Everything You Need to Know About Prosopagnosia, the Disorder That Causes Face Blindness

Recently, Brad Pitt revealed that he has facial blindness, also known as prosopagnosia. Although uncommon, it can cause problems for youngsters, making it crucial for parents to be informed. Here’s everything you need to know about prosopagnosia and how it may affect children.

A familiar face can be reassuring on the first day of school and a delightful surprise during a Disney trip.

But not everyone can recall faces, including those of their own relatives and friends. A rare neurological ailment known as prosopagnosia, or facial blindness, affects roughly 1 in 50 people to some degree, according to a study. Brad Pitt states in a recent GQ interview that he believes he is one of these individuals.

“Nobody believes me!” Pitt said.

In a 2013 Esquire interview, Pitt stated that he frequently stays at home due to this illness. He claims that his failure to recognize the features of familiar persons leads others to believe he is unapproachable.

This illness can also affect children. However diagnosis is difficult. Everything parents should know about face blindness is outlined below.

Richard Cook and Federica Biotti described two kinds of prosopagnosia in the 2016 issue of Current Biology.

  • Adults often develop acquired prosopagnosia following brain damage, such as a stroke or an accident.
  • Developing prosopagnosia is characterized by the inability to distinguish faces in the absence of a brain lesion. These people typically have average IQ and vision and have no trouble recalling other areas of their lives.

According to Cook and Biotti, the cause of facial blindness is unknown, but it may be inherited.

Sarah Bate, a lecturer from the United Kingdom, said that it could be difficult to distinguish between face blindness and other behavioral disorders in youngsters. Yet, frequent childhood symptoms include:

  • Constant trouble recognizing familiar persons in unfamiliar situations, such as recognizing a soccer coach during supermarket shopping.
  • They exhibit clinginess in public because they fear being separated from you in a new environment.
  • Unusual reliance on exterior qualities, such as a teacher’s haircut, as a substitute for facial features.
  • Withdrawal from school and extracurricular activities.
  • Having difficulty following the stories of television and film.

Cook and Biotti argued that prosopagnosia could have multiple effects on the lives of children. “Children with the disorder may have trouble identifying classmates and teachers at school,” they noted.

If the child attends a school that mandates uniforms or is surrounded by people with similar hairstyles, it might be very challenging for him or her to distinguish between individuals. Identical clothing and haircuts eliminate distinguishing external characteristics, requiring the child to focus on facial characteristics, which is problematic for children with prosopagnosia.

Diagnosis is difficult. According to Cook and Biotti, the condition is not included as a psychiatric disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and “no formal diagnostic criteria exist.” Current diagnostic methods include:

  • The Cambridge Face Memory Test: Involves displaying three faces to a youngster. One is the target face, while the other two are distractor faces. The kid will be asked to determine the identity of the target face.
  • Cambridge Face Perception Test: A youngster will be asked to arrange sequences of faces depending on their resemblance to the target face.

Providers and researchers typically rely on repeated facial recognition tests and self-reporting. They will only diagnose face blindness in a youngster if there is substantial evidence.

Bates said that limited therapeutic options are available for children with face blindness because little is known about the disorder. But, you can advocate for your child by meeting with school officials and requesting that other children identify themselves by name when approaching your child. This will aid in the child’s ability to recall. Assigning seats might also help children recall their classmates.

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