A great way to decipher your child’s dominant sense is to have them draw something. Art is a remarkably personal activity; simply by observing your child before, during and after drawing, you will be able to work out the dominant sense. The drawing itself will be illustrative, too — in fact, my research has shown, in a controlled environment, just looking at the finished drawing will tell you whether your child is auditory, visual, tactile or taste and smell.
Tactile children, preferring to stand, will survey the blank piece of paper quickly, grab one or more pencils in one hand and vigorously scribble across the page. Whilst they will be aware of the edges of the paper, they are unconcerned about being within its border. As quickly as they start, they will stop, throw the page on the floor and repeat the action on the next page. Younger children prefer crayons, as they “don’t feel as scratchy” on the white page, whilst a ball point pen will be the favorite for the older children. They usually pick one color, possibly adding another if pressed.
Auditory children prefer to be organized before the start. They will look at the different pencils, crayons and colors of paint, making sure everything is conveniently located, before picking their favorite color and proceeding to make circular patterns all over the page. Their drawing style will be balanced and organized, using two or three colors. Even when very young, auditory children prefer to use primary colors, being very aware about borders, spatial balance and symmetry. They often will show a clear pattern with their drawings and also a common pattern within a series of drawings.
The visual child will pick up each color of crayon and mark the page, being careful to use the whole page and every color. Their drawings will be colorful and expressive from the start. Unlike the other senses, they seem to approach drawing or painting with the finished picture in mind, and are willing to spend time mastering little details. Their drawings tend to be pretty but not personal, and contain more popular representations rather than their own visual experience. The personal component for a visual child seems to come from others seeing and commenting on their drawing, rather than individual emotion.
For taste and smell children, a blue squiggle on a blank page can be a representation of something precious, containing much meaning. The squiggle might be someone the child knew and loved, and the color often one they associate with that person. A taste and smell child will draw with an intent in mind. Whilst the drawing might not look like anything in particular to an adult, to the child it was very clear — and very important that the viewing adult appreciates and recognizes what the squiggle is. Their drawings consist mostly of family members, pets and close friends.
Drawing is a wonderfully creative expression for your child, and therefore a great way to determine your child’s sense. If there are difficulties between two children playing, give them some paper, pencils and determine the solution based upon what you learn about their dominant sense.
Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com.
© 2013, Priscilla Dunstan
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