I have had a question in my mind for a long time. Is there any correlation between Synaesthesia and Giftedness? I believe many people have asked a similar question before. Some simply say Synaesthesia is a “Gift”.
I certainly can’t deny that almost all synaesthetes I have come across display a degree of giftedness. Many of them pursue careers that require creativity. Their unique perceptions have enhanced their abilities of thinking out of square.
During my research of this subject, I came across a research article titled “Synaesthesia promotes child prodigiousness and influences creativity. An examination of the evidence from case studies.” (Cawley and Cawley 2009)
In the article, the authors declare that “We show that synaesthesia is associated with prodigiousness and that its presence increases the chances of a child prodigy being created. Furthermore, we show that synaesthesia influences the creative domain choice of creative synaesthetes.”
I cannot be certain how much of Skye’s prodigiousness was a result of his synaesthesia. If my family had never had a child prodigy before, or all the prodigies in my family were synaesthetes, I would have had a much more straight forward answer.
The fact is that I grew up in a household full of child prodigies. When you are a young child, you don’t think about those things, and you don’t see anything unusual in that type of setting. Interestingly, all prodigies in my family from my generation are first born males. None of them have claimed that they have synaesthesia, but I do think they are all synaesthesia gene carriers. All of them are from my mother’s side including my own elder brother, and my male cousins born to my mother’s sisters. I do feel it is a convincing pattern, but it could be a mere co-incident.
From Cawley’s case study, i.e., the child Cawley, a prodigy who also happens to be the first born male child and multiple synaesthete, it does remind me of Skye a lot. Cawley has two younger siblings who appear to have synaesthesia as well.
But what interested me the most is Cawley’s background. He has a Caucasian father and an Asian mother, the same scenario in my nuclear family. My husband and I have long suspected that there could be some elements of brain difference in Eurasian children. Synaesthesia, especially a wide range of synaesthesia types present in one individual in Skye’s and Thomas’ cases, could be a result of a mixed heritage. This hypothesis certainly requires a lot of validation and proof.