Rawley Silver began writing about therapeutic art experiences in 1962 when she worked with children who had hearing-impairments, then with stroke patients and others who had learning disabilities or emotional disturbances. She has conducted research projects supported by grants from the U.S.Office of Education, the National Institute of Education, and the New York State Department of Education; taught art therapy in the Graduate School of the College of New Rochelle from 1974 to 1980; and presented at more than 70 conferences and universities.
In 2009, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she had earned Masters and Doctoral degrees in Fine Arts and Fine Arts Education. She has also received four annual awards for research from the American Art Therapy Association (1976,1980,1992,1996), and was elected to Honorary Life Membership in 1983, and the Florida Art Therapy Association in 1984.
She has reported her findings in 80 journal articles, books, research reports,and other publications. Five of her books, now in print, are discussed on the following pages. Some journal editors have authorized the downloading of selected articles at no charge. Click here for list. The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) provides digital access to 31 of her publications through the ERIC database (www.eric.ed.gov).
Also a painter, Silver's work has been shown in invitational and juried group shows as well as 18 one-person shows. She has been listed in Who’s Who in American Art since 1983.
Her work is included in the archives of the American Art Therapy Association, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Silver's assessments use stimulus and response drawings to bypass langauge deficiencies in assessing cognition and emotions. The Silver Drawing Test (SDT) assesses three concepts said to be fundamental in reading and math. and includes three subtests: Drawing from Imagination, Predictive Drawing, and Drawing from Observation.
Draw A Story (DAS) uses a Drawing from Imagination task with a different set of stimulus drawings to screen for depression or aggression, and to identify children, adolescents, and adults who may be at risk for harming themselves or others. Responses are scored on 5-point ratng scales that range from low to high levels of cognitive skill, and from negative to positive attitudes or feelings.
Her book, The Silver Drawing Test and Draw A Story, has been translated and standardized in Russia, translated in Korea, and used by mental health professionals in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and Brazil, as well as the U.S.