I sure hope this little's girl's teacher knew about object personification synesthesia or she probably got sent to the Principal's office!
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Last year, Meredith was the subject of a mini-documentary film challenge. A group of three university students were looking for a topic and had recently read an article about how Meredith's school had created an innovative environment for students with learning disabilities. They came to the school and asked to interview some students, thinking that their film was going to be about this unique school.
After they learned about Meredith's unique learning and thinking style during her interview, they changed the focus of their film a bit and focused more on Meredith. In the beginning of the film, Meredith is drawing and describing her number 4's personality. It's a bit hard to hear, but she talks about how her number four likes snails and in the drawing, you can faintly see the girl holding a snail with the number four on it. This is an example of her ordinal-linguistic personification (OLP) and how she personifies numbers.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
She also said she can understand how it looks like she's not doing anything from other people's point of view. In fact, she can tell who all the visual thinkers are at school because she'll walk by and see kids staring off into space.
It explains a lot of things for me. Like teachers, I also nag her at home to get to work. It's so confusing because she'll complain about being so stressed out about an essay she has to write, but she's not "doing" anything about it. Now I understand that everyone in the house is probably distracting her from the work she is doing in her mind, thinking that she is "available" to do other things like take out the garbage. She always cranks it out on the computer really quickly in the end, and now I know why.
My husband is the exact same way. We worked in the same office for a couple of weeks once, and I was so embarrassed because it looked like he was just sitting around not doing anything; at the same time it was confusing because he always ultimately delivered. He said he is still constantly misunderstood at work. He has a hard time getting presentations done (in his mind), because it looks like he's not doing anything and people stop by to talk to him in his cube and then don't understand why he gets angry for them interrupting him.
These highly visual thinkers sure are misunderstood!!
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Last summer, Meredith began to spend time with a new friend. As they spent more time together, I began to observe many traits in Meredith's friend that suggested she might have synesthesia. In asking her a few simple questions (I almost always start with, "Do your days of the week have a color?" as that seems to be one the most common forms of synesthesia), it became pretty obvious that she was very synesthetic.
As the three of us discussed the girls' similarities, we began talking about numbers and math. Both girls said that they had a terrible time with math facts. However, it was clear that both girls were intellectually advanced in other areas. I confirmed with the friend's mother that this was the case. On educational testing, both girls scored very poorly on math facts, but very high in math concepts. That seemed very peculiar to me and I was exploring with the girls why that might be.
I asked them how their OLP/synesthesia interfered with math facts. Meredith's friend quickly came up with an example. To her, number nine was a wise, old tree and zero was a volcano. She explained that if she has to add nine plus zero, she comes up with nothing, or zero, because she knows that trees don't grow in volcanoes. She told me in a very sincere manner and had a look on her face as if she was hoping I could shed some light on how she could get around this fact that was very real for her.
She offered a second example. When she would have to add two numbers together and the sum was a different color (in her mind) than the combination of the two numbers' individual color, she would be confused. For instance, if she saw 5 as blue and 6 as red, she would expect the answer (11) to be purple. But for her, 11 is yellow. She told me that once a teacher was helping her and she told the teacher, "...but the answer is yellow," and after her teacher gave her an odd look, she dropped it.
I asked Meredith if she remembered a time she said something to a teacher about some synesthetic experience and received an odd look. (It seems relatively common that synesthetes have some early negative encounter with a friend, parent, or teacher after sharing something about their unique synesthetic experiences and that may be one reason they keep it to themselves from that point on. For example, once I was at a party and a guy brought up the fact that his wife always makes fun of him because he says his letters and words have different colors. His wife jumped in and said something to the effect of, "I know! Isn't he just silly?!?" That was a fun moment for me to inform her that no, he was not!) Meredith told me that in second grade, her teacher was holding up flashcards with the different vowel sounds on them (e.g., short a, long a). The class was supposed to say the correct pronunciation of that particular vowel sound out loud when the teacher flashed the card. But when the teacher held up the "short a" flashcard, for example, Meredith would say, "Red," as she sees the letter A as red. Meredith laughed because she said her teacher would just keep holding the flashcard closer and closer to her face hoping to elicit the correct response from her.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I recently learned of more examples of how Meredith visualizes almost everything, including things she hears.
If Meredith has an earworm (a song that gets stuck in your head), it shows up on the repeat menu of an ipod.
And of course, she can always go to the Kariokie-Dokie to get the lyrics to any song!
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Recently, however, we've noticed that Meredith seems to be having a much easier time in math. When asking Meredith about this, she said that she finally figured a way to get her number characters out of the way so that they don't distract her anymore. Before she goes into math class, Merebith and Dogot line up all the numbers on one of those "hold-a-ring walking ropes" used in preschools and walk the numbers into a closet, where they remain until class is over! Apparently the numbers are pretty gullible and easy to manipulate. When math class is over, all the numbers pile out of the closet and usually most of them are gasping for fresh air since one of the numbers has a little problem with gas...
Friday, February 22, 2013
I've written before about how Meredith loves music and has an uncanny memory for song lyrics. Today, Meredith explained that she is able to do this because she designed a system in her mind to help her remember the lyrics. All she has to do is head on over to the "Kariokie-Dokie!"
The Kariokie-Dokie is a karaoke place where Merebith loves to go sing. The Kariokie-Dokie is a bit like a theatre with a big screen and seating. Songs play on the screen with the lyrics, just like you see at any typical karaoke bar. The background visuals on the screen are the synesthetic colors and patterns that Meredith sees when she hears that particular song.
Merebith and her friends love to have karaoke competitions. Merebith has won three karaoke trophies already! Of course, Dogot always loses competitions because he sings in his robot-like voice. The security ants like to participate as well.
Meredith explained that it takes about three times listening to a song to get the lyrics down--the first time to get the tune and two more times to get all the lyrics. Once she's got them, they are permanently in the Kariokie-Dokie system and she can refer to them anytime she wants to. Pretty soon, however, she has the lyrics committed to memory and doesn't need to look at the karaoke screen anymore.
Meredith and I always talk about the irony that she can remember all the lyrics to songs even when words are not her friend in other settings. Now, however, it makes sense because when she is singing, she is accessing a dynamic, mental visual system to "see" the words. And the fact that after a period of time she no longer needs to refer to the karaoke screen is testament that processing information (even words) through a visual thinking circuit is what ultimately solidifies information into knowledge and long-term memory for her and other highly visual thinkers