Friday, March 19, 2010

Creative Giftedness

Every child is unique and gifted children can express their talents in many different ways. For the next few blogs we’re going to explore some of these different areas of giftedness, starting with creative giftedness. While we’re looking at each area individually, keep in mind that a child is more likely to exhibit characteristics of several of these areas; helping a gifted child more fully develop begins with recognizing their gifted talents and tailoring a learning plan accordingly.

We knew pretty early that both our son and daughter were creatively gifted, but for different reasons. Creatively gifted children aren’t just talented artistically or musically, though those are certainly good indicators. Our son expressed his creative giftedness with a complex and quirky sense of humor: think Monty Python vs. Charlie Chaplin. Not to mention the elaborate near-reality stories he used to come home from pre-school with that left us saying, “huh?”

Our daughter, on the other hand, simply stood out. An obviously independent thinker from the time she could smile and coo, she has never shied away from being different. This made for some challenges during her early teen years. I heard an NPR report recently that a neurologist has identified that the teenage mind isn’t fully wired yet and as a result teens didn’t have the ability to fully understand the consequences of their actions. This is pretty interesting and worthy of a future blog or two, but parents of gifted children should remember that headstrong individuality is also a good indicator of creative giftedness.

The child who is creatively gifted thinks outside the box, will devise several solutions to a problem, will challenge assertions, and will readily invent and create. Complex and challenging problems will engage them, and they will express interest in activities that don’t interest other children. They will surprise parents and teachers with behavior that might even border on the eccentric. And yes they might be interested in art and music.

If your child expresses characteristics of creative giftedness, feed their creativity. Find creative activities that interest them, and foster their continual learning and skills development in that area, even if they exceed your own capabilities or understanding of what they’re doing, but if they burn out on it and lose interest, just go with the flow and help them explore their new ideas.

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