Wednesday 14 June 2017

Wacky Day, Autism and Face Blindness

I'm so proud of our gorgeous youngest girl, who went to school today despite the fact that she really didn't want to.

To be honest, she really hasn't wanted to go to school all week (like every week this year), but with the builders still coming and going at our house and banging around, she has chosen the lesser of two evils every day so far. Today though, her anxiety was through the roof. You might not think so, looking at this photo, but she sure can put on a good pose when she's in the mood...

Sasha on her way to Wacky Day at school
Wacky day at school. All the children get to dress in anything wacky, and do their hair etc. In short, change their appearance as much as they want to. And therein lies the problem.

For most children, this is a bit of fun, some light relief and a welcome break from the monotony of 'just' learning. I'm not being all 'bah humbug' about it - it's a great fundraiser for the PTA and the sort of day our eldest daughter loved.

For Sasha, any of these dress-up days cause great anxiety. The issue is not stressing about what to wear, although I do know that can be a cause of concern for some autistic children. Sometimes, for other dress-up days where costumes are required, the sensory feel and itchiness of some costumes has been part of the problem.

The main issue for Sasha generally is all the other children (and often teachers too) changing their appearance. In her own words, it's 'scary'. I do wonder if it's a form of face blindness (also known as Prosopagnosia) but of course it's very difficult to have a conversation with Sasha about anything serious so I am not sure we'll get to the bottom of this until she's a bit older. 

Face blindness may affect as many as 1 in every 50 people - that's around 1.5 million people in the UK. This is a developmental condition which most of those affected are born with - they aren't able to recognise faces, and they may find it difficult to follow TV series or plots. Those affected tend to learn coping strategies fairly early on, such as recognising the way someone walks, or smells, or hairstyles etc.

For today though, a late night dash to the supermarket to buy some magic pink hair spray coupled with allowing her to choose what to wear did the trick to distract from the anxiety (not a particularly wacky outfit, these are just her favourite clothes!). Phew. Let's ignore the fact that she now has pink shoulders (which I forgot to put suncream on this morning, oops).....

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