Developing Creative Thinking

[amazon asin=B009V3KFFC&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest: Susan Marcus, author of The Missing Alphabet.

Topic: Developing creative thinking in kids.

Issues: The myth that some kids are born more creative than others; the impact of technology on creativity; the sensory alphabet (line, rhythm, space, movement, texture, color, shape, light, sound).

Creative Thinking + Managing Autism + Brain Training

[amazon asin=B009V3KFFC&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest: Susan Marcus, author of The Missing Alphabet.

Topic: Developing creative thinking in kids.

Issues: The myth that some kids are born more creative than others; the impact of technology on creativity; the sensory alphabet (line, rhythm, space, movement, texture, color, shape, light, sound).


[amazon asin=1849058172&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 2: Michael Chez, author of Autism and Its Medical Management .

Topic: How parents and professionals can use medical knowledge to better understand autism.

Issues: What is autism? Why autism is more common today than in previous generations; relevant medical interventions; using medication and other therapies to treat and reduce symptoms of autism.


[amazon asin=B0067NCR1E&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 3: John Medina, author of Brain Rules.

Topic: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school.

Issues: Exercise boosts brain power; Repeat to remember—remember to repeat; sleep well, think well; male and female brains are different.

Genius in Every Child

Guest 1: Rick Ackerly, author of The Genius in Every Child.
Topic: Encouraging character, curiosity, and creativity in children.
Issues: How focusing on character, curiosity, and creativity at a young age lights the path to a successful life and academic achievement; how parents and teachers can build self-worth and confidence; the importance of allowing children to take on challenges, learn from disappointment, and take on responsibility.

Encouraging Character and Curiosity + Navy Chaplains

Guest 1: Rick Ackerly, author of The Genius in Every Child.
Topic: Encouraging character, curiosity, and creativity in children.
Issues: How focusing on character, curiosity, and creativity at a young age lights the path to a successful life and academic achievement; how parents and teachers can build self-worth and confidence; the importance of allowing children to take on challenges, learn from disappointment, and take on responsibility.

Guest 2: Chaplain Dale White, CAPT, Operations Officer, Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains. Additional Resources:

Revenge of the Nerds? Social Rejection Could Spark Creative Thinking

If you’ve got a nerdy kid (and I mean that in the nicest possible way)–or you yourself were (or are)  a bit of a nerd, this will come as good news.It’s not just in movies where nerds get their revenge. A new study by a Johns Hopkins University business professor finds that social rejection can inspire imaginative thinking, particularly in individuals with a strong sense of their own independence.

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Rethinking Thinking

Dear Mr. Dad: There’s something going on with our nine-year old son, but it’s hard to describe. We know that he’s very smart—he reads at a high-school level, does the most amazing math calculations in his head, and is a wonderful artist. But only at home. At school, his grades are horrible, he gets in trouble a lot, is often called an underachiever, and has been diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities. I always thought that being gifted and having learning disabilities were mutually exclusive. Is it possible for someone to have both?

A: The quick answer is an enthusiastic Yes! In fact, your son sounds like what some people are now calling “twice-exceptional.” And one of the biggest risks he faces is that he won’t get the attention he needs for either of his exceptional sides. Twice exceptional (2e) kids often fall through the cracks, say Diane Kennedy and Rebecca Banks, authors of Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism.

According to Banks and Kennedy, a 2e kid’s disabilities may make people overlook his giftedness by getting the adults in his life to focus more on his shortcomings than his talents—in other words, to see him as a problem that needs to be fixed. At the same time, his intellectual gifts can mask his disabilities, meaning that he won’t get the help he needs to fully achieve his potential.

At the root of the problem are the words we use to describe children like your son: deficit, disorder, disability. But nearly 20 years ago, educational psychologist Bonnie Cramond did a comparison of the ways people describe the behavior of children who might be labeled as having a disability with those who might be labeled as highly creative. Aside from the words, there wasn’t much difference. For example, the ADD child is “impulsive,” while a creative child is “spontaneous.” An ADD child would be “hyperactive,” but the creative one would be “high energy.” One child is “inattentive,” while the other is “a creative thinker.” One is “oppositional,” the other is “questioning authority.” One is “unable to finish projects,” the other is “able to switch gears quickly” or “always looking for new challenges.” One “daydreams,” the other “is lost in thought.”

So what can you do? To start with, remember the old expression: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” People in special education tend to focus on disabilities. People who work with gifted kids, focus on gifts. You need to find someone who will look at your son from all angles, someone who can encourage him to develop his talents, while helping him work on minimizing the negative effects—if any—of his “disabilities” on his life.

I’m saying “minimize the effects” because your son doesn’t necessarily need to be “cured”—he may just need to find activities (and later, a career) that make use of his gifts. Kids with Asperger’s, for example, often excel in math and science and might be happy as adults in engineering, physics, and accounting. Kids with ADD often do well in music, art, and sports and can be quite successful as emergency-room doctors, inventors, salespeople, or air traffic controllers.

It’s also very important that you and your spouse educate yourselves about different ways of thinking about learning disabilities and gifts. In addition to Kennedy’s and Banks’ book, I recommend The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain, by Thomas Armstrong. I’ve interviewed all of these authors on my radio show, “Positive Parenting.” You can listen to podcasts at mrdad.com/radio.