Anitra Redlefsen
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Anitra Redlefsen, M.S.

The earliest form of communication was visual and non-verbal; evidence of this are cave wall paintings and old stone age artifacts. Even today we see this evidence, for before children learn to write, they draw. Drawing or visual expression is something we are all born with; it is our birthright. No one had to teach us to draw when we were little, we just did it. We all have this innate ability; just like each of us have the ability to crawl, then to toddle and then to walk. Just imagine if when you were a baby, you thought: "Oh, I canít walk; I canít learn to do that; it looks way too dangerous, what if I fall and hurt myself? Nope, it is much safer on all fours, I will not walk." Luckily, that doesnít happen and we all learn to walk!

In most cultures children continue to draw and create freely with no preconceived notions of failing until they begin school, where they first begin to experience the emphasis and rewards for left brain thinking that stresses language, math and sequential logic. The right brain, which specializes in visual-spatial perception, emotional expression, intuition and metaphoric symbolic processes starts to decrease in functioning in favor of left brain activities; we learn to value our thinking over our feelings. By the time many children reach the teens, they will abandon the arts completely if not supported and encouraged by parents or teachers.

Research shows that people who regularly use both sides of their brains are more often better thinkers, problem solvers and decision makers. Expand your or your childís opportunities to exercise both sides of the brain through art!

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