Ōrākei Local Board has contributed funding towards arts therapy for 10- to 12-year-olds in the local board area. The programme, called Arts 4 Us, is run by Dance & Arts Therapy NZ and is tailored for children with special needs and disabilities.
Arts 4 Us has been running at the Ōrākei Community Centre for the last several years with drop-in and free sessions enabling a diverse range of participants.
Arts therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses creative methods including art-making, drama and movement to improve and enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Dance & Arts Therapy NZ founder and director Anaia Treefoot says the Arts 4 Us programmes are run by certified arts therapists who use advanced therapeutic models to increase participants' social skills, self-esteem and confidence.
“Our workshops are designed to encourage children with special needs and disabilities to participate in their community through creative interaction. Heightened sensory and behavioural needs make participation in mainstream arts classes challenging for many of these children.”
“However, our therapists are equipped with the knowledge and practical understanding required to meet these children’s needs and engage them, so all may have access to community arts, regardless of ability,” she said.
Ōrākei Local Board Chair Kit Parkinson says the programme has been well received by the local community.
“Children are our future and all children deserve, and greatly benefit from, creative outlet. The programme works to enable and support vulnerable people to participate actively in our community. This aligns with our priorities as a local board so we’re very pleased to support it,” he said.