“…dyslexic children around the age of 10 years old were found to be particularly creative in our study…” – Kapoula et al. University Paris PLOS One 2016: 11(3).
From creativity researchers in Europe, some striking new information about how well dyslexic students and adolescents performed on the Torrance Test of Creativity Thinking compared to non-dyslexic peers. Particularly large differences were noted in the areas of originality and elaboration. Figure 1 shows A, the test prompt, B, the drawing from an art student, C, a drawing from a non-dyslexic student, and D, a drawing from a dyslexic student.
“When comparing the most creative group of students (i.e., from ENSAD) and the most creative group of dyslexic children and teenagers (i.e., from BRUXELLES) (Fig 2F, Table 9), the only significant differences were the following: higher flexibility for dyslexic children and teenagers than art students and higher elaboration for art students than dyslexic children and teenagers; there were no significant differences in fluidity, originality, and total scores.”
The researchers also noted that there was evidence that dyslexic children and adolescents could reach even higher levels of creativity ability with the development of skills which may help with elaboration.
“The first result of our study is the finding that dyslexic children and teenagers can possess higher creativity. We therefore moderate the statement that higher creativity is only expressed in dyslexic adults and hence results from compensatory mechanisms initiated in response to the specific difficulties associated with dyslexia . Indeed, dyslexic children around the age of 10 years old were found to be particularly creative in our study, presumably before compensatory mechanisms could be fully developed. We thus suggest that higher creativity in dyslexia partially relies on a neurophysiological basis (e.g., developmentally different balance/interactions between right/left hemispheres or between magnocellular and parvocellular systems [14, 15, 21, 22]), possibly mediating higher holistic visuo-spatial processing skills [10, 11]).
The second result of our study is that the educative environment plays an important role in the development of creativity in dyslexic individuals, a finding that is in line with previous literature . What could be the main reasons explaining differences between schools? General cultural or educational policy most likely differ between France and Belgium, but note that creativity remained higher in the dyslexic when compared with the non-dyslexic population in BRUXELLES. In addition, creativity was similar in the BRUXELLES (Belgium) and OISE (France) schools, and larger in these two schools than in the PARIS school (France) in dyslexic children and teenagers. Our interpretation of the present study’s results is rather that the educational approach targeted to the dyslexic population has an impact on creativity (bold emphasis is ours)…education, which is specifically adapted to the needs of subjects with dyslexia, can enhance creativity in dyslexic children and teenagers. We hope that this study will stimulate further multidisciplinary studies in order to better assess the differences in educational approaches and their impact on expressions of creativity.”
It’s a mistake to pull dyslexic students away from all arts classes for remediation. Time needs to be made for dyslexic students’ strengths.