Arts & Music
Creative arts have incredible therapeutic value for children and adults, and Mercy Home has several art therapy options available to our program participants.
The longest running program is our Creative Arts Therapy (CAT) program, opened in 2006. We have served hundreds of children with autism spectrum disorder and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. From September to June, young people from ages 4 to 18 have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities like art, music, drama and yoga therapy guided by licensed therapists.
Beyond offering something fun for participants to look forward to, the program helps them learn how to manage emotions, socialize and gain skills that encourage independence. During CAT, caregivers also have the opportunity to join Parent Engagement Workshops that build a peer support community or participate in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. This is essential to empowering whole families, as caregivers can sometimes feel invisible, unsure or lacking the support they need as they care for a loved one.
Art is celebrated throughout Mercy Home. At our Gifted Artists program, a licensed art therapist works with participants each week as they share ideas and join friends to create works of art. Selected work is displayed during our annual #ABILITYOVERDISABILTY art show and reception, held every MONTH. You can see images from our most recent #ABILITYOVERDISABILITY show here.
Our love of music sparked the creation of Melodic Soul. Our in-house band. Individuals with a passion for music rehearse together to write and perform original songs or pop favorites from groups like the Beatles. The band, inspired by the spirit of Mercy, perform for nursing homes, local organizations and around the city. At Mercy Home, Melodic Soul are like our own special celebrities, with everyone getting pumped up anytime the band performs! See one of their recent performances here.
One Mercy Home parent began bringing her son who has autism to our arts and music programs more ten years ago “Both the art and the music therapies gave my son (whose functional language at the time was limited) new ways to express himself. He could happily swirl colors together, or angrily bang a drum, and I could tell exactly how he was feeling, even without words.”
Now age 16, her son built on these experiences to further develop social skills – including patience, interacting with others, confidence to make eye contact and greet his therapist, and listening closely to directions that guide activities. Each step is a huge milestone that he has been able to expand upon in daily life.
“The beauty of it all is that the Creative Arts program is not just about my son. It’s about me too.” That’s critical to us, because family members also need support from an understanding community, as well as the opportunity to build their own knowledge and skills.
“Staff goes out of their way to find parent training programs for us – some to help us manage our children better, and some to help us manage ourselves better. The trainings are always fun, and like our kids, we end up learning new things without even realizing we’re doing so.”
We are so proud to be part of this family’s journey, and so thankful to the donors and partners who make incredible stories like this possible.