Where did creativity go?

pediatric profiler pictureAs a child I spent a great deal of time considering the possibilities of the world. I asked “what if” and then followed up with trial and error to achieve what I was working for.

My children and I played “what if” frequently when they were small.  It helped them to think of the world as a place of adventures and creations waiting to be developed.

My grandchildren experience that with their mother, who has a degree in art.

But in my practice, I see too many children who don’t know how to ask “what if” except for fearfully.  They don’t know how to ask with curiosity and anticipation. In school they are presented with worksheet after worksheet.  They are losing recess time to complete these worksheets, sometimes because they can’t get them done fast enough and other times because they need to reach a certain goal of materials covered.

This article on creativity is a major red flag about how the current focus on teaching to the test is causing our children to lose their creativity.  Creativity is so important for innovation and problem solving.  Let’s begin a conversation with “what if” looking at ways to bring creativity back into the classroom and see what that does for test scores.  I am sure it will improve useful life scores when they go to get jobs and start careers.

Our ignorance of learning disabilities

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

As the new school year begins this article/survey highlights the needs we have to provide more knowledge and training to our parents and teachers.  I know I will be out there doing my share to close the gap.  Who else will be helping to get the word out?

See on www.washingtonpost.com

Playing with your children helps their development

When my children were growing up, I spent a great deal of time on the floor playing with them.  At the time I was not as aware of the many levels of development it was helping them with.  Now with my 17 month old granddaughter,

I play with a different perspective, one of understanding how it helps with social connectiveness, logical thinking, and emotional regulation.

Playing keeps you young

We are learning from the children in the autism spectrum about the problems with social and emotional relationships, the problems with abstract language, and why some people fall into narrow patterns of interest and routines.  The late Stanley Greenspan, who developed the Floortime/DIR model of intervention, understood this and had worked tirelessly to teach as many professionals as possible his method of intervention.

Research is now beginning to catch up with proving what his method was doing in the central nervous system. The Floortime/DIR method helps  to develop the pathways needed for full engagement in our world with improved communication abilities, tolerance for change and difference in opinion, and handling of different emotions.  He was the first to admit that his method was not an end all but part of the puzzle for intervention. But it is an important piece to helping children in the autism spectrum, and other developmental challenges, live a fuller life.

Two good books that he wrote at the end of the 1990s and the early 2000’s  were The Child with Special Needs, and Engaging Autism. He has a new one out, that I am looking forward to reading entitled The Learning Tree, which was published just after his untimely death in August 2010.  In it he and his wife look at how we need to approach children from the earliest moments to nourish their beings and helping them advance through not just the developmental milestones but also the social and emotional milestones.

At Springtides, the nonprofit side of my practice, we applaud the work that Dr. Greenspan has done. We are using the concepts he developed for Floortime to be part of our Parents as Therapists Program, teaching parents of children in the autism spectrum or having other developmental challenges between ages 3-7 how to maximize their potential and connect to their world fully.  We have found measurable positive changes in autism behaviors and social and emotional  behaviors in as little as 9 weeks.

There is no downside to taking time to play with children.  Take their lead and help them expand on ideas, themes and skills.  It will keep you young.