Art Therapy and Autism – Coloring and Paint by Numbers

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Art therapy not only provides those with autism a visual tool for communication, but gives them real, tangible relief and connection with the world around them.

For this reason, we’ve collected some of the best kits that can be used for art therapy with autism!


How Does Art Therapy Help People With Autism?


Art therapy is often used as a way to help develop creative expression and lessen or help distress and pain.

There’s no one specific approach to art therapy. Different methods work for different people. It can be goal-oriented or open-ended, organized or free-flowing. It also depends on whether they’re high-functioning or low-functioning.

That’s what makes art therapy so wonderful. It benefits all ages!

In some cases, people with autism find it difficult to process language. Others are unable to communicate entirely. People with autism may also have a hard time reading body language and emotions.

Meanwhile, a vast majority of the ASD community has an ability to think and visualize “in pictures.” Art therapy is effective for autism because it allows them to control their emotions in a structured manner.

The benefits of art therapy include the following:


  • Promotes emotions, self-expression, and feelings
  • Promotes a sense of self-reliance, personal independence, and self-sufficiency
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Helps increase one’s awareness
  • Helps with Sensory Processing Disorders (SPDs)
  • Healthy coping and interpersonal skills
  • Develops sensory integration
  • Improves motor skills, visual skills
  • Improves symbolical thinking and the ability to respond to facial expressions


How to Help Autistic People With Art Therapy


Art therapy is a support system for autistic people of all ages. It’s quite effective with children between ages 2 to 15.

People with autism may sometimes find the world confusing, which is why art is often described as an escape for many. Art doesn’t have to be structured or perfect, which is exactly why it allows autistic people to experience much-needed freedom in the form of artistic expression.

The best way to help autistic people with art therapy is through guided encouragement. According to Dr. Theresa Van Lith of Florida State University, some of the best practices of art therapy include:


  • Following the same routine when beginning each session
  • Explaining instructions in a soft manner
  • Encouraging curiosity in a new skill


With that said, try not to be overly strict with the instructions. Allow some creative freedom, but don’t be too loose with directions either. You must also take note of any sensory issues they may have, as over-stimulating art materials may become too restrictive.


5 Best Paint by Numbers Kits for Autism Art Therapy


As follows are some of the best paint by numbers kits for art therapy!


1. Coolstek Paint by Numbers Kit



The Coolstek paint by numbers kit is a great project to work on alongside an autistic individual. Every kit comes with three pictures to paint, all of which are brightly colored and full of emotion. Best of all, there are up to 10 different kits to choose from!

Every image is paired with a wooden frame, three brushes, and a set of high-quality acrylic paints.

The frames are relatively small, measuring only 8 x 8 inches. However, this isn’t a bad thing! Some people find huge projects too overwhelming and may cause them distress. Art therapists recommend starting small before moving on to more complicated paintings.


What’s Included In the Kit?


  • Three 8 x 8 pre-printed art canvas
  • Three wooden frames
  • Three paint brushes of different sizes
  • One set of acrylic paints
  • Hooks to hang the finished project


2. Museum Series by Faber-Castell



What better way to inspire young artists than to introduce them to the stunning works of some of the best-known artists in the world?

The Museum Series by Faber-Castell shows six different masterpieces: Van Gogh’s ever-famous Starry Night, Sunflowers, and Irises; Claude Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge and Water Lilies; and George Seurat’s The Eiffel Tower.

A personal favorite of mine is Claude Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge, because of its beautiful portrayal of nature. The color patterns aren’t overly complicated and don’t require too much effort to paint. Even so, the painting is quite beautiful. As they say, simplicity is beauty!

A little-known fact about Van Gogh is that he was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Knowing that one of the most well-loved painters belongs to the ASD community may encourage young and old autistic artists to further their creative process.


What’s Included In the Kit?


  • 6 x 8 inch printed canvas
  • Number coloring guide with fun facts
  • Hang tabs and pop-up easel
  • Brush
  • Six acrylic paint colors


3. Faber-Castell Paint by Numbers Foil Fun Series – Unicorns



Compared to the Faber-Castell Museum series, the Foil Fun series is available in both acrylic paints and watercolor pencils. This is great news for those who are not too fond of painting with acrylic!

Autistic children and beginner artists may find it difficult to paint with a brush, so being able to use color pencils in its place is a lifesaver. Best of all, the colored pencils are eco-friendly and non-toxic!

The Foil Fun series offers five different colorful kits. The Unicorn kit is especially colorful and bright.


What’s Included In the Kit?


  • Seven Faber-Castell eco-friendly watercolor pencils
  • One 9 x 9-inch pre-printed illustration board
  • One paint brush
  • Foam display
  • Mounting tape


4. Ledgebay Paint by Numbers Day to Remember



If you’re searching for a more challenging piece, check out this beautiful kit by Ledgebay!

Day to Remember depicts a warm sunny afternoon, quiet and serene, with two people merrily rowing across the lake. A pair of ducks sit undisturbed on a seemingly abandoned rowboat. The trees are big, bright, and green, all flourishing from nature’s warmth and stream!

While difficult, Ledgebay made sure to provide artists with a full set of instructions to complete the piece. Ledgebay also included a wooden easel to make painting comfortable and easy.


What’s Included In the Kit?

  • Set of acrylic paints
  • Four differently sized paint brushes
  • One 16 x 20-inch canvas and easel
  • One 4 x 5 color reference picture
  • One sample reference on paper


5. Acerich Paint by Number Mountains



This paint by numbers kit by Acerich is simple yet stunning. Acerich’s Mountains depicts scenery of a mountainous lake under a bright full moon.

Apart from its easy-to-follow instructions, this kit has multiple larger-to-fill areas that make it easy to complete. It’s colorful, too, making it a beautiful art piece to hang on your walls.


What’s Included In the Kit?


  • One 16 x 20-inch pre-printed art canvas
  • One set of acrylic paints
  • Three brushes
  • Two hooks
  • Reference drawing


Art Therapy Autism – Closing Thoughts


Art is therapeutic because it involves non-verbal expression, meaning it doesn’t depend on cognitive functioning. The fact that eye contact isn’t expected or required helps, too!

Using paint by numbers as a form of art therapy is greatly effective and reduces anxiety, stress, and feelings of depression. Good luck, and have fun!

CLICK HERE to shop our complete selection of high quality paint by numbers kits!




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