a quick thought on dyslexia

While copying some text and numbers from a printed page into a Word document (and getting a few of the words and numbers mixed up along the way), it made me think about dyslexia in relation to synesthesia.

I don’t have dyslexia myself (I think my brain was just refusing to work today) but I wonder if there are any synaesthetes – I’m talking about grapheme-colour synaesthetes mainly – who are also dyslexic. There must be some out there, and if so, how do they experience colours in response to letters and words? Is there a difference compared to how a non-dyslexic synaesthesia would see them?

According to Dyslexia Action, Dyslexic people usually find it difficult to analyse and work with the sounds of spoken words, and many have difficulties with short-term memory, sequencing and organisation. This means that it is more difficult for them to learn how spoken sounds map onto letters, which affects the ability to spell and the ability to decode or ‘sound out’ words.

If synaesthesia is combined with dyslexia, does it make it even harder to process language? Do the colours conflict with the letters in the words? Or alternatively, can the synaesthesia help with spelling?

These are questions I’ll never find the answers to unless I can find a dyslexic synaesthete, but I thought I’d write down my thoughts on it anyway.

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40 Responses to a quick thought on dyslexia

  1. Daniel Van Gent says:

    I have experienced since my teens bursts of color with certain types of music. I also “see” every word when people are talking within ear shot or directly to me. It is like reading a script whne someone is talking. This also occurs whne I speak audibly.

    I had wondered about this, but now I believe it is technically Synaesthesia since both hearing and “sight” are involved. Some times, I have difficulty “erasing” the text from a sentnence that “hangs” in the “air!”

    Perhaps this “condition” facilitate learning or memory since, in this case, two senses (hearing and visual) are involved in speech communications.

    I might expect that more persons have this particular variant of Synaesthesia, but are probably not aware of it.

    By-the-way, I was diagnosed as dyslexic in elementary school (4th grade).

    Daniel Van Gent

  2. Sarah Young says:

    I am a dyslexic and i experience many things in colour for example people. All people are catergorised into coloured groups. These sometimes change but not often. i also experience letters and numbers in colour and letters and numbers associated with different emotions.

    I see this in my head but also sometimes like out in front of me. i find in relation to spelling the colours just cause more confusion as i have trouble with visual sensitivity (ie movement of words on the page, patterns in the text) i don’t always see the colours when reading but if i am writting (thinking about words) i see them in colour.

    Sarah Young

  3. Amy Rice says:

    Hi,
    I am very interested by your comments here. I am currently in the last year of a psychology degree and am wanting to do a study on synesthesia and dyslexia and whether it impairs or improves performance. Would you suggest anything for me to look at or anybody to contact? please email me on 368795@swan.ac.uk.
    Thanks
    Amy Rice

  4. Mary G says:

    Dear Researcher,

    My daughter, aged 11 is dyslexic and has grapheme-colour synesthesia. The colors negatively affect her ability to read and to spell, since some of the letters have the same color. E and U are both green, for example. She also tends to group the colors and hence inserts letters into words because she thinks their colors “go together”. After working with a reading specialist and homeschooling for these past 7 years, it just dawned on me today that the synesthesia dimension of her reading is something to research. I would be most grateful for any insights you’ve gained in your research, and offer any help we can give.

    Thanks!

    Mary G.

    • Angela Eaton says:

      I realize that your post is from 2008, but I thought by chance maybe I could still reach you. I’ve discovered by daughter also has multiple forms of synesthesia, including grapheme-color synesthesia. I’m also on a hunch that she may have some dyslexia also.

      I would love to know where your journey took you with your daughter. The problem we have right now is that my daughter can’t seem to read colored text, which is a big problem in the classroom with the dry erase markers.

      My Best,

      Angela
      Austin, TX

      • Caroline T says:

        I know I’m not the one who was asked, but I am a grapheme color synesthete who has had many a problem with dry erase markers. When I first realized I was synesthetic, I couldn’t deal with how wrong the words felt when they were written in all green, or all red, but I couldn’t run out of the room, so I found a couple of ways to cope. If possible, I would try and justify the colors, for example, if my science teacher whom I felt was purple wrote in green marker, I would tell myself that it was because science is green, and all of a sudden it wasn’t so bothersome. If that didn’t work, I might tell myself that it was because the kid next to me was wearing green, or some such reason that didn’t really make sense, but made myself feel better so I could focus again.
        I’ve no idea if this will help, but I hope it does. Good luck to your daughter!

  5. Camille S. says:

    I have known about synesthesia for a while, as well as dyslexia. While I am not sure if there are any other synesthetes in my family, I do know that there are several dyslexics, on both sides. I myself am left-handed, as well as left-bodied, in that everything I do tends to be from the left side (I step first with my left foot forward, my left eye, when the right one is closed, is closer to what I see when both are open [i.e. it is the dominant one], there are some things that I really cannot do right-handed, or it is only with great difficulty).

    Synesthesia for me is colors and color combinations, textures and movement in music, as well as seeing colors for each instrument played. As far as I am currently aware, my dyslexia is not necessarily with English, but I have noticed it to be very difficult to learn a foreign language (especially if they use the same letters as English does[I have taken courses in German and Hebrew, but Hebrew was a lot easier for me]) and have quite a problem with math. I can sight-read music well enough, but it is difficult for me to get the mood from a piece by seeing it only (even if I’ve played it many many times). I’ve even noticed that if the composer changes a mood too much (either with key signature changes, or minor to major in sound, temp, or switching up a repetitive pattern), I become very disoriented and plod through it like many dyslexics do with reading.

    It’s a little new to me, this concept of both, so I’m not exactly sure how much of it is true or not. The reason why I am curious, however, is to see if there is any way that I can use one ability to help the other, or vice versa. OR, is this something I just have to live with? Only time will tell.

    Great site, keep it up!

    Camille S.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Hi. I have seen colours in words and sounds for as long as I can remember and thought nothing of it – just assuming everyone experinced the world that way. I only discovered this had a name a few years ago – and I started searching the web for more information (and at that time, there was very little, and most of that appeared to be research in progress by people who had heard of the phenomena, but did not appear to be synaesthetes themselves which I found very irritating!) I see colours in both heard and seen words and letters, but I think I must have learned to ‘tune out’ the colours to avoid overlaod when I was quite young. When I was studying for my A levels, my English lecturer said that he thought I was slightly dyslexic, but I learnt to cope with those areas that gave me problems. As I got older I found that I had what was commonly reffered to as ‘colour blindness’. I ignored this as I felt I could see colours perfectly well and only really had problms with some particual shades of blue/green and beige.grey tones. Until an optician recently gave me an enhanced colour vision test and told me that I did actually have some slight colour perception problems. At least this explained why I could never rember anything that was colour coded, and why I could never shoose the correct key if they were linked to locks by a colour code! It seemed to me tahtmy problems were more connected to actually remembering the right colour than seeing it in the first place! A few years ago, I became a trainer for adults in the workplace and from there did a degree in Professional Training and Development. Though research for my degree I realised that it was liekly that there would be some link between synaesthesia and dyslexia and started trying to get people interested in research connected to this – but with no luck so far. Tonight I’ve just watched ‘Can’t read, Can’t write’ on Channel 4, and have trawled the web once more. How things have changed! A free on line test has confirmed that I do show signs of dyslexia, and there are actually sites now linking dyslexia and synaesthesia! During the programme, one of the advert used streams of colour shooting towards the front of the screen, all carrying words. Unfortuantely I realised that for someone with synaesthesia, they would probably see the colours and miss the words unless the colours ‘fitted; the words – then we get into the whole phoneme / graphene discussion ……. Having read the threads above I was interested to see the ‘right handed/;eft handed’ debate crop up again – especially as I am predominantly right handed, use my left hand for certain activites, and happily swap hands for convenience for others. Will definately be saving this page to see what else comes up!

  7. Karen McAllister says:

    Hi all!

    Very interested in the above – especially what you said Amy and would love to know how you got on with your project last year. I am just starting my final year project in Trinity College Dublin and also want to look at the prevelance of dyslexia with synaesthesia in a sample population of each condition. I think ‘dyslexia’ is such a broad term and difficulties vary widely from person to person. There may be something in looking at a subtype of dyslexia (if they exist) which may be related to a subtype of synaesthesia (probably colour-grapheme). Problem is trying to identify subtypes of dyslexa. Any feedback welcome and would be happy to update on findings of my project.
    Cheers,

    Karen

  8. Asha says:

    I am 14 years old, and I have had both synesthesia and dyslexia for as long as I can remember. It was extremely hard for me learning how to read, because I had my own way of seeing the letters and words. Sometimes I would ask myself “does the teacher want me to give my opinion of the number or letter, or say it how she wants me to think of it?” For example, the number 4 is blue for me. When I think of 4 I always think of a tall person wearing a blue shirt. This person is very friendly, which is why 4 is my favorite number. Of course a teacher would want me to see it differently, as numbers just being numbers. If I ever pointed to a star and said “that looks like 7,” people would be very confused, but it works in my mind.

    • Lori Nelson says:

      Hi Asha,

      I know what you mean! When I was a kid, I associated the kids at my school with colors (Greg was a green, Regan was an orange, Carl was a blue, etc.) Numbers and letters each had their own color, and feeling, as well. It was very frustrating in school for me as each letter had it’s own color, and feeling, and when I had to add them up to make words, the combinations were so complex. When the other kids would read, I thought they were geniuses! I tried explaining it to my teachers, who just brushed it off, and pushed forward to make me read. I tried to explain it to my mother, and she called the school, and they explained that the students are separated into different reading groups by color… I became extremely frustrated at this time, when I was six years old, because no one seemed to understand…

      I didn’t learn how to read until I was eight when I went to a school for children with disabilities. Eventually, for the most part, when I read, the associations stopped, and I was able to grasp the simple sound/letter association that most other students do….

      Now, every once in a while, I get a color association, but it would take me a very long time to figure out what colors different people, number, and letters really are.

      I think it’s a shame that I lost touch with this gift.

      Now, that I am a 31 year old educator, I try not to balk at the experiences that my students have. I truly believe that people with synestesthesia are gifted and understand the vibrations within colors, numbers, letters, sounds, and objects – and their associations to each other.

      I think that you should keep a journal and write down the different associations. Sometimes (as with people) the colors will change because the people change. Other times, the colors will change because you change.

      I know what you mean about four being a blue. Is seven a green? I forget…

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  10. Mike Caton says:

    First of all, I would encourage all synesthetes to make themselves available for scientific research whenever you can find the time. I know people are busy, but there just aren’t enough of you guys to go around and it’s really helping science understand the way the human brain works. There’s even a group now:

    http://www.synesthesia.info/

    I ran across this page because I had expected a negative correlation between dyslexia and synasthesia, and it seems if anything the opposite is the case. The theory was that all language-using humans (the vast majority) are synesthetic with respect to meaning and sound. That is to say, if you speak English (especially as a first language) then you can’t hear the word “cat” and not think of a furry creature with whiskers that likes tuna, exactly like a synesthetic who sees 5’s as blue can’t voluntarily decide to suddenly stop seeing the colors. This extends into written language too – if you read Roman characters, you can’t look at “A” and not think of the letter. The twist here is that typically “meaning” is not considered part of our sense experience, although I imagine most people would agree that a person hearing a language they don’t understand is having a different experience than a person hearing a language they do understand.

    So in this sense, synesthetes just go one step further in connecting senses to each other, and connect color and graphemes, or other sense elements. Consequently on the face of things you might expect that because synesthetes have extra cross-talk between senses that most other people don’t have, that they’d have less problems connecting meaning to sounds and written characters (i.e. dyslexia) but at first blush the opposite appears to be true. The mystery deepens. Again, volunteering for research at your local universities really makes a difference to science and medicine.

  11. Katy says:

    Hi all,
    I have both. I have visual dyslexia so I wear green glasses when reading text on white paper. Otherwise the text and white paper flash so I can’t read it. But I also have map synasthesia, where I have surtain colours for numbers, and I see the months wierdly.. The names of the months are in boxes, and they go round in a semi circle. I have different angled views of it, depending on what month it is. I also have the same with days of the week. Monday to friday (the names in boxes) line up, and saturday and sunday are on top.
    Hope this helps !

    • Maggie says:

      Hmm…. this question always puzzeled me. If you have colored months and days, do see the whole day in that certin color, or is the word that color?

  12. Kaleidescope says:

    i am dyslexic and i have synasthesia. I have since i was a little girl. Sometimes i cant spell easy words like ov or weerd. but my friends dont seem to care. Most of the time, i like to listen to different colors or watch different songs. it is difficult durring class, but my teachers are so gifing that it doesnt seem to matter. Also i have been banned from eating two or more colored canyes because it confuses my senses worse. I hope i could help! -K

  13. jezik says:

    My dyslexia is helped by my synasthesia. Mine is limited to sentence structure, some numbers and left/right. I can not see things/make things flat in my mind (not in 3D.) I only imagine in 3D.
    I have to concentrate longer on things of this nature I have not learned through intense repetition, and even then sometimes. Stress effects this.

  14. Laura says:

    Hi, i have both dyslexia and grapheme synesthesia…because i never had it any other way i can’t exactly say if it made it harder. All i can say, is i had to work so hard!!!!! i mean extremely, all i wanted to be was normal….When we found out i had dyslexia we had absolutely no idea that i also had synesthesia …i always thought perceiving letters…as colors was normal. When we did learn of this i was already reading and writing above level. In some ways having synesthesia helps memorize but sometimes it is tricky like learning multiple languages is difficult.

  15. Marilyn Russell says:

    My grand daughter, now 16, “was” dyslexic until she was about twelve. She had worked with a reading tutor intensively since she was about four. At around 12, she began to read, and now is a capable, avid reader. At around 14, she “happened” to mentioned the colors that got in the way when she was younger and trying to read. She did not realize that others did not see colors that interfered with the letters and words, but thought, privately, that she was dumb. (She has never been “dumb”) I asked her how she learned to read the words, and she said “Ruth (the tutor) taught me to focus.” I asked, Did Ruth know about the colors? And she said no, I never thought to tell her about them. Then, I asked, how does “focus” help? She said, mysteriously to me, when I focus, I push down the colors. Push them where? I asked. I don’t know, just down. Do the colors ever interfere anymore? Yes, if I’m reading something boring or really hard, I have to focus extra hard because the colors can get in the way.
    Can others relate to this?

  16. Nik says:

    Hi there. I have always suspected I have dyslexia but I’m not really positive That I do. My parents may have know but didn’t want to tell me. I’m 22 and just found out what synaesthesia is and that, relating Sounds with seemingly physical and sometimes intense Feelings is not normal. I also have at least one physical feeling that I can hear.

    When I read I look at each word like a code. I see the whole word at once. Randomly ordered segments of two to three letters. If I look directly at the fist letter, I know what that letter is, but if I look at the whole word, witch feels most natural, I don’t always know what the first letter is. The more I have seen each code, the quicker I can solve it. I’m not a terrible reader but new words, short or long, take me a while. When I am writing I add an extra letter to words that I Know How to spell, like that letter just feels it should be there so strongly that I put it there, then later have to cross it out. Although I have great hand eye coordination, I am not good with a keyboard.

    Most Sounds which are Felt in my spine are painful and/or unpleasant. These sounds are first felt in my upper spinal chord then electrically travels through the rest of my body including my brain. Some of these sounds include paper rubbing paper, most pencil type utensils against paper (not crayons and some markers), the squeak of a knife against a plate… This feeling usually resonates after the noise stops.

    Certain transitions between certain pitches are felt in my upper abdomen or behind my atoms apple. The feeling in my Abdomen starts with a varying, vibration just behind my upper abs sometimes growing enough to make my whole stomach glow (not visually). A quite enlightening feeling. The feeling behind my Atoms Apple is sour and dry, like the feeling you get when you are about to cry. Surprising by the description, but this is not usually a bad feeling.

    I hope this information helps anyone. If you experience anything like this please let me know. I’d like to know more about

    • Marie says:

      When I see a head of lettuce or hear it crack and break, my throat feels funky and my tongue wants to jump into the back of my throat. Its kinda like a small gagging. This doesnt happen when a salad is given to me. Just a head of lettuce. Even the mention of it makex it happen. Typing about it isnt very thrilling either:)

  17. Marie says:

    Hi everyone,
    Though I am not diagnosed, I believe I am dyslexic. Research as an adult leads me to this (Please excuse any spelling errors, I am typing on a silly ipod as well as avoiding spell correct. )
    For as long as I can remember I have seen mostly everything in color. Peoples names, the alphabet, digits, days & months. This goofed me up in school as much as dyslexia did. Hearing teachers speak quickly, esp if they had an accent, was just mud to me. All the colors of all the words were so distracting that I didnt even know how to concentrate. And holy moly did math suck. The digits being colored as well as characters made algebra just evil. I was tested in highschool for sped education. They found I wasnt needing special education. Far from it. I was very smart but didnt know it because no one can teach me the way I learned. Taking tests was terrible! You would think multiple choice would be a dream. But I screwed up because of my constant over correction for the answer. I prefered essay questions because I could explain myself. In college I even took to writing postive and negative signs over the questions postive and negative parts to eventually figure out what they wanted from me. Now as an adult I am more comfortable with all this. I work around my dyslexia by going slower and concentrating. I cant have too much pressure or I screw up. I have embraced the “color thing” as I put it and incorporated it into my art life. I have been an artist longer than I have been able to read. So now finally I put it out there. I didnt want to be a weirdo anymore. Growing up everyone would ask me what color they were, and what color the day was or a random word… Now I have found there is actually a name for it, and many people have it, and Im not a weirdo anymore!
    This has been quite a rant. I am not a writer! Normally it would all be organized in colored bubbles first, hee.
    I remember as a child I just thought I was stupid. No one, not even my parents had any idea I was thinking the way I did. As a teen, my family became aware. Thats when I became a weirdo intsead of an underachiever. It feels really nice to know Im neither…

  18. Madi says:

    Hi! I’m a teen with dyslexia (mainly with numbers and vowels) and synesthesia. As a contrast to many of the comments above, my synesthesia actually HELPED with my dyslexia. As a child, I was aware that I was awful at spelling and computation. I would constantly get my vowels mixed up (for example, I would spell “environment” “enverinmont”), and on my standardized tests, my reading computation, grammar, and data analysis was always 96% or above, but my spelling and math computation in the 50% or below. Since I first learned my ABCs, I never thought anything of this. I simply thought it was normal- that A was simply red and everyone saw it this way. But when in the 5th grade I read a children’s book called “A Mango Shaped Space” (I highly recommend this book to any young person trying to deal with their synesthesia), it was brought to my attention that I had a grapheme-color synesthesia. Instead of this being a negative thing, it became very positive. With dyslexia, I would constantly mix up addresses. For example, I would think the address “2756” was “7526”. Yet, I harnessed my synesthesia, and began to memorize the color sequences. “2756” was now “turquoise, purple, mango-orange, cherry-red”. I found the rainbows in my head a lot easier to remember. The mixed up words were a certain color when in the correct order, so my spelling improved drastically. Now, instead of focusing on numbers and words, I have trained myself to memorize the colors- ultimately helping me deal with my dyslexia! In fact, synesthesia has helped me so much, I have received straight As in high school! Perhaps this strategy will help some of you- it really helped me! 🙂

    • Stephanie Guimond says:

      Dear Madi,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience! (I realise that I am 4 years late in writing this!)
      I am the mother of a 7 year old dyslexic synaesthete . Since finding out about her synaesthesia (only a few months ago) I have been convinced that it could help her with her spelling. In the short period we have been using her colour-code to support her spelling, we have had amazing results! Hearing about your own experience confirms to me that I am definitely onto something important. Thank you!!
      Stephanie

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  20. Melissa J. Newman says:

    To all of you that have and hopefully will continue to add to this site, I just want to say THANK YOU!!! I am an elementary special education teacher and have been searching the internet for information about the correlation between dyslexia and synesthesia. I’ve been reading articles and a couple a books but when all of you talk about your experiences and what may help, I can’t help but think….how much more information can I compile to help students that I’m in daily contact with? My school year is coming to an end in 1 1/2 weeks and I just discovered that a student in my school has been diagnosed with dyslexia and on top of that, discovered that this student sees letters and numbers in color!!! No wonder this child has such a horrific time with reading and word problems and numbers…added to the diagnosis of ADHD. Hopefully, this summer I can work on ways to help this student learn….I will check back frequently to see if anyone has more “teaching tips” and how they see the letters and numbers. I’m going to give my email, which I have NEVER done before because I am desperate to give these wonderfully gifted students a chance to understand.

    Thanks again!
    Melissa
    hbnewman5@gmail.com

    • kengsqueen says:

      My 7yr old grandson whom I have raised since the age of 2 is in the process of being diagnosed with dyslexia. He is a wonderful child at home however is going through a difficult time in school. He enjoys being read to, but sadly, seems almost frightened when called upon to read. I have been working with him on learning to memorize the arrangements of letters and relating them to sounds i.e., “ould”, “ea”, “ell” as opposed to the traditional method of teaching “a,e,i,o,u and sometimes y” which for him is too abstract. he is getting better but I wonder since my brother is a synesthet, could he be struggling with this as well? I should also mention he is ambidextrous and frequently writes in mirror image and when asked to spell aloud frequently spells out words in reverse order.
      Is there a way I can test him myself to find out if he has synesthesia as well?

      I appreciate any guidance you can provide.

      • Stephanie Guimond says:

        Hello. I realise that you probably have already found what you were looking for as my reply comes a few months late but just in case: the Battery Test on http://www.synesthete.org is probably the best accessible test there is to find out if you have synesthesia. My 7 year old daughter took it. She is dyslexic and synaesthete. Even though the two conditions make learning more challenging at times (especially in the conventional education system) and require much more work and commitment, they also make her a very interesting, intriguing, creative little being. It makes her life (and mine) more colourful (literally!) and we wouldn’t want to get rid of either. She has a most exciting brain and I suspect your grandson does too. Good luck with it all. I know it can be frustrating at time but success is just around the corner if you persevere!

  21. Marissa says:

    I have both if you ever want to know more about how it is for my you can email me!!

  22. swhhaCJ says:

    Hi. I am 19, and I for certain have color-grapheme synaesthesia.

    I have recently been more open about my reading focus difficulties since I have started college, and the work load has been more/I have had to *read* more. In younger schools, I have always just ‘gotten away with’ whatever. I always found unique ways to get out of reading.

    In college, you can’t get out of reading. At least, I can’t. I survived a semester and a half so far by having my fiance (who just left me) read the assignments to me. Now I have no one to read the assignments to me, and the work has become more extensive, anyway.

    I wrote about my reading difficulties to one of my college professors, and she said I have dyslexia (she also has dyslexia). I also described it to my cousin who is a medical student and he said I also likely have dyslexia.

    I looked it up, and found this: http://www.dyslexia.com/library/symptoms.htm

    I believe I do have dyslexia.

    Having color-grapheme synaesthesia I believe helps me in spelling and memorizing, which normally dyslexics have trouble with.

    I am exploring dyslexia and trying to figure out how to get through life this way.

    • Get officially tested for Dyslexia so that you can get help in the Learning Disability Office at University. Also, have the tester, when he meets with you about the results, work out a IEP plan. Its a plan that spells out your specific needs to do well in school. This could qualify you for all of your test to be taken aurally. You could also get more time to take your tests in. Its nearly impossible to get a good note take, but in your care, recording the lectures may help. The IEP plan should say that you need to record lectures, so that professors can’t deny you this option, if you want it. Lastly, I highly recommend going to a tutoring center that specializes in treating dyslexics and other learning disabilities, as they can help.
      Best Wishes! From someone with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mild Dyslexia who managed to graduate from University with a degree in Social Science.

  23. jfjfj says:

    I have grapheme-color synesthesia and I think I don’t have dyslexia per se because I’m actually a whiz with analyzing sounds/phonemes/spellings/etc. (naturally and not because I’m studying linguistics or anything), but I do often feel like the associations my brain makes confuse me while I read, making me read words as other words, automatically building words out of letters coming from six different words (contained in three different lines of text) out of order, switching words, and other strange phenomena. I wonder if this could be considered a type of dyslexia since it really has discouraged me from reading as much since it’s so laborious. But I don’t want to make it sound like it’s as bad as the dyslexia I usually hear about, especially because I really am good at writing and other things that aren’t typical of dyslexic people.

  24. kengsqueen says:

    My 7yr old grandson whom I have raised since the age of 2 is in the process of being diagnosed with dyslexia. He is a wonderful child at home however is going through a difficult time in school. He enjoys being read to, but sadly, seems almost frightened when called upon to read. I have been working with him on learning to memorize the arrangements of letters and relating them to sounds i.e., “ould”, “ea”, “ell” as opposed to the traditional method of teaching “a,e,i,o,u and sometimes y” which for him is too abstract. he is getting better but I wonder since my brother is a synesthet, could he be struggling with this as well? I should also mention he is ambidextrous and frequently writes in mirror image and when asked to spell aloud frequently spells out words in reverse order.
    Is there a way I can test him myself to find out if he has synesthesia as well?

    I appreciate any guidance you can provide.

  25. Sydney S says:

    I have both synesthesia and dyslexia. I didn’t know I had synesthesia until someone pointed it out to me. Having both doesn’t help but it doesn’t hurt until other people get involved. This one time I was in math and was having a hard time understanding something that had a lot of individual letters in it like x y z etc. eveything was getting confusing because of my dyslexia so much teacher thought it might help to color coordinate letters but she didn’t use the right colors for those letters and it just made it much worse and I got very frustrated.

    • wvmelissa3 says:

      Dear Sydney,

      I hope you told your teacher that the colors she chose for the letters made you even more frustrated. Maybe she could change the colors of the letter to YOUR colors. Maybe that’ll help. Let me know.

      Melissa Newman

      On Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 11:55 PM, COLOURFULanguage – synaesthesia wrote:

      > Sydney S commented: “I have both synesthesia and dyslexia. I didn’t know I > had synesthesia until someone pointed it out to me. Having both doesn’t > help but it doesn’t hurt until other people get involved. This one time I > was in math and was having a hard time understanding so” >

  26. Charlotte Merrion says:

    I have both synaesthesia and dyslexia but also alice and wonderland syndrome when im tired. When I listen to music I taste colours, see emotions and feel sounds. I really feel like I taste people’s characters and colours. When I was little My dyslexic teacher taught the letters of the alphabet as if they were different people with faces and voices. I learnt words as if these people were talking to each other creating sound and colour etc. When I hear a word it can feel hot or cold, I don’t just see one colour, it tends to be a moving cloud of changing colours. I think the synasesua is probably quite common in dyslexics, at least it is in my family. It is easier to remember words when they have music, colour, taste and smells. It certainly helps when you are listening to language. I found it helpful to pick up different languages.
    I didn’t get help with my maths. I often don’t see much colour when I look at numbers. The numbers all blur together and make a white noise sound sending me to sleep. I find it very hard to focus on numbers. They don’t have voices and tend to taste quite boring. I dift off with other colours and sounds in the room.

    My synaesthesia can also make reading harder. I often forget what I’m reading because I get distracted by the colours and tastes and go off on a tangent. My eyes sometimes feel like they are hooked on the textured words sticking out of the page like a piece of cotton stuck on a hook.
    To read effectively I really have to focus and push the colours out the way with my head, focussing on each word. While reading a good book to myself I can sometimes get myself into the story, like I’m dreaming the story and actually experiencing the smells noises and sounds in the story. I’m visualising the story as if I’m really there. This is hard but once I’m there I am not so easily distracted.

    For some reason when im really tired I have more dyslexic visual disturbances especially while reading black and white text, for instance on my phone at night. The text becomes 3D, it comes out the page at me and becomes textured like I can feel it with my fingers but it’s happening in my head like a dream. At the same time I feel like the texture is in my mouth and it has a strange taste, and noise which sends me off in a dream. Colours all around. It’s hard to focus on what your reading as there is so much going on which can be annoying but at the same time I really do enjoy it. Sometimes I really dift off with the noises and tastes. It’s hard to explain but Sometimes when I go into this hypnotic state I can loose my sense of spacial awareness also. My head , mouth and hands feel huge and swollen like I don’t fit in the room and in the next heart beat im so tiny I’m drowning in a huge pillow in a huge echoey room, then I’m big again ..big small big small. I’m not sure if you’ll understand but this is how my little brain functions 🙂

  27. Carl says:

    I was diagnosed with dyslexia 2 years ago I was a junior in high school. Perviously I was diagnosed with ADHD and dysgraphia but due to being “to smart” according to my teachers in elementary I could not recive help for it an got put in classes with the general education group. Last year I was diagnosed with misophonia and that’s the first time I ever heard of synestisa so naturally I went home to look it up and it turns out I have 4 types of synestisa Tempe – color, grapheme – color, misophonia, music – color. And as for the colors with te dyslexia I find that the letters tend to represent the colors so when the letters do switch for me so do the colors

    • Carl says:

      I also see clouds of color when listening to music

    • Your teachers should have been fired! Why? ONLY the very bright CAN have Dyslexia or Dyslexic spectrum disorders! If your IQ is not high enough, then they call it Developmental Delay Disorder (or, back in the 70s, they would sometimes call it Mentally Retarded or Mental Retardation.) Dyslexic Spectrum disorders can be overcome for the most part, if and only if you have the right help. If that help is denied you, than you are being discriminated against, and will not overcome it. It would be well worth it to get help, even as an adult if you still have dysgraphia issues. What I did for dysgraphia was use a letter template and trace the letters over and over again – think redundancy times a trillion. Then, I would practice long hours in a notebook without the template. It took several years, but it was worth it. I can now write neatly or dysgraphically depending on the day, and if I slow down or not (or am having blood sugar issues.)

      Note to “PC people”, they are now trying to call Developmental Delay Disorder some other “lets water this down so that no one knows what it is” name, that I can not remember, and do not support. Is it “intellectually challenged?” Calling a disorder where by the brain has a hard time learning anything, “peaceful learning” does not hide the fact that my brain only shows up when it wants to. Society will learn to associate “peaceful learning” with “intellectually challenged” or “intellectually disabled”. Changing the word used, does not change societies attitudes towards the person. There was a study where they sepaated students in 1st grade, into 3 mixed group classes. One class was told they were brilliant. That class did perform better, but they still had at least one child who struggled. I tried to use that philosophy (you are a genius, believe it) on myself, and I found that I would at times do well, but at others time, struggle to even make a passing grade. Many years later I found that I have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and that my brain randomly shows up. This is why somethings I just won’t be PC about because it just does not matter.

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