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the toll of face blindness

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  • Joe Degutis
    Hi, My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder. I am very curious to understand
    Message 1 of 23 , Oct 1, 2007
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      Hi,

      My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
      and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.

      I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
      peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
      conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
      and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
      socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
      normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional, professional
      careers."

      This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
      individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
      - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
      to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
      passionately explore their intellectual interests.

      I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
      that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
      about who they are that they can successfully work with.

      Any thoughts?

      Best,

      Joe DeGutis
    • Silvia Saenz
      HI Joe, this is a very good question, to me is has affected my social life, until, I found out I had PA, now only after a couple of months of dealing with
      Message 2 of 23 , Oct 1, 2007
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        HI Joe, this is a very good question, to me is has affected my social life, until, I found out I had PA, now only after a couple of months of dealing with this, I have been able to be more social and be less afraid to be social,it will still take some time to be say I have a normal social life, I don't think I will, at least not as much as other friends I have, but better at least, before, I had just completely given up on making more friends and going to social events due to my lack of ability to remember them later on.
        Now, dyslexia, that has been a lot more problematic for me,socially, personally and work related ; I felt and feel unable to learn as many things as would like, and the older I get the tougher it is, so dylexia as been an impairment more than PA to me. But you have to remember, just like in dyslexia, PA has different levels, I rate myself a 5 on a 10 scale on PA, and 7 on dyslexia, just so you have an idea.
        And yes, I do think your brain develops on other things, but not always on what one would like.....


        Silvia Sáenz




        ----- Mensaje original ----
        De: Joe Degutis <deguti@...>
        Para: faceblind@yahoogroups.com
        Enviado: lunes, 1 de octubre, 2007 14:28:25
        Asunto: [faceblind] the toll of face blindness

        Hi,

        My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
        and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.

        I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
        peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
        conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
        and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
        socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
        normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional, professional
        careers."

        This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
        individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
        - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
        to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
        passionately explore their intellectual interests.

        I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
        that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
        about who they are that they can successfully work with.

        Any thoughts?

        Best,

        Joe DeGutis



        Yahoo! Groups Links










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      • Liz Hensley
        It got me put in the slow first grade because I could not recognize Dick, Jane and Sally, not their words, their pictures, and the teacher soon figured out I
        Message 3 of 23 , Oct 1, 2007
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          It got me put in the slow first grade because I could not recognize Dick, Jane and Sally, not their words, their pictures, and the teacher soon figured out I could not recognize my classmates either, so they transferred me. I was bored stiff as I figured out how to read by the end of the first week and became an automatic reader and I had to listen to the other kids struggle through the reader and I had already finished it. But I got in trouble for not knowing where the other kids were in it. By third grade they figured out I was being underchallenged and transferred me in mid school year to the faster class. I knew no one there and never did.

          I would say its been very hard on me. Its better now that I know the problem exists and because of the publicity its getting recently. Now when I say I'm faceblind there is a chance they might actually know what I mean. I used be thought of as crazy, or a snob because I would "ignore" folks. I just didn't recognize them.

          http://www.findaface.com is a good place to go to learn how it effects children.
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Joe Degutis
          To: faceblind@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 5:28 PM
          Subject: [faceblind] the toll of face blindness


          Hi,

          My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
          and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.

          I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
          peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
          conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
          and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
          socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
          normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional, professional
          careers."

          This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
          individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
          - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
          to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
          passionately explore their intellectual interests.

          I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
          that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
          about who they are that they can successfully work with.

          Any thoughts?

          Best,

          Joe DeGutis





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        • Bonnie
          ... life.... ***** This one does. I no longer go to large social functions. A row is happening in my family because I will not attend my niece s wedding. Too
          Message 4 of 23 , Oct 1, 2007
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            > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their
            > deficits as an impairment
            > that significantly interferes with their
            life....
            *****
            This one does.

            I no longer go to large social functions. A row
            is happening in my family because I will not
            attend my niece's wedding.

            Too many times I have been lost, confused,
            embarrassed. I have reached my limit. No more.

            Attending fairs and festivals with a friend is
            only slightly easier because I keep losing them
            in the crowds. It is easier in that they
            come looking for me.

            Even though I now know the name and criteria for
            my problem and even though I now tell people I
            meet I probably won't recognize them again, I
            still get a cold gripping feeling when I have to
            meet somebody new to me.
            *****
            *****
            > ...or as just something
            > about who they are that they can successfully
            > work with.
            *****
            Some people on this list have commented that it's
            not so bad for them. My observation is that they
            usually have someone who identifies people for
            them or distracts others from noticing.
            *****
            *****
            > I am very curious to understand the toll that
            > face blindness has on
            > peoples' lives.
            *****
            Worse than a mole, but less than cancer.
            *****
            *****
            >.... exemplary faceblind individuals
            > such as Jane Goodall
            > and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness
            > "is not necessarily
            > socially crippling and still allows the
            > affected persons to lead
            > normal lives and to take up normal, or even
            > exceptional, professional
            > careers."
            *****
            I don't know which Robert Cecil you are
            referring or about his social ability, but I have
            heard that Jane Goodall is not a particularly
            outgoing person. Her career could be described as
            exceptional in many ways.

            At this time in her notoriety, Ms Goodall's
            attendance at a symposium or her presentation at
            a lecture, I would think would afford her an
            escort and people would seek her out so she would
            not have to guess who they were.

            (Ms Goodall identifies gorillas, not people.
            Gorillas are identified by the color of the hair
            across the males shoulders [silver back, black
            back], the babies hanging from the females, their
            size and various physical traits such as scars.

            (These are the same traits some of us use to
            identify humans. Silver back or black back would
            be replaced with bald or long hair; some people
            are identified by the children, spouse or dog
            accompanying them.

            Ms Goodall has the luck of finding a profession
            where she can use her unique observational
            skills. The rest of us are spread across every
            profession you can imagine. Some of us are in our
            element--like Ms Goodall--and some of us are not.
            Some of us--sales people and others dealing with
            the public--are managing in occupations you would
            think we would avoid.
            *****
            *****
            > This seems counter to several of my experiences
            > with faceblind
            > individuals.
            *****
            Some of us have social and professional lives
            that are not as difficult as others of us.
            *****
            *****
            > But I also realize that many
            > times there are trade offs...
            *****
            All handicaps have trade offs.

            My tendancy to identify people by their carriage
            has given me observational ability that helped me
            when I was a holistic practitioner and I had to
            identify movement problems so I could help people
            move better; but other practitioners eventually
            learned to do professionally what I do all the
            time.
            *****
            *****
            > A recent paper by Thomas Gruter,...
            *****
            "Dr. Grüter is himself prosopagnosic. His wife
            and co-author, Dr. Martina Grüter of the
            Institute for Human Genetics at the University of
            Münster, did not realize he was face blind until
            she had known him more than 20 years. The reason,
            she says, is he was so good at compensating for
            his deficits."
            <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/18/health/psychology/18face.html>

            This does not mean that it was easy for Dr Gruter
            to identify people known to him.

            I have found when I had a staff or when I offered
            a service or when I was called upon to make a
            professional presentation, coworkers and clients
            and others tended to identify themselves to me.
            When I was a clerk, an assistant, a neighbor or a
            friend, I had to guess who people were.

            The rank or status a face blind person holds can
            often help him identify people so he might
            conclude prosopagnosia "is not necessarily
            socially crippling."
            *****
            *****
            > Any thoughts?
            *****
            Like most things, prosopagnosia has as many
            stories and differences as people with the
            condition.

            ~Bonnie



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          • Dawn Lloyd
            I ll start off with noting that I am fairly severely face blind, and it s the variety resulting in me not even being able to look at two pictures and knowing
            Message 5 of 23 , Oct 1, 2007
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              I'll start off with noting that I am fairly severely face blind, and it's
              the variety resulting in me not even being able to look at two pictures
              and knowing if they're of the same person or not.

              I wouldn't say it's impacted my life all that much exactly, though. It's
              a daily irritation, certainly. (Last night was the college dinner. It
              was a small group, though... only maybe 20 faculty members and their
              spouses. I was sitting next to a friend who knows about my
              faceblindness, so I had her narrate. The conversation went....

              "Who's the guy sitting at the table over there?"
              "That's Hiam's husband" [note I've seen him on dozens of occasions
              because he comes around a lot]
              "Okay, cool. Uhm, I was told some of the people overseeing the
              construction of the new building were at that table. And the contractor
              has gray hair also. Do you know if he's the contractor?"
              "I don't know, I haven't met the contractor. I just know it's Hiam's
              husband."
              "Hmm.... the contractor has gray hair and glasses and he's the same age.
              Now I want to know if Hiam's husband is the contractor. I can't ask the
              dean, though, because he's already pointed the contractor out to be 4
              times."

              And so then I sat there in frustration trying to figure out if this guy
              was the contractor I saw every day at the college, or if that was an
              entirely different person.

              ------
              But, aside from embarrassing situations like that (and there are many
              occasions of this every day) it doesn't really impact me, exactly. I
              like to think I've gone on and been successful (I'm a dept. head at the
              college) and the vast majority of people have no clue there's anything
              odd about me unless I tell them. (And even then, they don't believe me
              until I let them into my odd little prosopagnosic world by asking them
              stupid identification questions.)

              There are some folks who have adjusted easier than others. And we've all
              developed various coping mechanisms (which tend to be the same among many
              of us.) Some have had life experiences that have put them in situations
              where it's been harder for them, whereas others have been luckier and so
              we didn't have as many experiences that resulted in it profoundly
              affecting us.

              I will note that I have a rather strong sense of dread when I deal with
              big groups of people.. particularly groups where I expect to casually
              know a lot of people (such as conventions.) Small groups (like the
              college) I'm fine. And groups where I know I don't know anyone (like
              buses when traveling) are also fine. But the in-between groups are a
              pretty big sense of worry. I still go and enjoy them, though...

              Dawn

              On Mon, 1 Oct 2007 17:28:25 -0400 "Joe Degutis" <deguti@...>
              writes:
              > Hi,
              >
              > My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face
              > blindness
              > and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.
              >
              > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
              > peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
              > conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
              > and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
              > socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
              > normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional,
              > professional
              > careers."
              >
              > This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
              > individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade
              > offs
              > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead
              > prosopangosics
              > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
              > passionately explore their intellectual interests.
              >
              > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
              > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
              > about who they are that they can successfully work with.
              >
              > Any thoughts?
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > Joe DeGutis
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >


              Is it me you fear? Or what we do?
              What you do. I'll have no part of it.
              Your hand raised the sail. Your hand holds the tiller... Are you a good
              man, Davos Seaworth?
              I would say my parts are mixed, m'lady. Good and bad.
              A grey man, neither white nor black? If half of an onion is black with
              rot, it is a rotton onion. A man is good, or he is evil. [[A Clash of
              Kings, George R. R. Martin]]
            • Jo Livingston
              **** ......suggests that face blindness is not necessarily socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead normal lives and to take up
              Message 6 of 23 , Oct 1, 2007
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                ****
                "......suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional, professional careers."****

                To say that someone leads a �normal� life implies that they are living the same life that they would have done if they were not face blind, which is unlikely to be the case. Whether we become more introvert in an attempt to hide or more extrovert in order to confront the world in spite of the difficulties, we are still changed by having the condition. There will always be exceptional people within any subset � Jane Goodall may be as atypical of prosopagnosics as Jane Tomlinson was of cancer patients.

                With hindsight and a knowledge of face blindness I have been able to see many occasions when I acted in a particular way because I was aware of my limitations, even though I didn�t know why. This wouldn�t have been apparent to anyone else, since I didn�t understand it myself at the time. Faking it becomes a way of life and most of us are very good at it, but it�s not a comfortable way to live. It�s still not possible to account for all those occasions when I must have completely failed to recognise others but they will have had an incalculable effect on my subsequent relationships with those people.

                Generalising madly, I wonder if men find face blindness easier to live with than women do? So many men, face blind or not, seem to be insulated from a lot of family and social life by their partner taking on that role and probably find it easier to restrict their conversation to neutral topics like sport without appearing strange. Women are expected to be much more involved in other people�s lives and are the target of proportionately greater criticism if they fail to meet these expectations.

                A website on autism says ��appearing externally �normal� does not account for the extraordinary (and often misunderstood) mental gymnastics required just to get by in life, let alone to do so successfully��the vast majority �would still have social adjustment issues long into adulthood, even if observers of such people would think they were getting by with great ease�.
                I would suggest that this also applies to face blindness.

                ****
                I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment that significantly interferes with their life or as just something about who they are that they can successfully work with.
                ****

                Discovering the condition is like looking back over a known landscape but with the light coming from a different angle � everything changes. It is much more likely that people will be able work successfully with the condition if they know about it and understand it from an early age � this would at least obviate the sense of guilt and responsibility which those of us who discovered it later in life have always lived with.Jo









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              • Glenn Alperin
                ... I think you will probably find that it affects different people in different ways, and this may correlate to the severity with which it affects the
                Message 7 of 23 , Oct 2, 2007
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                  Joe Degutis wrote:
                  > Hi,
                  >
                  > My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
                  > and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.
                  >
                  > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                  > peoples' lives.

                  I think you will probably find that it affects different people in
                  different ways, and this may correlate to the severity with which
                  it affects the individual person as well. Myself, I am very face blind.
                  It has colored every aspect of my life, from the most mundane choices
                  to the far more complex ones.

                  <snip>

                  > This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
                  > individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
                  > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                  > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
                  > passionately explore their intellectual interests.

                  I find that "shallow" acquaintance-type relationships are practically
                  meaningless to me. Indeed, I crave the deeper friendships, but at the
                  same time, they are so much more difficult for me to cultivate and
                  maintain.

                  As for intellectual interests, I have been very gifted with my use of
                  language, both the spoken and written word. I don't know if that
                  developed instead of other social relationships though.

                  > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                  > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                  > about who they are that they can successfully work with.

                  It definitely significantly affects my life. Not that I can't try to
                  work with it too, but there are a wide array of things I simply won't
                  attempt or don't enjoy because of it.

                  > Any thoughts?
                  >
                  > Best,
                  >
                  > Joe DeGutis

                  Glenn Alperin
                  blankface@...
                • Jocosa Wade
                  Dear Joe, Thank you for your response to my research request. In terms of my novel, I am very intrigued by your comment regarding shallow vs. deeper
                  Message 8 of 23 , Oct 2, 2007
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                    Dear Joe,

                    Thank you for your response to my research request. In terms of my novel, I am very intrigued by your comment regarding "shallow vs. deeper friendships". If I may, here are a few questions: Do all the people you hold close know about your condition? How soon did you tell them about it? And what kind of responses do you get?

                    with appreciation, Jocosa Wade

                    Glenn Alperin <blankface@...> wrote:
                    Joe Degutis wrote:
                    > Hi,
                    >
                    > My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
                    > and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.
                    >
                    > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                    > peoples' lives.

                    I think you will probably find that it affects different people in
                    different ways, and this may correlate to the severity with which
                    it affects the individual person as well. Myself, I am very face blind.
                    It has colored every aspect of my life, from the most mundane choices
                    to the far more complex ones.

                    <snip>

                    > This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
                    > individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
                    > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                    > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
                    > passionately explore their intellectual interests.

                    I find that "shallow" acquaintance-type relationships are practically
                    meaningless to me. Indeed, I crave the deeper friendships, but at the
                    same time, they are so much more difficult for me to cultivate and
                    maintain.

                    As for intellectual interests, I have been very gifted with my use of
                    language, both the spoken and written word. I don't know if that
                    developed instead of other social relationships though.

                    > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                    > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                    > about who they are that they can successfully work with.

                    It definitely significantly affects my life. Not that I can't try to
                    work with it too, but there are a wide array of things I simply won't
                    attempt or don't enjoy because of it.

                    > Any thoughts?
                    >
                    > Best,
                    >
                    > Joe DeGutis

                    Glenn Alperin
                    blankface@...





                    ---------------------------------
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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Liz Hensley
                    You are right. It is harder for women. We are supposed to be more intuitive too. Another thing not touched on is the effect of a faceblind individual on
                    Message 9 of 23 , Oct 3, 2007
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                      You are right. It is harder for women. We are supposed to be more intuitive
                      too.

                      Another thing not touched on is the effect of a faceblind individual on
                      families. My father would not allow my Mother and I to go to church,
                      weddings, PTA meetings, or even funerals. He would not allow us to have a
                      phone. Mother could not drive for health reasons of her own and this
                      isolated us terribly. As he put it, "I'm around people all day, when I get
                      home I just want to be with my family." We had been transferred because of
                      my Fathers job, to a small town that had no bus service. These two factors
                      isolated my Mother terribly. She because very depressed, and angry and took
                      it out on me by rejecting me and neglecting me and letting the house go to
                      pieces. Of course she had undiagnosed hypothyroidism and was slightly
                      autistic herself, but the isolation harmed us all big time.

                      Because we were not going to church or socializing in any way, had no
                      tribe. There was no one to take my Father aside and tell him, "Your wife and
                      daughter have problems. Something needs to be done. No one saw what was
                      going on at home.

                      Elizabeth Hensley <>< 8-)




                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Jo Livingston" <Jo_Livingston@...>
                      To: <faceblind@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 2:21 AM
                      Subject: RE: [faceblind] the toll of face blindness


                      ****
                      "......suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily socially crippling
                      and still allows the affected persons to lead normal lives and to take up
                      normal, or even exceptional, professional careers."****

                      To say that someone leads a 'normal' life implies that they are living the
                      same life that they would have done if they were not face blind, which is
                      unlikely to be the case. Whether we become more introvert in an attempt to
                      hide or more extrovert in order to confront the world in spite of the
                      difficulties, we are still changed by having the condition. There will
                      always be exceptional people within any subset - Jane Goodall may be as
                      atypical of prosopagnosics as Jane Tomlinson was of cancer patients.

                      With hindsight and a knowledge of face blindness I have been able to see
                      many occasions when I acted in a particular way because I was aware of my
                      limitations, even though I didn't know why. This wouldn't have been apparent
                      to anyone else, since I didn't understand it myself at the time. Faking it
                      becomes a way of life and most of us are very good at it, but it's not a
                      comfortable way to live. It's still not possible to account for all those
                      occasions when I must have completely failed to recognise others but they
                      will have had an incalculable effect on my subsequent relationships with
                      those people.

                      Generalising madly, I wonder if men find face blindness easier to live with
                      than women do? So many men, face blind or not, seem to be insulated from a
                      lot of family and social life by their partner taking on that role and
                      probably find it easier to restrict their conversation to neutral topics
                      like sport without appearing strange. Women are expected to be much more
                      involved in other people's lives and are the target of proportionately
                      greater criticism if they fail to meet these expectations.

                      A website on autism says ".appearing externally 'normal' does not account
                      for the extraordinary (and often misunderstood) mental gymnastics required
                      just to get by in life, let alone to do so successfully..the vast majority
                      .would still have social adjustment issues long into adulthood, even if
                      observers of such people would think they were getting by with great ease".
                      I would suggest that this also applies to face blindness.

                      ****
                      I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment that
                      significantly interferes with their life or as just something about who they
                      are that they can successfully work with.
                      ****

                      Discovering the condition is like looking back over a known landscape but
                      with the light coming from a different angle - everything changes. It is
                      much more likely that people will be able work successfully with the
                      condition if they know about it and understand it from an early age - this
                      would at least obviate the sense of guilt and responsibility which those of
                      us who discovered it later in life have always lived with.Jo









                      _________________________________________________________________
                      Celeb spotting - Play CelebMashup and win cool prizes
                      https://www.celebmashup.com

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                      Yahoo! Groups Links






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                    • Jo Foti
                      Joe, I am a 69 year old woman who has dealt with face-blindness all my life. Truth be told and in retrospect, I felt some anger when finding out there was a
                      Message 10 of 23 , Oct 3, 2007
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                        Joe,



                        I am a 69 year old woman who has dealt with face-blindness all my life.



                        Truth be told and in retrospect, I felt some anger when finding out
                        there was a reason for my problems.



                        It was not, as I was told by teachers, family members and friends: that
                        I wasn't thinking hard enough; not paying enough attention; not trying
                        to remember people, etc. When I think back at the humiliation I
                        suffered, other kids laughing at me and making fun of me, it sort of
                        depresses me even though I've moved on. That makes this a very
                        difficult note to send; however, you asked and so, here it is!



                        How I wished that I knew as a youth, what I know now. I've put that
                        behind me and I now feel fairly liberated.



                        I am an extrovert (meaning I get my energy from being around people --
                        lots of people). I always knew I wanted to be out and part of the
                        crowd; but, it was really hard. I learned somewhere in my 30's that I
                        had to be friendly and "nice" to everyone, whether I thought I knew them
                        or not and no matter how hard it was to pretend. Sometimes when you are
                        in that situation, one tends to take frustrations out on those that they
                        know well and that they love.



                        Elementary school was very difficult especially with the draconian
                        practices in those days (the 40's). Teacher's often made fun of
                        students mistakes and, being an extrovert, I worried so much about what
                        the other kids were thinking about me that I didn't even think or care
                        about school work. Some authorities wanted to "hold me back" which I'm
                        sure would have been worst for me. My parents had me personally tutored
                        and I learned well. They couldn't afford it, but they did it anyway.
                        Somewhere along the way in high school and college, I realized that I
                        was fairly smart but I waited until I was over 50 to take the Mensa test
                        and join the group.



                        Of course, I always had one or two friends and it has occurred to me
                        recently that there was always something different about them. Their
                        height, weight, they way they dressed or some other thing.



                        I was lucky in that I had an opportunity to get into the computer field
                        in the 1960's and had a long (over 40 years) as a computer
                        programmer/systems programmer and management. This built up my
                        self-image; but, my life could have easily gone completely differently.



                        Children who have this sort of problems should be tested. It is
                        critical not to be held responsible for something over which you have no
                        control and it is important to know what you can do and what you cannot
                        do. Also, young people can be taught other ways to recognize
                        individuals.

                        Jo

                        --- In faceblind@yahoogroups.com, "Joe Degutis" <deguti@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi,
                        >
                        > My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
                        > and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.
                        >
                        > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                        > peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
                        > conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
                        > and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
                        > socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
                        > normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional, professional
                        > careers."
                        >
                        > This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
                        > individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
                        > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                        > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
                        > passionately explore their intellectual interests.
                        >
                        > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                        > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                        > about who they are that they can successfully work with.
                        >
                        > Any thoughts?
                        >
                        > Best,
                        >
                        > Joe DeGutis
                        >




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Bonnie
                        ... ***** I think the phone and email and voice-over-internet protocol are wonderful. Some people only say hello and expect me to recognize them, but it is
                        Message 11 of 23 , Oct 3, 2007
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                          > He
                          > would not allow us to have a
                          > phone.
                          *****
                          I think the phone and email and
                          voice-over-internet protocol are wonderful.

                          Some people only say hello and expect me to
                          recognize them, but it is still easier than
                          recognizing their faces.

                          The telephone was originally intended as a
                          communication device for the deaf, but I think it
                          is perfect for a face blind person.

                          People say I am a more friendly, outgoing
                          personality over the phone than in person.

                          Someone said they were extroverted and their face
                          blindness caused them to treat everyone as a
                          known person.

                          I am introverted and everyone--known or unknown
                          to me--is a stranger.

                          So there you have it: Face blind people and
                          extroverted and introverted.

                          After much thought, my conclusion is that face
                          blindness does not make a person introverted or
                          extroverted, but face blindness puts a major
                          complication on an introverted person.

                          ~Bonnie



                          ____________________________________________________________________________________
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                        • Delila
                          ... From: Bonnie ... People tend recognize me by my goofy accent. ... For the deaf? Are you sure? How can deaf people use a
                          Message 12 of 23 , Oct 3, 2007
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                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Bonnie" <bonnieinthemist@...>
                            >
                            > Some people only say hello and expect me to
                            > recognize them, but it is still easier than
                            > recognizing their faces.


                            People tend recognize me by my goofy accent.


                            >
                            > The telephone was originally intended as a
                            > communication device for the deaf, but I think it
                            > is perfect for a face blind person.


                            For the deaf? Are you sure? How can deaf people use a regular phone?


                            >
                            > People say I am a more friendly, outgoing
                            > personality over the phone than in person.


                            Not me; I hate talking on the phone and will avoid it whenever possible.


                            D.
                          • claudia spiro
                            Joe, I will give you a much more detailed answer off list, if you would like. As a child, it led to my getting getting into trouble socially on any number of
                            Message 13 of 23 , Oct 3, 2007
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                              Joe,

                              I will give you a much more detailed answer off list, if you would like. As a child, it led to my getting getting into trouble socially on any number of occasions. As an adult, there are some dramatic situations I have gotten into, as well. Here are just a few: As a four year old, I failed to recognize a neighbor, who scolded me sternly. This was the first time I realized that other people could recognize neighbors, when they were not in front of their own houses. My mother, from whom I inherited perfect pitch, took me aside and told me to remember people by their voices. It is one of the the best non-facial clues I have, but since a person's voice changes over the course of a day for any number of reasons, it is sometimes not all that reliable. Still, I can often identify people over the phone without using caller ID.

                              Later that year, I was at a public place (I think it was a zoo), where I mistook another man for my father, because they were both wearing the same color of shirt. I realixzed my error when he spoke, and fortunately, my dad - and my mother and little brother-were not far off.

                              Like jo Foti, I was born an extrovert. Even though it would be far more prudent to stay away from social gatherings, it just isn't my nature. So, as a first grader, I was constantly getting into trouble on the playground for asking everyone his or her name each day. My palymates did not mind very much (if at all!), but the yard teachers did not like it- and I got scolded over and over again. They insisted that if I would only pay better attention, I would know. Hay, a face-sighted person does not have to pay attention! I knew I did not have the ability, and it really hurt me deeply to be told to do something I was unable to accomplish- and scolded for failing. However, in being a child, I forgot about it within half an hour, and found someone else with whom to play.

                              I did lose any number of friends, and have to win them back if I could, because I failed to recognize them out of context. In school, the teacher called role each day, and my friends would all answer, "present", or "here". In addition, there were seating charts, and I learned quickly. We kids called each other by name often, so that gave me even more breaks.

                              By seventh grade, I was known for being "stuck up"- you guessed it- because I did not speak to people when I had no clue who they were! (And, I did not even have a clue why I was called that, till a year ago, when I officially learned about prosopagnosia, and joined this list!)

                              By college, I had taken to simply explaining to people about my facial recognition difficulties when I first met them. I was rarely believed, at first. I explained that I remember names extremely well- and eventually, pelple learned that I did! It seemed to help them to get over the idea that I did not care about them, because they could see that I cared enough to remember their names- often, I would hear the first name, and come up with the last name, for example, or get it from context and be able to say it.

                              I have found that having a word for it- either prosopagnosia or faceblindness will do- really explains it a lot to a person who does not have it. It is much easier to be believed now. I have "come out" to so many people at this point that around friends, I can simply ask a few friends to identify that one new person in a group whom I do not know well yet, and did not tell yet.

                              There are a few social or work-related settings where I have not come out, and will not. I will gladly tell you off list, if you email me. I think you will find them important. It was an impairment that significantly affected my life, as you have stated it might be. Since joining this list, I have learned more about facial recognition, and I have actually improved--I would love to improve still more.

                              As to your examples of famous people, I will say that color is an important recognition clue for me, and that I began disciplining myself to try to recognize their faces from shape alone- and it was quite hard. Still, I have never had any problem with picking out my own furry pet, for example, and I do not believe I would have any trouble with gorillas, either.There appear to be several faceblind researchers on primates, I believe.

                              As to friendships, I grew up - unknown to me at the time- with other faceblind family. I would never stay away from being someone's friend, just because he or she is hard to recognize. In my experience, a true friend will accept me as I am in this area, and I have many who have. I laugh at myself, and give them permission to laugh, too. Still, I have been praying to be healed completely.

                              Claudia

                              ----- Original Message ----
                              From: Joe Degutis <deguti@...>
                              To: faceblind@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Monday, October 1, 2007 5:28:25 PM
                              Subject: [faceblind] the toll of face blindness

                              Hi,

                              My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
                              and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.

                              I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                              peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
                              conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
                              and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
                              socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
                              normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional, professional
                              careers."

                              This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
                              individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
                              - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                              to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
                              passionately explore their intellectual interests.

                              I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                              that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                              about who they are that they can successfully work with.

                              Any thoughts?

                              Best,

                              Joe DeGutis




                              ____________________________________________________________________________________
                              Luggage? GPS? Comic books?
                              Check out fitting gifts for grads at Yahoo! Search
                              http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=oni_on_mail&p=graduation+gifts&cs=bz

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                            • Bonnie
                              ... ***** They can t. His invention was a failure for the intended purpose, but a success for an unexpected purpose. ***** ***** Alexander Graham Bell wanted
                              Message 14 of 23 , Oct 3, 2007
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                                > For the deaf? Are you sure? How can deaf people
                                > use a regular phone?
                                *****
                                They can't.
                                His invention was a failure for the intended
                                purpose, but a success for an unexpected purpose.
                                *****
                                *****
                                Alexander Graham Bell wanted to invent a device
                                that would help deaf people (his wife one of
                                them) communicate with hearing people.

                                He thought he could adapt the telegraph, but
                                instead made a device hearing people could
                                use--the telephone.

                                He invented many things: teaching aids for the
                                deaf to speak, a device that carried sound on a
                                beam of light that developed into fiber-optics,
                                a vest to help people breathe which led to the
                                iron-lung that helped people with polio breathe,
                                a device to remove salt from sea water and other
                                things in various sciences including genetics in
                                pursuit of finding why people are born deaf.

                                Decades after Bell started the Bell Telephone
                                Company it would provide printing devices hooked
                                up to telephones for the deaf.

                                ~Bonnie


                                + + + + + + + + + + + + +
                                > > The telephone was originally intended as a
                                > > communication device for the deaf, but I
                                > think it
                                > > is perfect for a face blind person.
                                >
                                >





                                ____________________________________________________________________________________
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                              • joni pinkney
                                Face blindness has affected my life very much. I can t recognise relatives, neighbors, even family members if I havn t seen them in a while or if they turn up
                                Message 15 of 23 , Oct 4, 2007
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                                  Face blindness has affected my life very much. I can't recognise relatives, neighbors, even family members if I havn't seen them in a while or if they turn up in an unexpected place. For most of my life people thought I just wasn't paying attention or just didn't care. I was often bullied and shunned, and accused of being "stuck up" and "hurting other people's feelings." No one seemed to care about my feelings. As a child and a teen I often wanted to die.

                                  I have Asperger's syndrome, and savant skills in math which includes an uncanny ability to explain any kind of math so that anyone can understand. I always wanted to be a math teacher, but my face blindness and autism made it impossible for me to function in the classroom. I was called incompetent, the kids joked that I'd "gotten my teaching certificate from a cracker jack box" and that was some of the nicer things they said. I was threatened and assaulted by students, who were sure that I would not recognise them. When I reported these problems to administration, their response that it was my fault for not "managing the classroom" better. I was fired from several teaching jobs and my self esteem plummetted. I was (mis)diagnosed schitzophrenic and had several lost years out of my life.

                                  Finding out about face blindness and Asperger's Syndrome a year or so ago has given me a new lease on life. I have returned to grad school for a Master of Arts in Math Education, and I hope to be a resource person in the school system or perhaps an instructor at the community college or college level. Although at 51 I am a good deal older than my peers in the MA program, I often surprise my professors, peers, and even myself, by completing advanced math assignments ahead of time, and often with original approaches to solutions.

                                  I still struggle with social adjustment issues, but at least I know why. If only this knowledge had been available to me during my formative years. A blind or deaf child. and their family and peers, know why they are different and that it's not their fault, and they find ways to cope without shame or blame. If only it were this way with faceblindess. I can't imagine how my life would have been different had I known earlier or had I not been faceblind. My life simply is what it is, and I am now in a place where I can accept it.

                                  Thank you for asking about how face blindness has affected our lives.

                                  Joni




                                  ---------------------------------
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                                  Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get online.

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                                • Anne Mills
                                  Mark, What are the positives for you? Anne www.findaface.org Helping children to find a face ... From: Mark Farrell To:
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Oct 5, 2007
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                                    Mark,
                                    What are the positives for you?
                                    Anne

                                    www.findaface.org
                                    Helping children to find a face



                                    ----- Original Message ----
                                    From: Mark Farrell <farrell12342003@...>
                                    To: faceblind@yahoogroups.com
                                    Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 4:41:55 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [faceblind] the toll of face blindness

                                    I rate my 'faceblindness' as quite high, and yes, it does have an effect on my life.

                                    As an example - I dread attending large gatherings (such as weddings, class reunions, etc.). If I do have to go to these events, I make sure I have someone with me to help me figure out who people are. To arrive alone, I would have a difficult time 'finding' people I know.

                                    Also, going to the grocery store has challenges. Since we live in a small town of less than 5000 people, I know I will meet people I should know (and speak with them), but will have no idea who they are!!

                                    This is not to say that all my experiences are negative. Overall, I think my faceblindness has had a positive effect.


                                    Mark

                                    ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                    Looking for a deal? Find great prices on flights and hotels with Yahoo! FareChase.

                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Robert Richmond
                                    Jo Livingston alluded to the likely difficulty of teaching school teachers to recognize face blindness. I d certainly agree, based on what I know about color
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Oct 6, 2007
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                                      Jo Livingston alluded to the likely difficulty of teaching school
                                      teachers to recognize face blindness.

                                      I'd certainly agree, based on what I know about color blindness. I
                                      have normal color vision, but I've been interested in the social
                                      aspects of color blindness ever since I watched my first grade teacher
                                      making fun of a color blind boy in my class for not coloring with the
                                      right colors (poor M.L. - the only name he had - was probably retarded
                                      or socially deprived also - this was in the autumn of 1945). One boy
                                      in eight, after all, has a color vision problem.

                                      I've asked a number of recent school of education graduates what
                                      they'd been taught about color blindness, and the answer was always
                                      nothing. The other question I ask at the same time is "what did they
                                      tell you to do if a kid has a seizure on your classroom floor" - a
                                      problem any veteran elementary school teacher has dealt with a time or
                                      two - and the answer to that question is always nothing too.

                                      What DO they teach students in schools of education?

                                      Bob Richmond
                                      Knoxville TN

                                      On 10/2/07, Glenn Alperin <blankface@...> wrote:
                                      > Joe Degutis wrote:
                                      > > Hi,
                                      > >
                                      > > My name is Joe DeGutis and I am a researcher studying face blindness
                                      > > and the potential for rehabilitation of this disorder.
                                      > >
                                      > > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                                      > > peoples' lives.
                                      >
                                      > I think you will probably find that it affects different people in
                                      > different ways, and this may correlate to the severity with which
                                      > it affects the individual person as well. Myself, I am very face blind.
                                      > It has colored every aspect of my life, from the most mundane choices
                                      > to the far more complex ones.
                                      >
                                      > <snip>
                                      >
                                      > > This seems counter to several of my experiences with faceblind
                                      > > individuals. But I also realize that many times there are trade offs
                                      > > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                                      > > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships or to go off and
                                      > > passionately explore their intellectual interests.
                                      >
                                      > I find that "shallow" acquaintance-type relationships are practically
                                      > meaningless to me. Indeed, I crave the deeper friendships, but at the
                                      > same time, they are so much more difficult for me to cultivate and
                                      > maintain.
                                      >
                                      > As for intellectual interests, I have been very gifted with my use of
                                      > language, both the spoken and written word. I don't know if that
                                      > developed instead of other social relationships though.
                                      >
                                      > > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                                      > > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                                      > > about who they are that they can successfully work with.
                                      >
                                      > It definitely significantly affects my life. Not that I can't try to
                                      > work with it too, but there are a wide array of things I simply won't
                                      > attempt or don't enjoy because of it.
                                      >
                                      > > Any thoughts?
                                      > >
                                      > > Best,
                                      > >
                                      > > Joe DeGutis
                                      >
                                      > Glenn Alperin
                                      > blankface@...
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                    • Deena Larsen
                                      Hi, Your questions are intriguing--it never occurred to me to think about what my life would have been without face blindness. I can not say for certain that
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Oct 6, 2007
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                                        Hi,

                                        Your questions are intriguing--it never occurred to me to think about what my life would have been without face blindness. I can not say for certain that I would have had more friends or a more successful career, but it is certainly possible.

                                        When I was in school, I was beaten up on a fairly regular basis. People kept saying "Well this will teach you not to recognize ME!!" Obviously, I wasn't doing something that everyone else did. So I learned to recognize everyone--including people I had never met before. After the umpteenth bloody nose and black eyes, I would say a fierce and friendly "HI! How are you? GREAT to see you!!!" to every single person I passed in the hallways. I still do, to this day, and when someone responds with my name, I use every trick I can to recognize them.

                                        When I was first at my goverment job, and even now, people would advise me to go into leadership, and I would refuse. My reasons were simply--you want me to have all that hassle for a few thousand dollars a year more?? But it went beyond that. I have never gone into a leadership position because I wouldn't be able to recognize my subordinates, let alone figure out what they were doing and how they were doing it.

                                        These are just a couple of examples of how face blindness has pervaded my life.




                                        ---------------------------------
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                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Glenn Alperin
                                        ... I used to work in retail. I ve been unemployed for over a year now. The sorry and sordid tale about that can be read on my blog here:
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Oct 6, 2007
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                                          Deena Larsen wrote, in part:

                                          > When I was first at my goverment job, and even now, people would advise me
                                          > to go into leadership, and I would refuse. My reasons were simply--you want
                                          > me to have all that hassle for a few thousand dollars a year more?? But it
                                          > went beyond that. I have never gone into a leadership position because I
                                          > wouldn't be able to recognize my subordinates, let alone figure out what
                                          > they were doing and how they were doing it.

                                          I used to work in retail. I've been unemployed for over a year now.
                                          The sorry and sordid tale about that can be read on my blog here:
                                          http://www.thisisby.us/index.php/content/the_stomping_of_a_worker_bee
                                          Yeah, the title is probably a pretty good hint as to the tone of the
                                          piece. Anyway, I sympathize and empathize with your desire to not go
                                          into a leadership position, and for very similar reasons.

                                          > These are just a couple of examples of how face blindness has pervaded
                                          > my life.

                                          As I wrote, the effect it has had on my life has, indeed, been
                                          pervasive. It has effected me from the small decisions to the larger
                                          ones. Even socially, it generally keeps me as either a fearful and/or
                                          anxious and/or passive social participant in almost every social aspect
                                          of my life.

                                          Glenn Alperin
                                        • Delila
                                          ... From: Glenn Alperin ... Glenn, I work for a large retail chain and what you say in your essay is spot on. They seem to be
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Oct 7, 2007
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                                            ----- Original Message -----
                                            From: "Glenn Alperin" <blankface@...>
                                            >
                                            > I used to work in retail. I've been unemployed for over a year now.
                                            > The sorry and sordid tale about that can be read on my blog here:
                                            > http://www.thisisby.us/index.php/content/the_stomping_of_a_worker_bee


                                            Glenn, I work for a large retail chain and what you say in your essay is
                                            spot on. They seem to be transitioning to an all-teen/early-twenties high
                                            school/college work force that's transient; just passing through on their
                                            way to something else, something better. They don't even bother to really
                                            train anyone anymore. As long as they can (sort of) run a cash register,
                                            it's enough. You have to fend for yourself, figure stuff out on your own and
                                            guess what you should do and how, and god help you if you get it wrong.
                                            They've let go a lot of full-timers and replaced them with an ever-revolving
                                            door of parttime workers who don't really give a damn, and why should they?
                                            I'm extremely stressed out all the time, even when not working. Sometimes I
                                            almost hope they'll fire me, but unemployment doesn't pay the bills nor does
                                            it last more than six months.


                                            D.
                                          • joni pinkney
                                            Mostly they teach the latest philosophies on how children should be taught. For example, right now constructivist education is all the rage because it is
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Oct 7, 2007
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                                              Mostly they teach the latest philosophies on how children should be taught. For example, right now constructivist education is all the rage because it is believed to help minority children. There's no solid evidence that it does, but in educational philosophy, if you repeat something enough times, it becomes true.

                                              Re:
                                              What DO they teach students in schools of education?

                                              Bob Richmond
                                              Knoxville TN


                                              ---------------------------------
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                                            • ssuzzzzz
                                              Dear Joe ... professional ... I m a professional - also a researcher with the condition (but not currently researching into it.) There are other ways of
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Oct 16, 2007
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                                                Dear Joe
                                                > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                                                > peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
                                                > conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
                                                > and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
                                                > socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
                                                > normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional,
                                                professional
                                                > careers."
                                                I'm a professional - also a researcher with the condition (but not
                                                currently researching into it.) There are other ways of recognising
                                                people than their faces, ie. voices and ways of moving, I'm not
                                                altogether convinced that face cues are all that makes a person
                                                recognisable - I do feel uncomfortable in large gatherings which is a
                                                disadvantage considering I do attend conferences etc. People expect
                                                me to remember them and get rather offended.
                                                I think in a fairly influential job, people tend to excuse you your
                                                minor eccentricities and put up with them.
                                                I usually say, now that I know about FB, that I have trouble
                                                recognising faces but usually get a lot of remarks back that indicate
                                                others too have trouble. I recognise people I have a lot of dealings
                                                with but only after a fairly long time and with the right cues
                                                time/place/appointments.
                                                Quite often I turn up to meet someone I know quite well but whom I'm
                                                fairly sure I won't recognise in a situation where there are other
                                                people and it makes me anxiety prone. Particularly those who have
                                                interchangeable young women assistants. I usually arrive early and
                                                wait for people to recognise me. But it works.
                                                The main problem is that even when I tell people that I have unusual
                                                trouble with it, they dismiss it and don't help me compensate.
                                                Working in a uni with a large dept. - I have quite often blanked
                                                people I should recognise etc.. so socially there are problems as
                                                people assume they don't matter to you.
                                                The worst one is supervision of students. I quite often have
                                                individual tutorials with students where I wouldn't recognise if a
                                                different one walked in. It's no good telling them because they need
                                                to feel over the course of time that you have a real interest in them
                                                as people. However, i know enough about their project so it works.


                                                > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                                                > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships
                                                yes I do this. However, I have noticed that my friends seem to have
                                                recognisable characteristics. I very rarely make friends with anyone
                                                I find difficult to recognise.

                                                or to go off and
                                                > passionately explore their intellectual interests.
                                                Yes I do this too. I think I tend to be more controlled about my
                                                social relations than other people. I don't respond very well to
                                                emotive behaviour.... might be a bit of autism creeping in there....

                                                > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                                                > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                                                > about who they are that they can successfully work with.
                                                I think to most people it comes as a shock that there is this
                                                condition and that they have it. They've usually been working with it
                                                as part of who they are. It's difficult to step outside how you see
                                                things so its difficult to see how it might impact on your life -
                                                i.e. personally I'm not too bothered that I don't recognise people
                                                sometimes and I get on with what I want to do. There's more things
                                                in life etc. It's less problematic in the job as in social or
                                                personal life where these things matter more. I can't tell
                                                neighbours or my child's friends parents apart and they are less
                                                tolerant - they just see me as remote i reckon.
                                              • bbrodley
                                                Not that you seem to troubled at this point in your life, but I was just wondering if as a professor you could have an appointments only policy so you know
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Oct 18, 2007
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                                                  Not that you seem to troubled at this point in your life, but I was
                                                  just wondering if as a professor you could have an appointments only
                                                  policy so you know which student is coming into your office in advance.

                                                  --- In faceblind@yahoogroups.com, "ssuzzzzz" <ssuzzzzz@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Dear Joe
                                                  > > I am very curious to understand the toll that face blindness has on
                                                  > > peoples' lives. A recent paper by Thomas Gruter, basing his
                                                  > > conclusions on exemplary faceblind individuals such as Jane Goodall
                                                  > > and Robert Cecil, suggests that face blindness "is not necessarily
                                                  > > socially crippling and still allows the affected persons to lead
                                                  > > normal lives and to take up normal, or even exceptional,
                                                  > professional
                                                  > > careers."
                                                  > I'm a professional - also a researcher with the condition (but not
                                                  > currently researching into it.) There are other ways of recognising
                                                  > people than their faces, ie. voices and ways of moving, I'm not
                                                  > altogether convinced that face cues are all that makes a person
                                                  > recognisable - I do feel uncomfortable in large gatherings which is a
                                                  > disadvantage considering I do attend conferences etc. People expect
                                                  > me to remember them and get rather offended.
                                                  > I think in a fairly influential job, people tend to excuse you your
                                                  > minor eccentricities and put up with them.
                                                  > I usually say, now that I know about FB, that I have trouble
                                                  > recognising faces but usually get a lot of remarks back that indicate
                                                  > others too have trouble. I recognise people I have a lot of dealings
                                                  > with but only after a fairly long time and with the right cues
                                                  > time/place/appointments.
                                                  > Quite often I turn up to meet someone I know quite well but whom I'm
                                                  > fairly sure I won't recognise in a situation where there are other
                                                  > people and it makes me anxiety prone. Particularly those who have
                                                  > interchangeable young women assistants. I usually arrive early and
                                                  > wait for people to recognise me. But it works.
                                                  > The main problem is that even when I tell people that I have unusual
                                                  > trouble with it, they dismiss it and don't help me compensate.
                                                  > Working in a uni with a large dept. - I have quite often blanked
                                                  > people I should recognise etc.. so socially there are problems as
                                                  > people assume they don't matter to you.
                                                  > The worst one is supervision of students. I quite often have
                                                  > individual tutorials with students where I wouldn't recognise if a
                                                  > different one walked in. It's no good telling them because they need
                                                  > to feel over the course of time that you have a real interest in them
                                                  > as people. However, i know enough about their project so it works.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > > - possibly poor face recognition abilities could lead prosopangosics
                                                  > > to cultivate fewer, but deeper friendships
                                                  > yes I do this. However, I have noticed that my friends seem to have
                                                  > recognisable characteristics. I very rarely make friends with anyone
                                                  > I find difficult to recognise.
                                                  >
                                                  > or to go off and
                                                  > > passionately explore their intellectual interests.
                                                  > Yes I do this too. I think I tend to be more controlled about my
                                                  > social relations than other people. I don't respond very well to
                                                  > emotive behaviour.... might be a bit of autism creeping in there....
                                                  >
                                                  > > I wonder if most prosopagnosics see their deficits as an impairment
                                                  > > that significantly interferes with their life or as just something
                                                  > > about who they are that they can successfully work with.
                                                  > I think to most people it comes as a shock that there is this
                                                  > condition and that they have it. They've usually been working with it
                                                  > as part of who they are. It's difficult to step outside how you see
                                                  > things so its difficult to see how it might impact on your life -
                                                  > i.e. personally I'm not too bothered that I don't recognise people
                                                  > sometimes and I get on with what I want to do. There's more things
                                                  > in life etc. It's less problematic in the job as in social or
                                                  > personal life where these things matter more. I can't tell
                                                  > neighbours or my child's friends parents apart and they are less
                                                  > tolerant - they just see me as remote i reckon.
                                                  >
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