Does your gifted kid have synesthesia?

Synesthesia is a completely different way of thinking. Instead of simply seeing something in their minds, these gifted kids experience a crossing of their senses. They may smell music, for example, or hear colors. This form of giftedness stimulates one sense that is seemingly unrelated to another in a non-gifted kid. Do your children have synesthesia? Here are some signs to look for:

Listening to music while they work
While a regular child may find music distracting while trying to do their homework, syn​esthetes can often get into a flow state while hearing melodies and sounds. These gifted kids may listen to songs without words in any genre, from classical to dubstep​, and find that it increases their productivity. 

Not knowing they're different
A study published in Science Direct noted that syn​esthetes tend to not know that they think differently. Because they've had this conjoining of the senses for their whole lives, they don't realize others don't process stimuli in the same way. 

Everything relates to colors
Syn​esthetically gifted children may see a black number six or white letter "a" and perceive it to be an entirely different hue. This is not only true of one specific numeral or letter; instead, every individual number or letter has its own corresponding color. You can show your kids flashcards with black letters, for example, and if they have synesthesia they will tell you they see a hue that is entirely different than what you can see. 

Their responses stay the same 
Play a piece of music for your gifted kids. Ask them to write down what they see while they listen. Repeat this activity a week later. A child who has synesthesia will see the same thing they did the first time when they listen again in the future. This may mean visions of changing colors or possibly even noticing specific words or letters that stand out in the lyrics. When someone without synesthesia listens to a song they likely won't have the same answer from one week to the next regarding what they see. The lyrics change meaning based on the listener's circumstances. This won't be true, however, for a gifted child who has synesthesia. 

Synesthetes are particularly interested in creative endeavors like drawing, painting or playing music. Parents can encourage them to undertake these activities as their special abilities may make them prone to success in their chosen artistic field. 

One Response to Does your gifted kid have synesthesia?

  1. Susie B September 9, 2016 at 1:21 am #

    Synestheits don’t actually ‘see’ or perceive a black six as a different hue! Rather, every letter, word & number has a specific color & shade in their mind’s eye (very different from actually seeing a different color which is def not the case even though what they see is overridden by the stronger color of their mind’s eye)- from their earliest days and for life. If you show them a black six, a black six is what they see. But they will be mildly annoyed because for them a six may always be brown in their head. Colored times table charts would not help a synstheit who would already have colors for each number in their head. Incidentally, the color comination eg a red 7 x a green 9 with a product of 63 (black 6 pinky 3) is cemented in their brain the first time they say it & easily recalled later as the color combo brings it back to mind instantly). Didn’t know I was different until my nephew was born & I asked my (twin!) sister if he’d told her his color for ‘Mummy’ (forest green for me) yet and she looked at me as if I was crazy. Highly amused to hear it’s related to giftedness, though simply can’t fathom how people do maths without colors for numbers, or remember & enjoy poetry or people’s names without colors for all words/letters/names. Surely everyone is born with & has synesthesia initially but only some retain it??

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