Did you know that some of the world's greatest artists had dyslexia? For instance, the famous author Agatha Christie had dyslexia, although that didn't stop her from writing some of the best-loved mystery books of all time. She was “slow” in other ways, but not in creative thinking. In fact, she struggled with spelling and writing. However, when she was 11 years old, her stories were first published in the local newspaper, which encouraged her to keep making up stories in her head.
Here are five ways to keep creativity flowing in kids and get them inspired to keep learning:
1. Reading Aloud
Although children with dyslexia may have a hard time thinking in words or reading them straight off the page, it's still important to help them expand their vocabulary by having a constant flow of words — without any pressure. Like Agatha Christie, you can encourage your own child to read by simply reading stories to them, making the thrill of each page a creative discovery.
2. Encourage Talking and Singing
Rather than succumbing to using computer games or gadgets to occupy your child, it is important that she doesn't get “lost” in her own world. Teach her how to interact with others by encouraging vocal talents — maybe she loves singing, playing games with others or talking a lot. Then set aside special times of the day for family time and conversation. It could be as simple as before bed, some time to talk about the day, what she enjoyed and what she looks forward to for tomorrow. At times, you can record your conversations together with simple apps or CD recorders, and listen them played back later. This will encourage development emotionally and socially.
3. Take a Multi-Sensory Approach to Reading
Think about non-traditional ways to form and create letters. If your child hates reading, then just have fun with random letters of the alphabet. Tell him a letter and ask him to try to trace or “air draw” it with his fingers. Have fun playing around with letters and words rather than having him feel that words need to make sense all the time. Form letters with Play-Doh, draw in the sand and trace sandpaper shapes with their fingers, making it a multi-sensory experience.
4. Musical Toys
Music has proven to do wonders for children with learning disabilities. If you can get your hands on some musical instruments and let your kids have fun with them, it could be a good investment.
If you don't play musical instruments yourself, consider hiring a professional piano teacher, music therapist or those who are trained to work with kids through music. Otherwise, use such simple instruments as drums, tambourines of ukulele guitars to encourage the kids to make their own songs and rhythm.
5. Arts and Crafts Toys
If you notice that your child takes a special interest in drawing, have some washable markers on hand. Set up his or her own “creativity space.” This could be as simple as a low table and stool with plenty of papers and coloring pencils. Add some glitter glue, scotch tape and stickers, and you'll have your child creating masterpieces in no time!
Other simple ideas for crafts that encourage creativity are child-safe scissors, magnetic boards and magnetic alphabets, finger paint or play dough. If you are worried about the mess, simply cover the table with newspaper and have your child wear a plastic bib or smock.
Then, let them go have some creative fun!