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TOPIC: Explaining to others

Explaining to others 5 months 2 weeks ago #39465

  • lackita
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One of the biggest difficulties I've had since learning that I have aphantasia is explaining it to other people. Most people just don't seem to believe me, and it takes a lot of explaining to convince them. Has anybody found a way to explain it that isn't meet with disbelief?
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Explaining to others 5 months 1 week ago #39471

  • Jojo W
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Ask then if you can touch their back, then rub their hair, and put a sign on their back. Ask them if their hair is messed up and what the sign says.
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Explaining to others 5 months 1 week ago #39472

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I feel a little weird doing that and I'm not entirely sure it demonstrates anything. I've been trying to use the analogy that you wouldn't argue with a blind person that they can't see, but that feels a bit heavy handed.
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Explaining to others 4 months 1 week ago #39532

  • 303crown
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No, your blind person analogy sounds fine. it’s simple.
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Explaining to others 4 months 1 week ago #39534

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Yeah, I guess it's just that it's a bit of an extreme comparison. I was thinking the next time I'd try color blind instead of straight blind.
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Explaining to others 4 months 1 week ago #39537

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Yes, I will try that. I have only told a few, close to me, and some in a group I needed some help from. You have to understand only 2% of people have this, so it is fairly hard for non-A's to comprehend.
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Explaining to others 4 months 1 week ago #39538

  • Jojo W
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Yes color blind might be more easily understood.
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Explaining to others 3 months 3 weeks ago #39564

  • DeathWhinny
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I have only had a chance to explain to a few friends so far, but I have had good results by asking them to picture something - a sunset, their hand, whatever - and asking them to think about the details - like clouds around the sun or veins in the hand. Once everyone is picturing something, ask them to rate how vivid it is or discuss how much detail they saw. Then I tell them I rate a 0, I only ever literally see when I close my eyes blackness.

Particularly with groups, this is great as you generally get a range of responses which makes it easier for people to comprehend that you are just on the end of spectrum.
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Explaining to others 3 months 3 weeks ago #39565

  • Hollydolly
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As an introvert, I don't feel the need to tell many people, mostly just family and therapists. I have found it much easier to explain since I gave a lot of thought to how I think. (Words, concepts, and spaces, descriptive lists). I also explain that, before I knew aphantasia was a thing, I always thought people were speaking metaphorically about visualizing something. I thought everyone just used a list of descriptors. Most people can understand metaphors. I also like the color blind comparison, which I hadn't considered before. If they seem baffled but interested, I will point them to this site and to the BBC article, "The Man with the Blind Mind", which is where I first learned of aphantasia.
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Explaining to others 3 months 4 days ago #39650

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Hii guys,
I dont understand what is the need to tell everyone about this.... Do u want sympathy! Or you want to make them feel like u r disabled?? Seriously!!, are you going to get anything good by making your friends confused for nothing??! There is no need to tell others... Instead , u should be working hard and should be telling your friends about your success stories, rather than making aphantasia as the cause for any of your failures!!
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Explaining to others 3 months 4 days ago #39651

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Wow, that's a really rude way to respond to an honest question. I had several reasons for wanting advice on how to explain it:

1 When I asked the question I had just discovered I had aphantasia and was excited to tell my friends about
2 It provides a framework for describing why I'm having difficulty with something
3 It's a good conversation piece. Such as in those Icebreaker games where we're asked to share one interesting thing about ourselves
4 Being able to talk about it could allow somebody else to realize they have it as well

I completely understand you not wanting to share that piece of yourself, but I want to and was looking for advice on how to do so.
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Explaining to others 3 months 4 days ago #39652

  • DeathWhinny
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Completely agree, lackita.
I also wanted to address that I don't feel like aphantasia is a disability - everyone has varying strength and weaknesses and the more I chat about with friends (who are also really interested in comparing and trying to understand eachothers perspectives) the more I find advantages to offset the disadvantages!
Neurodiversity, just like regular diversity, isn't about better or worse - it just about a differences. And variety is what makes us strong as a species.
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Explaining to others 3 months 4 days ago #39653

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I don't think of it as a disability, but I do find it useful to be able to explain why something is difficult for me.
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Explaining to others 2 months 4 weeks ago #39670

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No I do not want sympathy. Want I would like is for people to understand that even if I have met them a few times I may not remember their name.
What I want is for those I know to understand that I am not really good at keeping in contact.
Who are you to say that anyone should be working hard, if you have this thing we do you must work harder for everything. OK go tell your friends all of your success stories, be a braggert.
It is better that people you know somewhat understand (even be confused by) knowing why one is the way one is, rather than them thinking you are uncaring.
My husband was disappointed that I don't have a romantic bone in my body, and I don't remember most of the things we have done together. Now he understands more. Wouldn't it be better to have friends know than to think that you are stupid and uncaring???????????
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Explaining to others 2 months 4 weeks ago #39671

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Let's not berate @Vishal2000 too much. I do see his point that we shouldn't tell people as a bid for attention or sympathy, he probably just didn't realize there were other motivations.
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Explaining to others 2 months 4 weeks ago #39674

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The point is I don't come here to insulted or have my motivations questioned. This is supposed to be a place where we can talk to others like us, not a place to have our character questioned, nor do I come here to be told what is the proper way to talk with people.
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Explaining to others 2 months 4 weeks ago #39675

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I get it, I just want to make sure we extend the same courtesy to @Vishal2000. It doesn't seem like he was trying to troll us, so I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt that it was an honest mistake. In any case, it seems like he was already scared off, so I suppose it's a moot point now.
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Explaining to others - sometimes it is necessary 2 months 3 weeks ago #39693

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My teenager has Aphantasia, and needs some minor accommodations in class. For example, alot of her math or science tests ask visual questions. "Image a triangle with x degrees at x point, now invert this..." or "draw this molecule"....
I met with teachers and told them she has Aphantasia and now they will not accommodate the need to change test questions, or accommodate any changes without the kid being coded for a disability by a physician....grrr....very frustrating.
I am not the one with Aphantasia, so can;t speak from experience but I don't believe it is a "learning disability" as most people with it function great/normally and likely are not even aware they have it.
Sometimes people need to ask for 'accommodations' like could you reword that, etc and that does not mean you are disabled - just different. Has anyone had to ask for changes at school or work and tried to explain this with success?
I originally tried to say it is like being 'blind in the mind' - and now stopped because it reinforces that concept that it is a disability.
Now I state that it is like only remembering words/text and feelings, and no images. You could remember how your experienced something but not what it looks like.
Last Edit: 2 months 3 weeks ago by Mom. Reason: misspelling
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Explaining to others - sometimes it is necessary 2 months 3 weeks ago #39694

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I am 66, I recently found out about my 'condition.' I do not know my complete multiplication tables by rout, Algebra and above were beyond me.
As someone who wanted to get a higher education and was told to not bother because I was not very intelligent. By the way, I had my IQ checked when I was in my 30's, it is above 120, yes, high average.
Yes, in my opinion it is a learning disability. If 98% of people process one way and teaching is done to the 98%, Aphantasia is a learning disability. That is not a dirty word, just a bald fact.
Maybe we should call it a learning differiental. That's an idea.
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Explaining to others 2 months 2 weeks ago #39695

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@Jojo W - I have to picky about words here - Aphantasia is NOT a learning disability! I have complete aphantasia and didn't know it until a few months ago, but I still did exceptionally well in school. The reason is because most of the things I was studying were set out of book work and most of my teachers styles were not image based - indeed, it was often considered to be a disadvantage to be a visual learner when I was at school! A learning disability means you are different in such a way that it is more difficult for you to learn across the board - I suspect the worst aphantasia does is predispose you to be more successful given certain teaching styles and I challenge you to show me someone who doesn't learn better with some styles than others.

@Mom - It is extremely frustrating when schools refuse to acknowledge that different isn't worse, sadly it will be a huge uphill battle to get them to acknowledge they can improve (based on my experiences). My advise would be rather than trying to get him certified as disabled or similar :blink: have someone verify his intelligence so you can demonstrate to the school that you have a smart child they are failing to teach. Additionally, rather than pushing for different questions (which can be prescribed by the syllabus), try pushing for considerations like additional time so he can draw things others can imagine and/or drawings to accompany any questions beginning with imagine...
I have had some success describing my experience to people as 'I completely lack sensory recall'. I would also suggest the term Neurodiversity as having a little more traction and general awareness than Aphantasia, which is really just a specific case of neurodiversity.
To your son, I would advise that descriptive lists of key points are your best friend and much easier (IE possible) to deal with than images (at least for me). Also, draw things out (however badly, artistic rendering is not the objective here) and label the things clearly. Then you can physically turn the paper upside down and see where the labels move to. Don't get stuck on drawing some well or accurately, just jot down a stick figure appoximation of the shape you can describe and label the key points - they can't mark you down on a science test for a poor image that is accurately labelled!
If you are based in Australia, PM me - there are some people doing a lot of research in NSW who might at least be able to help lend weight to the legitimacy of your argument with the school and possibly provide advise on how to adjust.
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