See here for more on art education for kids on the spectrum.
The disclosure was eye-opening to Philadelphia School District art teacher Alisha Hagelin. An 11th grader with emotional behavior problems matter-of-factly told her: "In art class, I take my anger out on the art. And in the other class, I don't have anything, so I take it out on the teacher."
Hagelin, a graduate student at Moore College of Art and Design and the art teacher at Germantown High School last year, was interviewing the student for her thesis project.
"I already believed that art helps kids with emotional behavioral disturbance," she said. "My research study proved that."
Hagelin is enrolled in a new program at the city art college for a master's degree in art education with an emphasis on students with special needs, both physical and emotional.
When Moore began designing the program in 2006, it could not find any other like it in the country on which to model its curriculum, said Lynne Horoschak, program manager and a former Philadelphia public school art teacher.
"We are not a master's of arts in special education. We are not art therapy. We are art educators focusing on students with disabilities," Horoschak said of the program, which began in summer 2009.