Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
|A few times, she's seen |
classmates sink into the floor.
- If she holds a piece of paper with text and images just right, she can see the space between the paper and text.
- Reading books -- she's an avid reader, but usually all letters look like they're lit from behind.
- If she looks at a busy page just right, the words come off and are in 3D in front of her. Bubble sheets for standardized tests? Forget about it!
- Just about every day she'll see everything in a color, she can see everything clearly, but everything will be green, or purple.
- Occasionally she can see auras around people (this may be due to her being a witch though).
- Sometimes, outdoors, shadows will have no gray values and look solid black.
- Lightning's been known to dance around the upper part of her bedroom walls.
- Once in a while, a person's head will disappear, or, look really, really big.
- In the classroom the desks around her will look like they're miles away from her.
- From her bunk bed, sometimes the floor of the room looks far away, like she said, "...like she's at the top of the Empire State Building looking down."
- Once in a great while, voices are delayed as they come out of a person's mouth -- like a badly dubbed movie.
- People can look like they're vibrating.
- At the optometrists office, the computer with the eye chart disappeared and she could only see the wall behind it.
- She can't write well. At all. Her handwriting looks like a third-grader's. She's in eighth grade.
- She can't write flush left. Even when she's trying, each line is a little more to the right, causing hand-written papers to look like an inverted triangle.
|Once, the hallway went upside down |
and she "fell" to the ceiling.
- Her own personal earthquake. Found her, the first time this happened, holding on to the ladder of her bunk bed for dear life, crying in a panic. When this happens, she can barely walk, because, well, there's an earthquake going on and the ground is moving.
- Once, she saw completely through a wall -- and could see the room and furniture on the other side. Her mind "fills in" what she cannot physically see.
- In gym class once, everyone was sinking into the floor, including her own feet and legs.
- Another time, she turned around and there was a black wall in front of her, in the middle of the kitchen! It took all her mental strength to realize it wasn't there and force herself to walk through it.
- When she's got a migraine, when she's laying on her bed, she can see her reflection in the ceiling above her. There's no mirror there. It's a white painted ceiling.
- Sometimes the ceiling looks like it is just at the end of her nose when she's laying down. That sets in panic. We have her wear a sleeping mask when a migraine starts.
- Sometimes the room will close up on her and she'll feel like she's gotten really large. Or sometimes the opposite, the room gets incredibly large and she feels like the size of a mouse.
- A couple times, when she's gotten up in the middle of the night with a migraine, on her way to our bedroom, the hallway has turned upside down, and she "falls" to the ceiling and we've found her crying on the floor.
- Another time, she was laying in bed with a migraine and she felt very small in the bed -- like the size of a doll, sheets and blankets all around. Then, minutes later she felt huge in the bed, with arms & legs hanging off all sides.
- Recently, in the middle of the night, while in the bathroom, the walls turned into mirrors and started closing in on her until she was very large in a very small mirrored room.
- Recently with migraines, she hears loud ringing.
- Another time, she knew a migraine was coming on when she could not see her reflection in the bathroom mirror.
- She once saw herself standing in front of herself, mirrored. She kept saying to herself, "She isn't there. She isn't there."
- And the worst one for a parent? When she's got her eyes open and can't see anything.
We've heard all the jokes -- like LSD without the side effects! Hallucinogenics without the expense! And for the most part, we try to keep it light. When she asks if we see something that she sees that we can't see, we usually say we see it too. Even if it's purple fuzzy dots wherever there's blue sky. But the migraine-warning, scary visuals we take very seriously.
When she was a just starting school, and learning to read, it was HARD! We hired a tutor to help her reading and writing in third grade. She couldn't verbalize what she saw and we didn't know there was an underlying problem. At first we thought is was dyslexia, or some other reading disability. That was ruled out by reading specialists. We then thought it was an eye problem. One optometrist had us convinced she had extreme tunnel vision and had us doing crazy eye "exercises" for a year -- things like walking in a figure eight pattern in the basement floor while reading a sheet of Ps, Qs, Ds and Bs we held out in a stationary spot.
|Sometimes she sees everything fine, |
but everything's the same color.
From what I've found, AIWS usually affects children. And, from what I've seen online, it seems to be mostly girls. Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, had a niece with it, hence the name (though his own use of psychotropic drugs probably help with his writing too). It can effect all senses -- some can feel a concrete wall and it'll feel soft, like feathers, or the opposite. With our daughter, it seems to be only sight and sound.
She's got some allowances in school to make it easier on her -- she can use a keyboard for writing since her handwriting is so bad; she can take tests and put answers in the booklet, and not use bubble sheets; she can have more time on tests if she needs it; she can have questions read to her, if she wishes; and she takes tests in a separate room, alone.
|Earthquakes have been known to start |
in the kitchen
There is no cure to speak of. Many women get migraines that effect them during different hormonally-charged times in their lives -- puberty, pregnancies, and menopause. Our only hope is that it fades away with puberty, which is a possibility.
We had her start a blog Wonderland Vision to chronicle some of the things she sees or goes through (though she's not made an entry in months). My thought was that she could contribute to the information out there about this rare condition. There really isn't too much out there about it. Even the neurologist knew of it, but had never had a patient with it. So this post isn't about gardening. It's about Alice in Wonderland Syndrome -- so that others trawling the web for AIWS might stumble across this and know what others have gone through.