the first psychologists to apply coloring as a relaxation technique was Carl G. Jung in the early 20th century. He did this through mandalas: circular designs with concentric shapes similar to the gothic churches’ rose windows.”

The relaxation derived from coloring lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of the brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress. While some psychologists are adamant that coloring is not therapy but therapeutic, the fact remains that more and more adults are becoming “colorists.” The rewards for engaging in adult coloring books have their foundations in sheer pleasantry. Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales (Australia), explains the therapeutic effect. “Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones. You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color. It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery happening as well… Anything that helps you control your attention is going to help.” 

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilitiescertainly provide color to our lives… perhaps we should encourage them to color in their own.”

Millions of adults around the world are putting pencils, crayons and coloring books in their backpacks, briefcases, suitcases and kitchen tables. They take them to the office, to the beach, to vacations and the back porch. It is not only a reality, but a welcome addition to the arsenal adults have to combat the complexities, stressors and misadventures that life multiplies and provides. Perhaps that is something that Ms. Botswich and her Department should reconsider the next time she feels that “coloring” is an age-inappropriate activity for people with cognitive impairments. People, like crayons, come in a vast array of colors; but each one contributes to our collective palette.People with intellectual and developmental disabilities certainly provide color to our lives… perhaps we should encourage them to color in their own.•


In his 87th year, the artist Michelangelo (1475 -1564) is believed to have said “Ancora imparo” (I am still learning). Hence, the name for my monthly observations and comments. — Rick Rader, MD, Editor-in-Chief, EP Magazine Director, Morton J. Kent Habilitation Center Orange Grove Center, Chattanooga, TN


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Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), the leading service provider for children and adults with autism on Long Island, was selected as a 2017-2018 National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) School of Excellence. DDI’s Children’s Day Program, which serves children from ages five through 21, was selected for this honor.

“DDI has been selected for this recognition for the third time and it reinforces our commitment to excellence, in educational programs,” stated Mary Hoffman, Program Director for DDI’s Children’s Day Program.

“Our staff’s ability to create innovative ways to engage the individuals we serve is remarkable. Their daily work with the students we serve and their families ensures that they receive the highest quality of care and educational opportunities.”

DDI is a not-for-profit agency headquar DDWAITLIST.CBCS.USF.EDU tered in Smithtown, NY, with more than 32 locations throughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Serving nearly 1,000 children and adults with a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), DDI is the largest provider of services for individuals with autism on Long Island. It provides special educational, vocational, day and residential programs, as well as family-centered preschool programs for both children with disabilities as well as typically developing students. DDI was founded in 1961 by a group of parents to address the special educational and therapeutic needs of their children with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI is a member agency of the United Way of Long Island. For more information about DDI, visit