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Let’s Talk About: Storybooks – Face-blindness vs. Bullies

And now that I’m back in St. John’s, I’m resuming the talk about storybooks! Specifically, this post is to look at the issue of face-blindness and bullying.

While I was in the CAPP meeting a week and a half ago, I brought this topic up over lunch, and got some great suggestions for how people who are face-blind can deal with “recognizing/identifying” bullies. I’m going to list them here. If anyone has other possibilities, ideas, suggestions, solutions, please let me know – I’d really like these Spectrum Storybooks to be as comprehensive as possible.

Suggestions given:

  • Look at their shoes. People don’t often change what shoes they wear, so you should be able to identify their shoes even days after whatever incident occurred. Issue: Sometimes more than one person has the same type and colour of shoes.
  • Look at their clothes. This is useful for dealing with incidents the day of, not so useful for if it’s another day. But it’s rare to have two people wearing the exact same clothes on the same day.
  • Look at their gait/manner of walking. People tend to have distinctive gaits.
  • Sound of their voices. Sometimes, particularly if you have hearing that can distinguish minor differences, everyone’s voice sounds different. This can help any day. Also see synaesthesia (below).
  • Scent. People have different scents. This is maybe not something to expand on for adults who might not be able to recognize your ability to separate out/identify/distinguish scents, but can be useful for primary identification. Also see synesthesia (below).
  • Synaesthesia. As far as I’m aware, I’m not a synaesthete, but at least one of the people at the CAPP meeting with me was, and she was one of the ones giving me suggestions. She mentioned that at least sometimes for a synaesthete, individual people can be distinguished by the combination of senses that make up your synaesthesia. For instance, if different scents or different voices are different colours or music or [insert appropriate synaesthete sense here] for you, that may make it easier to distinguish individuals.

How do those suggestions sound to you? Are there any others you can think of? Any suggestions on how to word the synaesthesia element for ages 5-12? (Two different age ranges within that.) All comments/thoughts/suggestions welcome (as mentioned above). And again, if you’d prefer a private (not blog comment) reply, feel free to use the comment form in Storybooks Post #1.


🙂 tagÂûght

By tagÂûght

I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve lived in Canada all my life (Toronto and St. John’s), but I’ve travelled to Florida, Massachusetts, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Costa Rica. I love airplane travel (as long as there are no noisy kids around me!). I’m proud to be Canadian (though Harper might end up changing that!).

I have ASD, aka Autism Spectrum Disorder. Strictly speaking, I’ve been diagnosed as having Aspergers, but (for Canada and the US, at least) that diagnosis is going to be melded with ASD as of May, with the publication of DSM V. Having ASD, and the job I do at the moment (see First Post), is why reading the blogs I mentioned above inspired me to start one of my own about my life in general.

Back in October, I got my driver’s license (as opposed to driving permit for learners) – after twenty years of effort and trying. A lot of thanks is due to my instructor, who has dealt with people with ASD before, and so knew how to teach me for the test (I was able to drive before, just not pass the test, due to anxiety and problems with multi-tasking).

I’m a fanatic writer of SF and Fantasy, both fanfiction and original, and I devour books as well.

I love animals, in particular cats, and I have a fascination with wolves, wild cats (including the big cats), orcas, and the physiology of cephalopods.

I love the wilderness – though I don’t really have the endurance (at the moment, at least) to go hiking or camping out.

And, rather importantly, I’m not someone who thinks about political correctness when it comes to vocabulary. I use what seems right when it seems right. That will include calling myself a person with ASD, or an Autistic, or an Aspie. I’m me; I can call myself what I want.

So, enough about me. Go read my posts – they’re more informative!

2 replies on “Let’s Talk About: Storybooks – Face-blindness vs. Bullies”

Whoof. All of this would have been helpful when I was younger. Most of what I got as a kid was “well, who hit you?” without any advice on how to identify a person.
Shoes and clothes, definitely, would have been a big help. When people swirl through your perceptions as a mass of disconnected pieces, the simple information that you should try to focus on one identifying factor would have narrowed an impossible task down to something possibly doable.
Think about it. Identify a person? Everyone expects you to ID the gestalt of features, voice, etc. And that’s just too much information to process. It’s – well, it’s combinatorial math.

Suppose you have twenty classmates. If you’re processing everything in pieces, then that means you see 20 different pairs of eyes, 20 different hair colors, voices, noses, mannerisms…. that’s 20 to the 5th power possible combinations, right there. Brain overload. Whiteout. Pick one person out of that? Pardon me while I laugh hysterically.

Identify the 20 different pairs of shoes in your class. This is doable.

I’m quite glad you think it seems doable. That’s exactly what I’m looking for!

And yes, excellent point about the narrowing down to one thing to identify them. Yay!

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