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  • Writer's pictureArt Therapy NYATA

Support Needed: Art Therapy in the Schools: Advocacy Meeting on June 6th

NYATA member, Marygrace Berberian, LCAT, ATR-BC, LCSW, has been working towards the inclusion of  creative arts therapies in public schools in New York State. Below is a message from Marygrace regarding upcoming steps.


The legal basis for inclusion of creative arts therapies in a child’s IEP was historically stated in the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – later titled the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (PL 108-446). The creative arts therapies were not directly named in IDEA, but they are considered to be related services.

In 2015, all art therapy graduate training programs in New York State co-signed a proposal to the NYC Chancellor, Carmen Farina.

Current Federal Legislation:

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, a revision of the earlier Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (PL 108-446) outlines a newly defined group: Specialized Instructional Support Personnel  (ESSA, Sec. 8002, paragraph 47).  Creative Arts Therapists are included in this legislation. However, it is up to each state to define its implementation.

The National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP) includes all creative arts therapy membership organizations along with the American Psychological Association and National Association of Social Workers. See –  This organization supports the inclusion of creative arts therapists as “specialized instructional support personnel” but this as described,  is defined uniquely by each state.

The Problem:

Principals, teachers and parents in New York want creative arts therapy services in their schools.

There is no position line established in New York for creative arts therapists to work as school personnel despite the fact that we have been licensed as LCATs since 2008. The regulations have not caught up to the LCAT change.

All school personnel positions must be regulated by the State Education Department in Albany. We are trying to change the regulations in Albany. Inclusion of art therapy in ESSA will work towards that goal.

More information about the Senate action can be found here:

More details about the history of this initiative can be found below.  More immediately, support is needed to advocate for the inclusion of creative arts therapies at upcoming public meetings being held by the State:

The announcement of these meetings has not been widely circulated. Your support is needed.

There is an upcoming meeting on Tuesday, June 6th at 6:30 pm in Brooklyn.

I aim to present testimony to advocate for the inclusion of creative arts therapies in the newly formulated state plan for the federal ESSA. If you interested in advocating for this initiative, please join me. I have invited school administrators, teachers and parents to join in this advocacy effort.

Please spread the word. More details of this work can be found below. If you do plan to attend, please let me know so we can coordinate efforts. I can be reached at or

If you cannot attend the upcoming meeting on June 6th, please consider attending another scheduled meeting. You can also email letters of support to the state office.

With admiration, Marygrace Berberian

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