Synaesthesia Discovery

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Vision to Temperature Synaesthesia: Are We Far from the Tree?

Vision to Temperature Synaesthesia is something shared by my children and me. It is something that I feel very normal about, just like all other temperature related synaesthesia types I experience. It had never occurred to me before the creation of this blog site that this was not commonly experienced by other people.

This summer has been very mild. But three weeks ago, the temperature all of a sudden shot to 30 degrees. We were playing air hockey games at the farm when my husband took a watermelon out of the fridge. At the sight of the watermelon, the chill flew through my body, and immediately I felt freezing cold.

“Wait! Let me get a coat!” I rushed to the bedroom, and put my coat on.
“I need a coat too. I am freezing cold!” Skye went to his room to put an extra layer on.
“I feel cold too. But I don’t need a coat.” Thomas was jumping up and down to warm himself up.

My husband’s eyes rolled up. “Great! That’s how we save the electricity bill!” Certainly there is no need to run air conditioner :-)

Thomas does not need heater either if he sees a cricket ground regardless how cold a day is. He loves watching cricket matches on TV with his dad. It keeps him warm.

My Vision to Temperature Synaesthesia is usually evoked by looking at either warm or cold food. Mango is another example that can lower my body temperature suddenly.

To Thomas, a bottle of spring water makes him cold, a glass of milk gives him chills, and milo brings him warmth. He feels the temperature in an object he sees, e.g., the bottle of water itself, as well as his own body. He has quite extensive temperature synaesthesia like his brother.

Skye feels temperature in “almost everything in the entire world”, using his own words, just like how he experiences colours, feels, and spatial locations. But with temperature, his synaesthetic responses seem to change all the time. Sometimes, a bottle of water can make him feel cold whereas other times he feels the opposite. However, there are some consistencies as well. Seeing snow flakes on a birthday card, on TV, or in real life gives him a cold, but not extremely cold, sensation. Looking at soy sauce or wine triggers off a feel of having four or five jumpers on.

I have been writing about my family’s stories for five months. How time flies. Very soon, the year is going to end.

This time last year, one of our friends sent us an article he found on the New York Times, i.e., “How Do You Raise a Child Prodigy?” It was an extract from Andrew Solomon’s book Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, in which the author tells real life stories of more than 300 families, each has children born very differently from their parents. Some are severely disabled, some are dwarf, some are prodigies, some are transgender and some were conceived in rape.

Each family faces a lot of challenges that those children bring. However, “parents not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Reflecting on my own life with my children, I feel I am much luckier than many parents featured in this heart felt book. The book was one of the triggering points for me wanting to create this website as it gives me an opportunity to go through a journey with my children and to build the society’s awareness, understanding, and acceptance of children and adults who were born far from the tree (the middle 90% of the population). How we view the distance to the tree is one’s perception. As a parent, I want to make the distance smaller by sharing day-to-day stories, recognising similarities, and celebrating differences.

I hope you have enjoyed some of our stories, and laughed a few times. I will be posting more blogs after the Christmas break. We are also planning a new family project together for the new year. This time, my husband will be part of it too.

Seasons Greetings! Thank you for your support!

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