SYNESTHESIA Special Learning Disability Denise Duquette EDS543 Fact Sheet Presentation IDEA and Synesthesia No specific definition is given on the IDEA website in regards to Synesthesia. Many researches are now saying that this is not put in a special learning disability category although it does involve the sensory organs of the brain and can be hereditary, accident induced or drug induced. According to the IDEA websites the Regulations followed to convey a special learning disability are as follows: 1. Must not require the use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement whether a child has a specific learning disability, as defined in 34 CFR 300.8 (c)(10); 2. Must permit the use of a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based interventions; 3. May permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a child has specific learning disability, as defined in 34 CFR 300.8 (c)(10). (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.) Synesthesia Defined “Synesthesia is a perceptual condition of mixed sensations: a stimulus in one sensory modality (e.g. hearing) involuntarily elicits a sensation/experience in another modality (e.g. vision)” (David Eagleman, 2012). “synesthesia proper in which stimuli to a sensory input will also trigger sensations in one or more other sensory modes”(Sean A. Day, 2012). “synesthesia cognitive (category synesthesia) involves synesthetic additions to culture-bound cognitive catergorizational systems ((Sean A. Day, 2012). Types of Synesthesia Grapheme to Color Synesthesia: association of letters/numbers to a particular color. Sound to Color Synesthesia: association of a particular sound to visualization of color(s). Number Form Synesthesia: associated with a mental map of numbers. Personification: associates order sequences with various personalities. Lexical to Gustatory Synesthesia: associates taste with certain words. Over 60 forms of the condition have been reported Characteristics of Synesthesia Irregular Sensory Experiences Consistent Reactionary Triggers Involuntary and automatic perception Simple and objective sensations Diagnosis There is no one standard test to perform. Many have been tried but are not consistent as colors/numbers vary per individual. Blood tests cannot distinguish who has synesthesia. Brain Scans do not detect synesthesia. The only way to know if someone has synesthesia is to go by the patient’s report of their symptoms, which are misdiagnosed or misunderstood. Prevalence & Familiarity 1 in 23 individuals in the general population hold some form of synesthesia. Tend to be very creative; many hold some form of career in arts (which does include science). Hereditary Tend to be female. Some researchers feel that babies are only born with one sense and acquire the rest during neonatal stages they learn the other senses which link to each other. (Tiffany Ebner, n.d.) Etiology of Synesthesia Developmental According to Ferrinne Spector & Daphne Maurer (2009), “synesthesia appears to represent one that typical developmental mechanisms can play out by magnifying connections present in early life that are pruned and/or inhibited during development but persist in muted form in all adults. As such, the study of synesthesia provides valuable insights into the nature of intersensory development” (para. 1). Acquired This particular type is associated with brain damage leading from a stroke, tumor and/or accidental. Pharmacological This happens when some particular drug has been introduced to the body whether they are prescription or street drugs. Senses involved with Synesthesia Testing Regular Synesthesia Educational Approaches Synesthesia has many cognitive areas that are affected: perception, attention, language, memory, emotion and consciousness. Mnemonic techniques can be an additional way to help a student who has Synesthesia cope with learning. By teaching these techniques the student(s) will not feel that they have the disorder/condition and feel more accepted with their classmates. Number/color coding specific information within their notes. Understanding the particular concept of Synesthesia is one way of gaining the ability of what the student is going through. Connect with the student(s) in order to find out what works best for them, they may be able to help the other students in the classroom. Educational Approaches Preplanning Mnemonic techniques: (displaying these around the room can help the students manage how to absorb the material in regards to Synesthesia). Acronym Acrostic Rhyme Keys Loci Method Keyword Method Image-name technique Chaining Educational Approaches Implementing Number/color coding their notes After knowing what type of synesthesia the student possesses the teacher can sit down and help to code their notes with their particular synesthesia. Spending the extra time to understand and help the student adjust will help them achieve a positive learning experience. Educational Approaches Alternatives Meeting with the student(s) teacher(s), parents and other school resources to get a better understanding of how the student(s) are progressing to see if additional help is needed to accommodate the student(s) learning ability. Providing extra time for the student(s) to help them study and learn the material. Creating teams within the classroom to implement other techniques that may be helping to learning the material. Learning and Synesthesia Positives Visual vivid imagery Mental aid in learning Taste sounds See music Smell words Negatives Can have an affect on everyday life depending on certain situations including friendships, relationships, career, location, clothing and other material objects surrounding the person. Many people do not understand synesthesia and cannot relate to how things are perceived. Current Issues and Trends Synesthesia is thought to be rare. Synesthesia is thought to be genetic (dominant gene- x) Females are more common Thought to be intelligent. Either left-handed or ambidextrous Confuse left and right No sense of direction Good memory from visualizing colors to match material 15% have ADD/ADHD More likely to have neurological abnormalities (dyslexia, perfectionist traits, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, autism, eidetic memory, etc) (Sarah, n.d.). References Brogaard, B. (n.d.) Synaesthesia Research Team (SRT). Retrieved from http://sites.google.com/site/synesthesiaresearchteam/. Eagleman, D. (2012). The Synesthesia Battery. Retrieved from http://synesthete.org/. Ebner, T. (n.d.). Synesthesia. Retrieved from http://www.synaesthesia.com/en/information/stateof-science/synasthesi-general/. Gross, V. (n.d.). The Synesthesia Project. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/synesthesia/index.html. Learning Standards for NLA. (2011). NewYork State Education Dept. Retrieved from http://www.nysed.gov/. Naropa University. (n.d.). Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Retrieved from http://www.naropa.edu/consciousness/synesthesia.cfm. Sarah. (n.d.). Synesthesia Index. Retrieved from http://synaesthesia.fws1.com. Spector, F. & Maurer, D. (2009). Synesthesia: a new approach to understanding the development of perception. Developmental Psychology 45(1). pp. 175-189. The Synesthesia Community. (n.d.). Synesthesia Test. Retrieved from http://www.synesthesiatest.org/. U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from http://idea.ed.gov. Viklund, A. (n.d.). Neuroanthropology. Retrieved from http://neuronanthropology.net.