What does art and creativity mean to a traumatized child?

Every child has a dream.

It is the right of a child. It is dangerous if the dream is destroyed by a continuous stress situation. How can we restore the dream of a child?
What steps can we take? How can we inspire the children again, to want to learn how to work? How can we assist them, develop motivation, wake up their emotions? It needs to be realized by people surrounding the child, people who believe in them.

Development of the brain.

From birth till the age of 25 development of the brain is an ongoing process. When conditions are ideal brain cells richly multiply and branch out widely.Traumatic circumstances create stress. Stress hormones deliver too much poison and if for a long time it results in loss and deteriation of the nerve cells. It blocks all possibilities for a child to function well. Resulting in: fear, resistance, aggression, not wanting to cooperate.
Fortunately not every child in miserable circumstances suffers damage in the brain and overcomes the stress situation without any problem. Seems even stronger through it all! Nothing is absolute.

How can we help?

We live in a very verbal world.
A healing process can be initiated with a creative process like investigation of materials and colors. Every child can draw.
The planning of therapeutic strategies, getting closer to the child, wins trust and giving it time. The result of doing something together by a creative therapeutic approach creates a good contact and closeness to the child. Food for development.
Step by step gaining more trust in the helper, more energy to anticipate.
A healing process is still possible during the time of growth of the nerve cells (till the age of 25).

Art for All’s contribution.

Art for All organizes creative projects for traumatized children like f.i. ex-child soldiers, children in war situations, extreme poverty.
By giving them loving attention, games, colors, stimulation to create something by themselves. Showing and sharing your art causes to be proud, to get self-esteem and energy.
Ingredients to be able to stand tall in the world and find the road to realize the dream to face life.

This is a very short version of the speech. More can be read in the book by Prof.Dr.P.Adriaenssens:
“Getekend: Kindermishandeling” (2006) in dutch.
“Childabuse” (2006)