Helping make sense of a rare condition

NEW research has revealed 500,000 UK children have the relatively unknown condition synaesthesia, which causes the senses to merge.

One symptom of the condition means sufferers can “taste” words. Other people see certain colours when they hear a certain sound.

The Edinburgh University study found only five per cent of headteachers have heard of synaesthesia, and less than 15 per cent of learning support teachers can provide an accurate definition.

Experts believe a greater knowledge of the condition would lead to better learning. Showing a child numbers in the corresponding colours, for example, would help them remember them.

Dr Julia Simner, who led the research, said:“Most synaesthetes are met with disbelief. With a small amount of support, teachers can allow their synaesthete pupils to profit from their sensations or simply to be confident about enjoying their differences.”

The findings will be discussed at a meeting of the UK Synaesthesia Association, in Edinburgh, on March 29 and 30.

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