Coloring outside the lines of traditional PD therapies

Coloring outside the lines of traditional PD therapies

 New Program Offers Creative Outlet, Improves PD Symptoms

 An innovative new program offers a host of benefits for people with Parkinson’s who have challenges in visual perception and spatial relations, affecting their ability to move through the world. Most current PD treatment regimens don’t focus on this significant non-motor symptom, and there’s a lot to learn about how things like art therapy might improve it.

To address this, APDA is piloting a new program called Connecting Through Art. This program, sponsored by Acorda Therapeutics, is designed to help people living with PD bring art into their lives and socialize with others. The first activity for this pilot program will be an art class, facilitated through The Art Cart’s Smile Through Art™ workshop, allowing people with PD to express their feelings, emotions, and concerns through painting and drawing.

Some people with PD experience an increase in creativity even while they are dealing with challenges to their visuospatial ability, possibly related to their medications. Art therapy could give them an outlet while also improving things like hand dexterity, mood, and quality of life. We hope and expect to see more research shedding light on the benefits of art therapy in the coming years.

For now, we know that people with PD can find happiness, satisfaction, and camaraderie in artistic expression. We are currently in the process of organizing classes for Connecting Through Art in 15 locations this year. If you are interested in learning more, contact Heather Gray at hgray@apdaparkinson.org or 718-981-8491.