Parent-Mediated Online Art Therapy With a Mother and Her Children With Autism



The therapeutic landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. As technology continues to integrate into our lives, innovative treatment methods are emerging to meet the needs of a diverse population. One such area of exploration is online therapy, which offers increased accessibility and flexibility for individuals seeking support.


A recent study published in April 2024 titled “Parent-Mediated Online Art Therapy With a Mother and Her Children With Autism” by Huma Durrani sheds light on the potential of online art therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This research investigates a specific approach known as Sensory-based Relational Art Therapy Approach (S-BRATA) and explores its effectiveness in a virtual setting.


Reimagining Art Therapy: The S-BRATA Method


Traditionally, art therapy has been a cornerstone of treatment for various mental health conditions. It provides a safe space for individuals to express themselves creatively, using art materials as a conduit for exploration and healing.


For children with ASD, art therapy can be particularly beneficial. ASD is characterized by a range of challenges, including social interaction difficulties, communication barriers, and sensory processing issues. Art therapy can address these challenges by:

  • Facilitating self-expression: Children with ASD may struggle to express their emotions verbally. Art therapy provides an alternative outlet for them to communicate their feelings and experiences.
  • Enhancing social skills: Creating art together with a therapist or parent can foster social interaction and communication skills.
  • Addressing sensory sensitivities: S-BRATA, the specific approach explored in Durrani’s study, explicitly incorporates sensory integration techniques. This caters to the sensory processing difficulties often experienced by individuals with ASD, creating a more comfortable and engaging therapeutic environment.


Taking Therapy Online: The Power of Virtual Connection


Durrani’s research delves into the application of S-BRATA through an online platform. This approach holds immense promise for increasing accessibility to art therapy for children with ASD and their families.


There are several advantages to online therapy:

  • Convenience: Online sessions eliminate the need for travel, making therapy more accessible for families with busy schedules or those residing in remote locations.
  • Reduced Stigma: The online format can lessen the stigma associated with mental health treatment, encouraging more families to seek help.
  • Continuity of Care: Online therapy allows for more consistent treatment, especially beneficial for children who may struggle with transitions or disruptions in routine.


The study focuses on a case study involving a mother, Sofia, and her two sons diagnosed with ASD. Durrani explores how Sofia, equipped with the principles of S-BRATA, acts as a mediator in her children’s online art therapy sessions. The therapist guides Sofia through the process, providing instructions and activities that she then adapts for the home environment.


This approach highlights the crucial role of the parent as a bridge between the therapist and the child. By actively participating in the sessions, the parent gains valuable tools and strategies to support their child’s therapeutic journey beyond the online setting. This not only empowers parents but also fosters stronger parent-child bonds through shared creative experiences.


A Glimpse into the Future: The Road Ahead


The findings of Durrani’s research offer promising initial steps towards the wider application of online art therapy for children with ASD. The case study suggests that parent-mediated online S-BRATA therapy can lead to positive outcomes, including improved emotional expression and communication in the children involved.


It is important to acknowledge that this is a preliminary study, and further research with larger participant groups is necessary to establish the generalizability of these findings. However, Durrani’s exploration paves the way for exciting possibilities in the realm of online therapy for children with ASD.


The potential benefits of increased accessibility, coupled with the positive impact on parent-child relationships, make online art therapy a valuable area for further investigation. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the therapeutic landscape, offering new avenues for supporting children with ASD and their families on their path to wellness.



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