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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Prosopagnosia


12th December 2011
Dear Cassi,

 Ever have one of those words that you should know, but it simply falls out of your head whenever you hear it? For me that word is Prosopagnosia a condition where you cannot recognize faces. I should know this because, I have Associative Prosopagnosia and have trouble putting faces to names.
    
 When I was a young boy I would go to class and see lumps of clay atop necks instead of faces I could put name to and often had to wait for someone to speak before I knew who they were. I even had trouble recognizing my father when he shaved his beard or changed his hair.
     
As it is possible that this condition came from trauma to the back of my head when I was very young some of the experts may call what I have Prosophenosia which involves the occipital area of the brain, the vision area, rather than the Fusiform Gyrus, the face recognition center. Without extensive testing I can never know which, but a name on the problem has given me some closure.
     
Another of the greater obstacles in dealing with this problem is the fact the many have little understanding of its nature. For example, my psychology teachers believe that the condition was beyond recovery because they have no idea of how the brain deals with the problem.
    
 When I look at you I know that’s your nose and your chin. For the longest time it was putting those things into perspective that I had problems with, and during that time I went by voices and body shape. I remember giving out Valentine’s Day cards to my class one year, I think I was four, and not knowing who any of them were simply handed cards out at random. It was an embarrassing problem that placed me in a box for most of my life separated from the world and alone.

Keep warm, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal

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