School And Synaesthesia

I've recently noticed how teachers are often completely unaware of synaesthesia. I've read on here many cases where teachers have misunderstood people because they have made a comment or done something relating to their synaesthesia. This causes the person to be subject to bullying, get in trouble or fall behind in classes.

For example, the other week I politely requested that my maths teacher wrote on the board in black pen instead of blue. When she asked me why I told her that, due to my grapheme-colour synaesthesia, I find things written in blue difficult to read as it is in the wrong colour. She looked at me funny then told me that as long as I can still read it then I shouldn't be so petty about it. I'm not being petty, if you have the same type of synaesthesia then you will know that if you see a grapheme in a certain colour and someone writes it in another colour it completely messes with your mind.

Teachers don't understand this condition and because of that synaesthetes can face serious issues in school with only a friend or two that actually understands them. With some figures putting the amount of synaesthetes at 1 in 25, I believe that teachers should be made aware of this condition just as they are made aware of any other condition that affects the way a child learns.
AliceMai AliceMai
18-21, F
3 Responses Jan 23, 2013

I agree, but as someone before me said, teachers can not be tasked with learning about every single possible condition that can affect a child. I think it is the synesthete's or synethete's parent's obligation to explain to the teacher their particular form of synesthesia, since it can differ so much person-to-person. I have not heard of synesthesia to be anywhere close to that common in recent years. It is relatively common though, but because it is so case-sensitive, it is hard for teachers to respond to.

That's fascinating, I've never had difficulty reading words in ink coloured differently from my perceived colours; I can just overlay my colours on top of whatever is on the board. I can't think of an instance in which my synesthesia ever got in the way of school, although there was an instance in which I was writing a children's book for reading class in 7th grade and decided it would be easier to do an alphabet book. Without really thinking about it or realising anything was strange, I coloured most of the letters in their correct colours, but when it came to letters that had no colour, or which sat side by side with the same colours (such as red S and R and white H,J and T or black V, X and Z) I knew I would have to make it more decorative so I deliberately chose 'wrong' colours to illustrate the letters with, and it didn't feel right. Even today looking at that book irritates me.

I totally agree that teachers should be informed of synesthesia, especially considering how common it is, but the problem is that there are so many other things out there that could affect someone's learning that they can't learn every one of them. I think what we can do, right now, as individuals, is explain to the people that give us issues about synesthesia, that yes it is a real thing go google it, and that many people have it. I'm sorry that you'll have to deal with that blue pen, and all the other colors of font you will encounter, but that's life I guess. (Colored fonts don't really bug me that much unless each letter is a different color.) Good luck in school and I hope your teachers will change to help you, or at least understand your predicament! :)