It's Back-to-School time, and that surfaces a slew of complex issues and feelings for Creative People - by nature of their Neurodiversity. Many students, both kids and adults, that have Creative Personalities, are also gifted, and many school systems are not adequately equipped to support you. Socially, educationally, creatively, and aspects of your personality can be misunderstood and present challenges in school. My fear for Creative People is they mistakenly learn their creative strengths as problems because they aren't main-stream, and therefore recognized or supported. Here is a place to get started, arming yourself with knowledge, to succeed as a Creative, Gifted, Neurodiverse student.
Creative Personalities: Who are we?
Reminder: Creativity means Creative Personalities, which is a specific set of traits and features that include the element of creating something. Not always in the Arts, Creative People are Scientists, Engineers, CEOs and business owners, Computer Scientists, Investment Analysts,
Board Members, Franchise Owners, Administrators, Nonprofit Executives, Medical Professionals, and beyond. They are also Writers, Performers, Visual Artists, Culinary Artists, Directors and Filmmakers, Cosmetologists, Designers and more.
Creative People also feature powerful emotions, a drive towards meaning making, authenticity, purposefulness, strong sensory capacities, and other aspects that set them apart in how they interact with and see the world. You can see more of the research about Creative People on this website under “Creative People.”
Creative People, Neurodiversity, Gifted...What's the terminology here?
I also want to note that I regularly interchange the words “Creative People” with “Neurodiversity” and “Giftedness” and within this article is no exception. While I want to acknowledge there are specific ways in which each of these have different uses from each other, they have significant overlap in the intended population described in much of the content here. What we are acknowledging with “Giftedness” and “Neurodiversity” and “Creative Personality” is the Creative Personality as a whole having non-typical ways of interacting with the environment that are extra-adaptive and beneficial to them, while underrecognized by the comparative population at large. Similarly, we understand “Giftendess” to mean the benefits of the Creative Personality such as hyper focus in areas of interest allowing rapid learning and information retention, flexibility and rapid progress.
Supporting Creative Personalities in Education
While there is much progress to be done in education in recognizing and supporting Creative Personalities, for the purposes of this article we will focus on five:
A regular features of the Creative Personality are powerful emotions. For a variety of reasons, acknowledging improvement in recent years of mental health in the public school system in some areas, school can be an emotionally unstable and difficult place. Generally expressing, communicating and feeling emotions is not supported by peers nor staff, “shutting emotions down” the regular practice, and this is especially unhealthy for the experience of Creative Personalities who experience so much of the world through a powerful emotional lens. The inability to express, communicate or share emotions in school without ridicule or correction results in an environment for Creative People that is poor in experience and rejecting of their overall experiences.
Many Creative People demonstrate a combination of powerful intuition and empathy. While this serves their Creativity, Authenticity and Meaningfulness personality goals very well, it can be difficult to navigate at school. It can be confusing for Creative Personalities to see others not as impacted by events as they are, and/or not treating other, seeing others, or caring about others as they do. Without knowledge and support of their empathy and intuition, and how to protect themselves with healthy boundaries, Creative People often find themselves in relationships and friendships that are unbalanced, or otherwise unhealthy for them.
Classwork That is Too Easy
Meaningfulness is an important aspect to Creative People, and when they become excited about something, they will quickly learn everything they can about that subject- often quickly, easily and efficiently. Regularly, Creative People are quite bright, and, as a result of both of these, can find themselves in classes where the work they are doing are things they already know, and therefore, does not feel meaningful to them.edit.
Counter to work being too easy, it is also commonplace for Creative People to fall into perfectionism in subject areas that they are highly invested in. Guidance and support to help redirect the powerful creative energy and separate work identity from personal identity is necessary for mental health and balance.
School Feeling Boring
Again, related to work that is too easy, and perfectionism, regularly, Creative People find school to be boring, and, even if they can easily complete work, find it difficult to engage in subjects that do not interest them. This is because there is a direct correlation between motivation to do something and the execution of that thing, and this correlation is emotional, and therefore extremely powerful in Creative People. Once Creative Students understand this about themselves, they can released the shame often assigned to them as “lazy,” for example, instead redirecting their emotions to an aspect of school that is motivating enough to them to help move forward.
Are you a Gifted, Creative, and/or Neurodiverse Student? It’s Time for Your Best School Year Ever.
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More Articles Like Back to School for Gifted, Creative and Neurodiverse Students:
Creative People Who Don't Know Who They Are, Concierge Counseling for Creative People, Creative People with Headaches and Stomach Aches, Creation Translation, Crisis of Meaning: Creative People Lost, Coaching Creative People, A Creative Personality Snapshot, From One Creative to Another, Finding your Creative Balance, Dream Theory for Creative People, Creative People, Mental Health and Creativity
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.