Get Flash Player

About Us

Want to Behave Better Every Where

M-DCPS Art Therapists hold a Master's degree, or higher, in art therapy and teacher certification from the state of Florida.  They are members of the American Art Therapy Association and more than half of M-DCPS art therapists are Board Certified, the highest credentialing available in the field.

Clinical art therapists are hired through the M-DCPS Division of Special Education, Clinical Behavioral Services.  At present, 16 art therapists provide services throughout the district to over 400 students with emotional/behavioral disabilities (E/BD). They provide individual and small group sessions to students who need alternative forms of therapeutic intervention to access educational opportunities.

Art therapists work as part of a treatment team.  They consult, assess, design, and implement individualized treatment plans to help students reach their maximum potential.

Art therapy in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) began in 1979, under the direction of Ms. Janet Bush, as a pilot program funded by the local school board budget and housed within the Art Education Department.  The one-year pilot program (1979-1980) merged art therapy with art education and employed one art therapist to design, implement, and evaluate the efficacy of art therapy in the schools. The pilot program was geared towards providing special needs students with art instruction combined with art therapy techniques.  The students ranged from those with physical challenges to mental and emotional disabilities.  The following year, four additional art therapists were hired to provide services to a select group of elementary aged students in an art education/art therapy format.

Art therapy in M-DCPS continued to gain positive support and recognition from parents, teachers, administrators, supervisors and school board members.  Most importantly, anecdotal records conveyed progress made by several students.  By 1985, M-DCPS had eight clinical art therapists and art therapy was moved from being housed within the Art Education Department to the Division of Special Education (SPED). The clinical art therapy department continued to grow due to the unique needs of these students and available monies allocated for related services through PL94-142 (now Individuals with Disabilities Education Act / IDEA) to support their education.

Presently, there are 16 clinical art therapists providing services district-wide, in grades K-12, to students identified with E/BD. Art therapy in M-DCPS is used as a therapeutic modality to help students access their education by providing them with the support they need to develop to their highest potential.  Clinical art therapists deliver weekly, individual and small group art therapy sessions and create individualized treatment plans that provide the foundation for a student's therapeutic goals. They conduct formalized assessments, work as part of the educational team, meet with parents, and provide staff development and support. For more than 30 years, M-DCPS clinical art therapists have employed art and the creative process as a healing modality to help those students who need to go beyond traditional means in order to access educational opportunities and ultimately become healthy, productive citizens.



M-DCPS : 1450 NE 2nd Ave. : Miami, FL 33132 : Phone: (305) 995-1000 (For Non Technical Questions Only) © 2017