Andy Warhol Museum, AGH team up to help children with PTSD


PITTSBURGH - The Andy Warhol Museum and Allegheny General Hospital have entered a unique partnership to help children coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Doctors from the hospital's Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents said they are always looking for ways to help their young patients.

"They get stuck on the experience that they've had and they have a hard time getting passed this so they have nightmares and bad dreams," said Dr. Anthony Mannarino. "They are in their math classes trying to concentrate on doing their math, and they have a bad image of their father beating them or their mother getting beaten."

As with soldiers who return from war, children who suffer from PTSD can suffer from other health problems.

"The PTSD that kids have is the same kind that soldiers have coming back but the trauma they experience can be different," Mannarino said.

One of the ways doctors and the Andy Warhol Museum are working together to help patients is by teaching participants how to analyze and interpret facial features. Experts said they use the lessons to help the children with socialization.

"We actually started looking at facial recognition for children with autism because kids who are on the spectrum have a hard time recognizing facial cues. It's one of the reasons they have a hard time socializing," said Andy Warhol Museum curator Tresa Varner.

The therapy also includes a hands-on studio experience that allows the children to create their own portraits through silk screen printing, digital video and animation.

"You can better express some of your feelings through drawings and painting and so forth than you might be able to do so in words," Mannarino said.