Synaesthesia Discovery

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Rainbow

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imageIt was such a cold day yesterday. We drove up to our country house in the heavy rain. Lucky we stopped at a shoe shop on the way to get children’s gum boots. The rain stopped when we were arriving at the farm.

We haven’t started unloading the car, Skye and Thomas already ran off to see their ponies. It was ponies’ dinner time and they were getting fed by our neighbours. We are so fortunately to have those neighbours who care for Shanny and Annie when we are not around.

The sun came out all of a sudden and broke through the dark sky. It was such a magic. The rainbow was proudly standing above the forest. Oh the Rainbow! I quite often think rainbow is how my children see this world.

I can’t possibly write about Synaesthesia without talking about Grapheme -> Colour Synaesthesia. It is recognised as the most common form of syn, in which an individual perceives letters and numbers in their associated colours.

Skye started reading when he was 2, possibility before 2 as I remember he was reading a big picture word book when he was 21 month-old on a flight overseas. The colour association might have helped him to learn alphabets and words easier than other children. Until today, most time, he still reads in colour. So if he is reading this blog, he sees the page in all sorts of colours, colours that are associated with letters, words, sentences and paragraphs. His synaesthesia is very complicated, more than anything I can describe. The most downside of this syn, to him, is not able to read fast.

There are also other “influencers” to Skye’s coloured reading. They are sound and temperature. When there is a background noise, the colour changes on a page. That’s due to his Sound -> Colour synaesthesia. The colour is intensified by an extreme temperature (Temparature -> Colour). He once did an exam at a very hot day with the air conditioning running flat out in the classroom. Both the sound from the air-con and the sudden temperature change from hot to cold made the reading significantly more challenging.

You may wonder what the difference is between colour blind and synaesthesia. The different is big. Synaesthetes know what the original colours are, but sometimes, they can’t “switch off” their colour perception. Most of them don’t always read things in colour. Skye thinks 1/4 of time, he reads in normal colours, the colours in which words are printed or written, but it may take some effort to stop colours from getting projected. Once he relaxes, the colours are all over the place, and he knows he’s gone and no way of turning back to normal colours for a while.

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