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Friday, Nov 28, 2014
Brandon News

Therapy uses movement, song and art to expand cognitive function


Published:   |   Updated: August 6, 2014 at 03:19 PM

RIVERVIEW – Fifty-two-year-old Craig Todd works with people to improve their memory and behavior. He’s not a healthcare or social worker, he’s an artist with the Art Without Boundaries Association.

“What I do is called Mneme Therapy,” he said. “It is not art therapy, but one-on-one, cutting-edge therapy using everyday activities like movement, singing and a specific painting process to promote changes in the brain or neuroplasticity.”

Mneme (pronounced nemma) is the nickname of Mnemosyne, the mythological Greek goddess of memory.

Todd works in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and families’ homes with people of various ages who have suffered traumatic brain injury, struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke or brain damage.

Todd’s sessions with people bring them, “at minimum, a rewarding experience where they have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “Optimally we like to see improvement in cognitive ability such as memory, disposition and spatial acuity.”

The best things about facilitating the program, he said, are “When a client loves what they accomplished and the relationships that are developed with regular clients.”

Todd, the area’s only certified Mneme therapist, presents the special Art Without Boundaries program at The Bridges Retirement Community in Riverview.

Janet Noah, community relations liaisons for the residential facility, said that during 30-minute private sessions, Todd “utilizes the art of painting to help residents with cognitive impairment find new ways of learning through improved attentiveness and increased coordination, verbal skills and impulse control.”

“Residents look so forward to spending time in an activity that goes beyond arts and crafts, and the artwork created becomes a wonderful keepsake for the resident and family,” said Donna Steiermann, The Bridges executive director.

Todd, who resides with his wife Lori in Riverview, is a self-taught artist who has owned and operated a sign business and painted murals, landscapes and portraits throughout his career. His children also are artistic: Todd’s son is a tattoo artist at Mike Parsons Ink in Riverview and his daughter is a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City.

Todd acquired his Mneme Therapy certification when he was seeking “something in art that had purpose, to go alongside my painting/fine art side of business,” he said.

“A long time ago I received, developed — whatever you want to call it — my purpose statement for my life,” said Todd. “It is pretty simple: to serve God and family through art. This fits pretty well into that, as I get to serve and hopefully help others with something that I love — art.”

To engage Todd’s services, contact him at craigerart@integrity.com or visit www.artwithoutboundaries.org/CT.html

Send news of community interest to Barbara.Routen@gmail.com

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