“A room full of strangers every day”: the psychosocial impact of developmental prosopagnosia on children and their families

Dalrymple, Kirsten A. and Fletcher, Kimberley and Corrow, Sherryse and Das Nair, Roshan and Barton, Jason J.S. and Yonas, Albert and Duchaine, Brad (2014) “A room full of strangers every day”: the psychosocial impact of developmental prosopagnosia on children and their families. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 77 (2). pp. 144-150. ISSN 1879-1360

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Abstract

Objective: Individuals with developmental prosopagnosia (‘face blindness’) have severe face recognition difficul¬ties due to a failure to develop the necessary visual mechanisms for recognizing faces. These difficulties occur in the absence of brain damage and despite normal low-level vision and intellect. Adults with developmental prosopagnosia report serious personal and emotional consequences from their inability to recognize faces, but little is known about the psychosocial consequences in childhood. Given the importance of face recognition in daily life, and the potential for unique social consequences of impaired face recognition in childhood, we sought to evaluate the impact of developmental prosopagnosia on children and their families.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 8 children with developmental prosopagnosia and their parents. A battery of face recognition tests was used to confirm the face recognition impairment reported by the parents of each child. We used thematic analysis to develop common themes among the psychosocial experiences of the children and their parents.

Results: Three themes were developed from the child reports: 1) awareness of their difficulties, 2) coping strat¬egies, such as using non-facial cues to identify others, and 3) social implications, such as discomfort in, and avoid¬ance of, social situations. These themes were paralleled by the parent reports and highlight the unique social and practical challenges associated with childhood developmental prosopagnosia.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate a need for increased awareness and treatment of developmental prosopagnosia to help these children manage their face recognition difficulties and to promote their social and emotional wellbeing

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Children, Developmental, Prosopagnosia Face, Recognition Psychosocial, Social development, Thematic analysis
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.06.001
Depositing User: Dziunka, Patricia
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2016 10:39
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 13:45
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/34991

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