intervention.


Presenters: Michele C. Havens, PhD, and Faith Condon-Thayer, LPC, LCAT, ATR-BC

Michele C. Havens, PhD, is currently an Educational Consultant to the Imagine Academy, a school for children with CHALLENGES, utilizing Play-based interventions and ABA. Dr. Havens is a retired Professor at Kean University in Union, NJ, and Montclair State University, in Montclair, NJ. She works as a private interventionist with children and adults with CHALLENGES and as an advocate with families.


Faith Condon-Thayer, LPC, LCAT, ATR-BC is a Board Certified Art Therapist, as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT). She holds an MA in creative arts therapies from Pratt Institute, completing her doctoral studies at Lesley University. She is the Director of Mental Health at the Imagine Academy for Challenges in Brooklyn. She is the co-founder of SidekicksNYC in Brooklyn. She was previously the Director of Creative Arts Therapy Center and Overnight Camps for The Connecticut Institute for the Blind/Oak Hill.

Using Art to Support Early Childhood Development

  • This digital product provides access to one (1) archived Learning Deck webinar for one (1) individual purchaser. Once the order is placed, the purchaser will receive a link to download the webinar recording as well as any webinar handouts. The webinar can be watched on-demand at any time once downloaded. Note: Archived webinar purchases do not include certificates of attendance. 


    Copyright Notice

    Please Note: Sharing a Learning Deck with one or more parties, without prior written permission from Division for Early Childhood, is a violation of copyright law. 


    Group Orders 

    If you would like to purchase a Learning Deck webinar for a group, please place an order here. Discounts are available for members and groups.

  • Division for Early Childhood Learning Deck Webinars are webinars presented by experts in early intervention, early childhood special education, and related fields. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour (unless otherwise noted) and includes access to the full recording and any webinar handouts. Archived webinar purchases do not include certificates of attendance. 


    You can learn more about DEC Learning Deck webinars here. 

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