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Jane Richardson

Professor of Art Therapy

Faculty Jane Richardson

Jane Ferris Richardson is a board-certified art therapist and a registered play therapist teaching undergraduate students. Her areas of academic focus are art therapy and child psychology. Her practice of art therapy specializes in young children and neurodivergent children and support to their families and schools. Her work has been described as: “skillfully interweaving the intersection of the therapeutic powers of play with the healing components of art.”

Her research interests include how art and art therapy support autistic children and adolescents, the relationship between art and play therapy, and nature-based and global contexts for art therapy practice. She has presented her work at conferences in Europe and Asia, given international trainings, and brought Lesley students to Cape Town, South Africa to join in the work of a community arts organization. As an art therapist, Jane exhibits her own work regularly, and has received grants both to pursue her artwork and organize exhibitions, as well as for international collaboration in art therapy.

During the pandemic she presented virtually at conferences designed to support the development of art therapy teaching and practice in Beijing and Hong Kong. In India and Bangladesh, she has taught professionals working with autistic children and youth. Early in her time at Lesley, Jane visited Reggio Emilia, Italy, to explore connections between the Reggio Emilia approach to early education and art therapy for children with special needs, and this is one focus of her recent book.

Jane has an EdD in Humanistic Education and Human Services from Boston University, where she held a fellowship as Managing Editor of the Journal of Education. She also has master's degrees from Lesley in Art Therapy, and from Bank Street College of Education specializing in Early Childhood Education. Her career as a therapist was preceded by experience as an early childhood teacher and professional training in dance.



Art as a Language for Autism: Building Effective Therapeutic Relationships with Autistic Children and Adolescents. 2022, Routledge.

“Art Therapy on the Autism Spectrum: Engaging the Mind, Brain, and Senses.” In Gussak and Rosal (Eds) Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Art Therapy.

“The World of the Sandtray and the Child on the Autism Spectrum” in Rubin and Gallo-Lopez (Eds) Play Based Interventions With Children and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum.

“Inkdance: Body, Mind and Chinese Medicine as Sources for Art Therapy” in Kalmanowitz et al (Eds). To the Bone Or Wrapped in Silk: Art Therapy in Asia.