Visual Thinking 101_11 How do we lose creativity?

Professor George Land, did a longitudinal study to assess the creativity of 1600 children as part of a NASA project in the 1960s. The results were; 98% of 5 year-olds scored at a “genius” level for creativity, by 15 only 12% were still creative and even worse of the 280,000 adults only 2% as creative geniuses.

Creative geniuses are diverse thinkers with exceptional mental imagery, underpinning creativity and innovation. Visual thinking is a common strengths of every neurodivergent child I have met in 23 years. For the neurodivergent adults visual thinking may have waned, but can be recovered.

Creativity and innovation are available to everyone. 21st Century Diverse thinkers, have exceptional visual thinking skills. It is clearly better to retain and develop these skills rather than have to re-discover them later. These are diverse thinking skills that are in great demand to solve some of the world’s challenging problems. So how are we losing them in school-age years, and how is self-directed learning managing to retain these skills?

Where play is used in our nurseries, creativity and innovation are nurtured. So what is happening later (see the 4th year grade slump). Let’s look at losing creativity and innovation. For example, children:

  • are not using their visual strengths to scaffold new learning
  • want to fit in
  • have decisions made for them
  • are told the “right way”
  • are afraid of getting it wrong
  • don’t have enough time to explore in class
  • who get engrossed in something, may not fit the timetable to finish
  • don’t get an opportunity for hands-on exploration, using trial an error to explore
  • don’t get encouraged to imagine and visualise what might be possible. Using your visualization skills is not valued or even mentioned in school.

I am sure you know many more reasons. And you may notice that neurodivergent children are invariably struggling with many of these topics.

None of this is deliberate, but there is an unconscious bias towards verbal-sequential thinking where results can we measured and assessed, in line with the national curriculum.

Come back tomorrow for some ideas as to how you can help your children and students retain their creativity.

For all available resources, look up

Click above to book your place now at one of the free coaching sessions.

My name is Olive Hickmott, I am a health and learning coach, specialising in working with neurodivergent students. I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me
Here you will find my learning platform for some of my training programmes and free live webinars
You will find other useful information and Practitioner Training at
Here is my YouTube channel for more free resources:
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of Mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#olivehickmott #visualthinking #empoweringlearning #neurodivergent #mentalimagery #learningdifficulties #creativity #innovation #diverse thinkers


About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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