Nurturing Artistic Talent
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son will be 5 years old next month. He has a talent for
drawing. He seems to have a photographic memory and can draw
exact replicas of objects and scenes. Is there a program
which can help him nurture his talent? Can I get him
evaluated for this skill? Thanks in advance for your answer.
A: It is amazing that your son
is able to draw exact replicas of objects and scene at such
a young age. This is definitely a talent not to be ignored.
Memory power is associated with higher intelligence and the
ability to use that memory shows ability to apply raw
information, which you son has demonstrated. He also has
advanced fine motor and visual skills if he is coloring
within the lines.
Memory testing can be done using any standardized
intelligence test which will test his intelligence as a
whole (not memory alone). You may want to try a creativity
test (e.g., the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking -
Figural) to assess creativity. But in such tests, drawing
ability is not the criteria; it is the idea behind the
drawing that is tested.
For now, you should really look for art programs in your
area for him to nurture his talents. However, unless you
have found a private art teacher, a group program may not be
sufficiently advanced for your son. Depending on where you
are located, there may be some summer programs that focus on
art, especially drawing for various age groups. If you are
able to find him a teacher to help him with his drawing
skills, he can go very far. Bear in mind that programs as
such (especially a group program) require children to follow
guidelines and rules, which may not be the same as freehand
drawing he does at home. This could lead to frustration that
could negatively affect his natural interest in art.
Therefore, you need to ensure that he enjoys the program and
good teachers make a lot of difference.
Having said that, you must be cautious to strike a balance
here and not get too carried away with just one talent. He
may have other talents that may be ignored since the focus
is on one area. Do pay attention to other skills that needs
to be developed. Good luck!