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Study reveals impact of immigration experience on kids’ mental health

March 13, 2014

A new study reveals that children’s drawings can speak volumes about their experiences of immigration.  Monica Valencia completed graduate studies at Ryerson University where her thesis research explored how art may tap into the innermost thoughts and experiences of children.

The kids’ drawing expressed sadness about separation from grandparents, anxiety about constant change or uprooting, frustrations over learning a new language.

Valencia asked 10 children to draw pictures about their experience of coming to Canada.  To her surprise, four clear themes emerged.  The kids’ drawing expressed sadness about separation from grandparents, anxiety about constant change or uprooting, frustrations over learning a new language and appreciation for their peers who supported them through the settlement process. Building on this last theme, Valencia’s research recommends that settlement agencies and schools create opportunities for peer support.

Read the Toronto Star article about Valencia’s findings and some images drawn by the children.

 

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