CVS Caremark Sponsors Art Exhibition for Children with Disabilities

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CVS Caremark's All Kids Can is a five-year program that aims to enrich the lives of children with disabilities. As part of the 2010 International VSA Festival, the organization will partner with VSA, an international organization on arts and disabilities, featuring State of the Art, a collection of artwork from 51 young students, ages 5-15, at Union Station in Washington DC.

The VSA International Festival is the largest arts and disability event to take place in the Nation’s Capital.

As part of “All Kids Can… CREATE”, one artist from each state and the District of Columbia was selected from more than 5,500 entries. Each artist and their families have been invited to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday and meet their states’ dignitary. While in Washington DC, the children will also have the opportunity to attend performances and view artwork by professional artists with disabilities.

Read: Art Therapy Can Improve Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Patients

Nearly 49 million Americans are affected by disabilities; 3.6 million (7%) are children between the ages of 5 and 15. One out of every 26 American families is raising at least one child with a disability. Disabilities among children fall into one of three categories: Physical, Developmental, or Sensory.

Physical disabilities are those conditions that result in mobility impairment or limitation in the ability to perform basic physical activities. These may be the result of either acquired or congenital causes, such as cerebral palsy, neuromuscular diseases, traumatic brain injury, or other accident or illness. 14% of children with disabilities have a physical disability.

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Developmental disabilities are those conditions that result in a cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or social impairment, such as children who have down syndrome or autism. 62% of children with disabilities have a developmental disability.

Sensory disabilities are those that result in the loss or partial loss of vision or hearing. 14% of children with disabilities have a sensory disability.

CVS Caremark’s “All Kids Can” program focuses around three key areas of support: Learn, Play, and Succeed. A program goal is to support activities that promote the value and importance of inclusion in everyday activities and to bring greater awareness of the needs of children with disabilities.

The program supports charitable organizations that allocate resources to programs that serve children with disabilities under the age of 21 and healthcare organizations that are dedicated to improving the quality of health and well-being of uninsured seniors, adults and youth.

VSA, an international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and to increase access to the arts for all. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs.

Read: Children with Asthma and the Power of Art Therapy

Art therapy for children with disabilities can help the child express himself or herself through pictures instead of words. Physically, art therapy can help improve motor skills. Emotionally, it can help those with mental health problems such as schizophrenia, learning disabilities, emotional problems, cognitive disabilities, and those who are victims of abuse or grief. Through art therapy, a child can achieve better self-awareness, relief from stress or anxiety, and help children find their existing strengths, instead of focusing on weakness or inability.

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