If your child loves math and logic, expresses a tendency toward linear thought and finds pleasure in accumulating factual information, he or she is considered left-brained - meaning his or her left brain hemisphere is dominant. Strengthening the right brain functioning will foster creativity by activating more of your child’s spatial, musical and emotional abilities. Here are a few approaches to help your left-brained child make connections with his or her right brain hemisphere:
- Quiet the “Executive Attention Network”
Scientific American highlights some research that illuminates the neuroscience of creativity. Their study suggests that by allowing the mind to wander and “silencing the inner critic,” a person is more likely to activate the brain networks involved in creativity. For this reason, Duke University urges parents and teachers to avoid fostering a climate of evaluation when they are supervising artwork or other creative efforts. Betty Edwards, author of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," suggests exercises such as making drawings while looking at a face or object upside-down, so that the usual information-processing part of the brain cannot be easily activated.
- Use Exercise to Stimulate New Neural Connections
Many children think more creatively when they’re engaged in active movement. Sensory stimulation and feedback drive the brain, but the motor system drives sensory stimulation—you can’t have one without the other. This is at the core of everything we do at Brain Balance Achievement Centers. The spatial areas of the brain tend to be located near those which foster imagination, so Scholastic encourages acting out animals or emotions as a prelude to artwork. Another method of breaking through analytical habits is to use whole-body movement to actually make the art, through large finger-paintings or outdoor mural painting.
- Put Color and Disorder to Work for You
Duke University’s Digest of Gifted Research reminds parents to tolerate a bit of disorder and “to perceive in a mess what eventually will be an invention or an artwork.” Furthermore, you can make use of research on the cognitive effects of different colors and surround your child with creativity-enhancing blue. It may be that the term “blue-sky thinking” came from our collective realization that the color blue stimulates creativity.
Creativity is important for all children, but it is especially important to foster in those who have neurobehavioral disorders like Asperger syndrome (ASD). Using your awareness of the characteristics of left-brained children, you can make specific choices to activate their right hemispheres and strengthen their imaginative responses.