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My daughter sees every letter and number in a different colour!

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Concerned Mother (CM): Good morning, Life Coach Adams.

Life Coach Adams (LCA): Good morning CM. How are you today?

CM: I am doing okay.

LCM: Good. How may I be of help today?

CM: Well, my daughter told me that she is seeing things that I believe are not normal.

LCA: So, your daughter is seeing things that other people do not see.

CM: Yes.

LCA: What do you mean?

CM: Recently while she was reading a book, she told me that the words were colourful, but when I looked I only saw black letters. She told me, “All the letters and numbers have a different colour; A is red, B is green, C is orange,…1 is purple, 2 is grey, and 3 is yellow” etc. So are all the letters and numbers she sees wherever she is.{{more}}

LCA: How old is your daughter?

CM: Only six.

LCA: Exactly when did she first start telling you about this?

CM: Six months ago, but at first I thought she was just fooling around, so I paid her no attention.

LCA: So, why are you so concerned now?

CM: She kept on telling me about it. I also noticed that she started to write with crayons at home, using different colours for the different letters and numbers. I became really concerned after she told me that she shared this with her friend at school and all the children started calling her ‘crazy’.

LCA: Does your daughter know that seeing letters and numbers in colour is not normal?

CM: Yes. When I realized that she was being serious, I told her that many other people around her do not see letters and numbers in colours like she does and that not everyone would accept her if they knew. Then I made her promise not to tell anyone. That is why she started writing with crayons at home and writing with pencil at school, so that no one would know about it. But she felt so comfortable with her best friend that one day she told her; then that friend told another friend, who started spreading it and now she’s being bullied at school.

LCA: Have you spoken to her class teacher?

CM: I haven’t yet, but I plan to.

LCA: Maybe he or she can do something about the bullying.

CM: She has to; my daughter is really having a rough time. She really feels like she’s crazy. I was hoping you could shed a little light and tell me if she is or not.

LCA: You are afraid that your daughter might be mentally ill.

CM: Yes. Is she?

LCA: Your daughter is not mentally ill. It sounds like your daughter has a neurological condition called Synesthesia, which is a condition in which the perception of one sense triggers another. For example, hearing a certain word like ‘book’ can cause someone to smell roses, or, like in your daughter’s case, seeing a printed letter, word, or number evokes the sight of colour.

CM: So, do other people experience this?

LCA: Yes, but it is rare; less than five per cent of the population in some countries. So, your daughter is not alone.

CM: Well, that’s good in a way. At least there are others out there who can understand. But…what exactly is causing this?

LCA: At present the cause is unknown, but some scientists believe that it may be due to heredity.

CM: Hereditary? No one on my side of the family has this.

LCA: What about your husband?

CM: I’m not sure. He hasn’t mentioned anything of the sort.

LCA: It is possible that the transmission may have skipped a generation or two so that a great, great, grandparent or member of his or her family may have had it and now your daughter does.

CM: Oh wow…!!

LCA: There are many different types of Synesthesia, but the type your daughter has is called Grapheme (Colour Synesthesia), which means that parts of the brain that control perceptions like colour are interconnected with other parts of the brain that are not normally so connected (letters and numbers), creating an association between both. Drugs can also cause symptoms like that of Synesthesia, but I doubt that that is the reason for your daughter’s condition.

CM: Thankfully, it is not. So, is there a way we can treat this? It doesn’t seem to be affecting her negatively; in fact, it seems like she enjoys seeing letters and numbers this way, but if treatment prevents her from getting bullied, then we should.

LCA: Many individuals with Synesthesia consider their condition to be an ability they have rather than a disability, so I’m not surprised your daughter seems undisturbed by it. At present, the only known treatment is hypnosis. However, I recommend that before you decide on anything, talk to your daughter about whether she wants to remove it or not. Besides, some children grow out of Synesthesia. If the bullying continues after speaking with the class teacher, and or the principal, you should consider transferring her to a different school, preferably one that has a smaller teacher to pupil ratio, so that she will receive more individualized attention. Also, you could help to educate the school by explaining to them, getting a letter from your doctor, or providing reading material.

CM: Thanks for your help, life coach. I will consider your suggestions.

LCA: Thanks for talking with me today. Take care and I hope your daughter will grow this out.

Life Coach,

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach, Dr Adams, a licensed clinical psychologist. Please note that all correspondence to the Life Coach is confidential and the cases presented are modified in order to maintain the anonymity of each writer. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) is a non-governmental organization, committed to social and spiritual empowerment. For more information on DYNACII please visit: http://www.dynacii.com

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