It is currently very difficult to obtain a formal diagnosis of face blindness from either an educational (e.g. an educational psychologist) or a medical professional in the UK. Indeed, while there are formal systems in place for the diagnosis of other cognitive, perceptual, or socio-emotional disorders, both public and professional awareness of prosopagnosia is low. While the condition is recognised by the NHS (UK), it can be hard to access a professional with suitable expertise.
Some laboratories based at universities now offer screening sessions suitable for children, often linked to a formal research programme. If you would like to have your child tested by our team, please register your details with us here. We are currently running a number of research studies investigating different remediation techniques, and we will also provide you with information about these opportunities when you visit.
Because there is little awareness of prosopagnosia, it can be very difficult to gain professional support for your child. You may also be unsure whether you should advise your child's teachers and/or friends about the issue, perhaps because you are worried about how they will react. However, there are clearly safety issues associated with prosopagnosia, not least because a face blind child may be more likely to approach and trust a stranger. Whether or not to 'come out' about prosopagnosia is an issue that perplexes both adults and children with the condition, with many adults worrying about the implications for their career. Children may also worry about how their peers will react, and it is a complex decision with no right or wrong answer.
If you suspect a child may have face blindness, some insight can initially be gained by having an informal conversation with the child and his/her family. Do they frequently fail to recognize people? Are there any other explanations for their social behaviour or failures of recognition? It may be that you agree a screening session would be useful. If you would like support with this or to utilise our resources, please register here. If a child is happy to go public about their face blindness, you could discuss strategies with teachers that may help with the child's socialisation at school. For instance, a teacher could switch to using a seating plan for their classes to help the face blind child identify peers, and can encourage other children to initiate conversations with the child and to remember they should identify themselves at the start of an interaction. It may also help for the child to have a 'buddy' in the playground who wears a distinctive marker.