Care & Training Center

2601 Woodlawn Road
Sterling, Illinois 61081

Phone: 815-626-5820
Art Therapy     Sensory Art / Music Art / Fine Arts & Drama / Culinary Art / Horticulture Art

Art Therapy Introduction
Imagine not being able to express yourself – your wants, your needs, your choices, your dreams, your abilities – and relying on the assistance of others for simple, everyday tasks. Imagine living a predictable, routine life in an uncooperative body. This is the daily experience for our residents and the driving force behind our innovative Art Therapy program. Through our five art therapy centers, our residents are provided with a unique means of expressing themselves – through art and exploration – while expanding their senses and learning new concepts and skills. Our focus is to educate the community at large that persons who experience severe and profound mental retardation are incredibly gifted and that they can and do create beautiful, expressive pieces of art.

Sensory Art Therapy

Sensory Art Therapy
The Sensory art therapy center is designed to awaken and enliven the senses through sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste and is equipped to emphasize movement, range-of-motion, and sensory integration. Involving and engaging all of the physical senses is central to cognitive development and maintenance. Components of this art therapy center include use of positioning wedges, vibrating pillows and mats, aromatherapy, massage, fiber optics, lights, mirrors, and reflections.

Participants can relax and explore their image under our fiber optic “waterfall” or gaze in wonder at the endless colored bubbles of our large bubble tube. Exploring our various fiber optic light strands and our “endless” mirror provides plentiful visual stimulation.

Our disc projectors project various visually interesting scenes – the stars, clouds, the rainforest, seasons, to name a few – and provide an escape of visual wonder.

The auditory sense is engaged through playing of various music and “sounds” while the olfactory sense is engaged through the use of scented oils and mists.

Examples of art therapy activities in this center include magic tissue transfers, bubble art, five senses bingo, and sensory bottles.

Music Art Therapy

Music Art Therapy
Featuring a variety of adaptive musical equipment, the Music art therapy center is designed to allow participants the opportunity to create and explore the complexities music, sound, rhythm, and movement.

Participants can play a variety of musical instruments including keyboards, drums, xylophones, cymbals, triangles, tuba, guitar, viola, bells, hand bells through the use of adaptive switches and software programs.

Using our pre-programmed musical keyboard allows one to select and choose the music to be “played.” Manipulating our “tonky-honk” organ provides the ability to play the organ without using any manual dexterity.

Using our karaoke machine provides an opportunity to discover how sound is amplified and projected.

Singing and movement allow for exploration of the voice and body and the connection between both.

Art therapy activities in the music center include exploring all types of music styles, learning about different musical genres and composers, moving to music, and creating music and sound
Fine Arts & Drama Arts Therapy Center

Fine Arts and  Drama Arts Therapy Center
Exploring various art mediums and means of expression is the focus of the Fine Arts and Drama art therapy center. Using adaptive paintbrushes and easels as well as everyday items, participants create unique and beautiful works of art. Shaving cream, blow dryers, marbles, and string are just a few of the everyday items participants use to create one of a kind artwork. This center features painting, drawing, clay, dough, and camera to create visually interesting pieces of work.

Short plays, poems, and books are adapted to include all participants – where they are encouraged to use their skills to “perform.” Recently, we collaborated with Timber Lake Playhouse on a theater workshop in which many of the ECTC residents performed in a play– for the first time ever!

Expressing oneself through art is therapeutic and beautiful. Examples of art therapy activities created in this center include blow dryer art, marble art, string art, dough sculptures, fold art, spin art, drop art, and bubble art.

Culniary Art Therapy Center

Culniary Art Therapy Center
Playing with your food is essential in the Culinary art therapy center. Centered on baking, cooking, and using culinary items as art media, this art therapy center utilizes all of the senses. Appliances are adapted to be switch operated and participants create art items with jello, dough, frosting, syrup, and sugar. Textural discovery is a key element to the Culinary art therapy center.

Participants are encouraged to feel, touch, taste, smell, and look at a variety of kitchen and household objects. Creative use of everyday items is also encouraged such as using a celery stalk as a paintbrush or cookie cutter as a stamp.

Making slime, play-doh, whipped cream art, kebabs, painted toast, ants on a log, “people” chow, and making traditional culinary items are activities experienced in the Culinary art therapy center.

Horticulture Art Therapy Center

Horticulture Art Therapy Center
Discovery of the natural environment and world is the focus of the Horticulture art therapy center. Through exposure to our aviary, turtle aquarium, indoor gardens, participants are exposed to the natural world and encouraged to “play in the dirt.”

Our participants, with limited ability to explore the great outdoors, are able to create, grow, and participate in the beauty of nature.

Studying nature, weather, space, oceans, desserts, animals, fish, and insects exposes our participants to the wonder and amazement of the natural world. In 2011, construction will be completed on our wheelchair accessible greenhouse – allowing participants to participate first hand in the growing, nurturing, and harvesting of edible plants and vegetables.

Additionally, we will be adding a pond and memory garden that will sooth the senses with lights, sounds and fragrant flowers. Activities in the Horticultural art therapy center include studying thematic units, tending to the indoor and outdoor gardens, sand art, water play, natural arts, and light studies.
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