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Archiver > GADDA > 2007-05 > 1180324487


From: Owen <>
Subject: [GADDA] Agnosia
Date: Sun, 27 May 2007 21:54:47 -0600


Greetings, all;
Things are going well with me. We've recently traded in our old '98
minivan for an '02 mini-suv, and also gotten a new cat to replace the
one that died of old age last December. After drawing a daily webcomic
strip for nearly 3 years, I've finally gotten an offer for a paying gig
-- but it will be a magazine that only comes out bi-monthly, so they
only need 6 strips per year. Ah, well, it's a start.

The reason I'm writing now is that I've just discovered a couple things
about myself, and they're often hereditary, so I wonder if you have
them, too. And to warn you to watch out for them developing in the
future, both in yourself and your children. The technical names are
"auditory verbal agnosia" (a subclass of "central auditory processing
disorder", or CAPD) and prosopagnosia. (when pronouncing or spelling it,
I break it down to pro-sop-agnosia, prosop is the Greek word for face,
and agnosia means inability or unable to recognize) The common names are
"pure word deafness" and "face blindness".

I've found a good online source about face blindness at
http://www.choisser.com/faceblind/ . He was describing my experiences
almost exactly, up until chapter 9, on emotions. Some face-blind people
(including the author of this source) can't read emotions from facial
expressions, but it's never been a problem for me. And from that point
on, he starts theorizing a lot of pop-psychology explanations that I
found difficult to give much credence to, though he still had some good
information, too.

I haven't found anything as comprehensive about word deafness, but the
article on general agnosia at
http://www.tsbvi.edu/Outreach/seehear/spring00/centralauditory.htm is
pretty good, and concentrates on detecting all forms of it in children.
For those of you who are profoundly deaf, this disability would be moot
anyway, but for those with only a partial hearing loss, verbal agnosia
can make our deafness far worse than standard tests would indicate. When
I was applying for disability, I was told that my deafness wasn't
serious enough to qualify me, though it would give a little bit of extra
weight to a claim based on my depression/bi-polar disorder (which was
finally granted). I couldn't understand that. The d/b-p was under
control with medications, and no longer much of a disability at all, but
I had reached the point where I couldn't hear a play, a sermon in
church, any sort of conversation except one-on-one with people whose
voices were familiar to me, and even then I had to ask them to repeat
things frequently. Even hearing aids didn't help. Now I know why. My
hearing tests had all been just pings and clicks. My main deafness is in
my brain's ability to process spoken words, and that wasn't tested at all.

There's no actual cure for either of these neurological conditions,
which are part of a whole suite of symptoms often mis-diagnosed as ADHD
or even autism, but just being aware that they exist can be helpful in
learning to cope with them. We already have a family curse bequeath from
our Swede-Finnish ancestors, and these agnosia traits are also ones
found most prevalent in Scandinavians. But there have been good things
in our genes, also. I'm 375 pounds, grossly obese, and yet I don't have
diabetes, which usually accompanies being so far overweight. Good genes.
And I'm a tall 6' (probably would have topped out at 6'2" if I hadn't
had so much weight dragging my vertebra down), which combined with my
'enhanced circumference' and a booming, resonant voice, made me a
commanding presence whenever I wanted to be.

Hope you are all in happy circumstances. Please let me know (for my own
curiosity and to bolster the confidence in my own diagnosis) whether or
not you feel you might have these traits. And if you have small
children, watch for these conditions in them. If you have any contact
with more distant cousins, pass this on to them, too.

~Love to all,
--
Owen Lorion, creator of
*MONEY TALKS: *the Comic Strip
Now available at both SmackJeeves <http://moneytalks.smackjeeves.com>;
and ComicSpace <http://comicspace.com/owenkl/comics.php>;;
Webmaster for the Masonic Poets Society
<http://masonic-poets-society.com/index.html#lorion>;;
and Weblion for The Lion's Egg <http://md40.lionwap.org>;.


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