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5yo DS doesn't recognize friends and classmates

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

DS seems to have no problem recognizing family members but often doesn't recognize his friends and classmates.  For example, he has a friend 'C' who he has known his whole life and sees every month or so (C's dad and my DH are friends) but does not recognize if he sees outside of our home or C's home.  DH brought C along to pick DS up from preschool recently and DS had to ask DH who it was, same thing happened when they ran into each other at the park.  DS says he thought it might be C but wasn't sure.  He also hesitates before greeting his best friend at school, like he's not sure if it's her or not.    He seems a little nervous or embarassed about it, like he knows he should recognize them.  We saw one of his preschool classmates at the zoo this weekend and DS had no idea who he was but I had never met this classmate and couldn't  help him out.  


His vision checks out fine at the doctor's office screenings, so I don't think that's the problem. 


Does anyone have any experience with this? 

post #2 of 7

I don't have any personal experience with this, but I do recall seeing something about face blindness on TV one time. Basically some people don't recognize people by their faces, they use other clues to know who's who.

post #3 of 7

It's called Prosopagnosia. I think I have this to a mild degree. It takes me forever to recognize people I know. Even my own kids, sometimes I would go to daycare to pick them up and guess wrong for a second or two, based on their shirt or something. I know it sounds really really strange, but I think it is like being word blind - dyslexia, or math blind. Oddly, I am also EXTREMELY visual, so I'm not sure how I can be both at the same time. I'm in my 40s, so no one ever heard of this when I was a kid, people just assumed I was slightly anti-social or too lazy to remember. I am neither, and I hope with the gain in knowledge about it that the ride will be a bit easier for your child than it was for me. 

post #4 of 7

I have this.  It is commonly known as "face blindness" and there are varying degrees.  I once walked right past my husband on a crowded sidewalk because I wasn't expecting to see him. (He reached out to touch my arm and he says I gave him a "back-off" look!)   Most people don't know I have the problem, and it can be awkward sometimes.  If I expect to see someone, I can recognize them by their hair or walk or voice.  When friends color/cut their hair it screws me up big time!  Just reassure your son that it is not his fault -- he is not a bad friend, or stupid, or self-centered (I was often told I was self-centered and didn't care about other people, and that is why I didn't recognize them . . . )    I'm sure there are strategies nowdays to help a child cope -- you can start by googling it.  Give him a hug for me!

post #5 of 7

I remember seeing a program about a woman with what was considered total  "face blindness".  They talked about the continuum: how some people never forget a face, how some (like my husband) recognize people they've seen once before even if they don't actually know them, to people like me who don't always recognize people out of place, to people with true "face blindness", to varying degrees.


The woman highlighted was honest with her friends, and developed a system where as a friend approached, the friend would say her name.


If you've noticed this for awhile, and your son is starting to recognize it as something he's trying to hide or compensate for, it's time to help him. I'd mention it to his teacher, and see if she can work with hints and cues to help him. With something to call it, you may get farther with the doctors, too.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 


post #7 of 7

I don't know if he has anything "official" but my husband does not recognize people out of context.  If he is looking for me in a store or crowd, I will have to WAVE to him or something beyond just making eye contact.  His eyes will slide right past me.

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