School has been out for a week and 11-year old Lily is in creative heaven. It’s like she’s been set free.
She always seems to be in the middle of some ‘project’. She says she’s writing a book and working on song lyrics. Yesterday, she spent hours on this collage.
She called it a ‘collage of me‘. I asked her what inspired it and she said she didn’t know. Of course, if someone had given her an assignment to create a ‘collage of me‘, she wouldn’t have wanted to do it.
She is definitely guided by some inner voice and has an artistic drive to be creative. Her brain is always going, thinking up things, sometimes kooky things.
Take, for instance, this paper ‘candle flame enhancer‘ she dreamed up to make my fake candle look more real.
She recently asked me to buy her some clay at the store. She then spent a long time sculpting a lily flower, which she then spent more time posing just right for a series of photographs. No reason why… she just felt like sculpting a lily out of clay. Who wouldn’t? Me, that’s who.
She’s been taking a lot of pictures lately. No surprise. She’s a very visual person. Even as a toddler, she could spot the tiniest details that no one else could see.
She tells me that she thinks in pictures. I actually think she has a really good eye for composition.
Lily has been gifted with intelligence and creativity. It’s no surprise that many of the things that make school a struggle for her are the same things that make her such an artistic person.
FOCUS-Her ability to absorb and focus on subjects that interest her, makes it hard to focus on school work that is uninteresting or boring. Repetitive work and rote memorization are her worst enemies in the classroom. Multi-sensory teaching helps capture her visual attention, while humor attracts her mind.
FLEXIBILITY-When she’s allowed to listen to her own inner voice, Lily is happy to float from project to project, following a plan known only to her. But, when structure and assignments are imposed from the outside, she finds it difficult to be flexible when change is required.
EMOTIONS-Lily’s emotions are so near the surface and change so quickly, some would call it an ‘artist’s temperament.’ But her inability to control her emotions can make social situations difficult at school, especially when others don’t share her artistic vision. Lily is easily frustrated by the effort it takes to conform to a rigid school structure that focuses on her weaknesses, instead of rewarding her strengths.
SENSITIVITIES-Lily’s sense of taste, her sensitivity to sights and sounds, her ability to read emotions in others, make her a keen observer of the world around her—ideal for creative types, but in a school setting, her senses can be overwhelmed with incoming information, making it difficult to concentrate and sometimes control her own emotions.
It’s my hope that gifted programs will not just focus on high-achieving, high-performing, traditional learners, but welcome Twice Exceptional students too because gifts come in different forms.
How many creative, smart people do you know who struggled in school? I know many… like my friend, Matt.
Matt is now a video editor who uses his visual strengths and multi-tasking brain to edit television shows. I produced this video about Matt to help my daughter understand that even though school is hard now, down the road, her amazing gifts can lead to an exciting career.