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Cerebral Palsy and ’the mind’s eye’

LeonM Member Posts: 3 Listener
edited September 2014 in Cerebral palsy
Hi, I'm a 17 year old boy with mild spastic diplegia and ataxic . rebral palsy. Bear with me here, the post does relate to CP. I'm at colleg. at the moment and I'm studying psychology amongst other things. We study cognitive psychology as part of the course, mainly looking at memory. I learned. hat there is a part of your short term memory called "the visuo-spatial sketchpad".

The visuo-spatial sketchpad is our "inner eye" so it controls the ability to picture things in your head and rotate them and things like that. It also deals with depth perception.

Now here's the thing: I can't picture anything in my head at all. For example I could tell you what an apple looked like, some are green, some are red, theyre spherical blah blah blah. But if I close my eyes and try to see an apple in my mind, nothing happens, I just see black space constantly.

Therefore I think my cerebral palsy has affected my visuo-spatial sketchpad as not only can I not picture things, but I have bad depth perception because of my ataxic CP, something which is controlled by the visuo-spatial sketchpad.

I'm basically looking for people with ataxic CP to tell me whether or not they can picture things in their head or ask people with ataxic CP so that I can see if my idea is correct or not. Thanks!


  • forgoodnesssake
    forgoodnesssake Member Posts: 406 Pioneering
    This is really interesting....I asked my 15 year old son who has athetoid CP and he said he can picture things in his head, however he has no speech (at all) and uses alternatives such as a communication aid and spelling board and he cannot "hear" sounds in his head (for example to sound out words) or talk to himself in his head. So he has an inner eye but no inner voice....
  • LeonM
    LeonM Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Wow that's interesting, thanks. This is what I'm thinking: I don't know much about athetoid CP but I just checked on the internet and apparently speech is affected. There's another part of the short-term memory called the phonological loop which consists of the phonological store (inner ear) and articulatory loop (inner voice)... I know speech in athetoid CP is affected because of the tongue and vocal cords but maybe there's a link there somewhere, who knows?
  • kingboy25
    kingboy25 Member Posts: 57 Listener
    Hi I asked my adult son your question and he can both see pictures and hear sound/words in his mind. He has Athetosis with Ataxic overtones. While his speech is difficult especially when he is tired most people can understand him most of the time.
  • eranthe
    eranthe Member Posts: 4
    That was the first time I heard about visuo spatial sketchpad, since I'm not psychology graduate. According in an article that I read regarding visuo spatial, it could be done through practice using visualization and conscious effort. So, I guess you can attain that by practice.
  • Nuala Watt
    Nuala Watt Member Posts: 30 Listener

    I have spastic diplegia and a neurological visual impairment related to cerebral palsy. I can picture objects and words in my head - I know what an apple looks like but I cannot work out how objects relate to each other. I've lived in the same place all my life, but I am perpetually lost as I can't picture spatial arrangements in my head. When my mother offered to rearrange my room I couldn't work out what she meant. I find chess impossible because I can't work out how the pieces relate to each other. My depth perception is bad - I often can't work out what is a line on the floor and what is actually a step. I think my visuo-spatial sketch board must be out the window, but other parts of my brain, such as language areas, are fine, so that's ok. It would be interesting to know how many other people with cp have similar problems.
  • Lizzie
    Lizzie Member Posts: 2
    Im mild athetoid and I have an active imagination and do "hear" things. I do write alot and that is a relief!
  • Noah
    Noah Member Posts: 423 Pioneering
    edited July 2014
    Interesting post. I don't have any binocular vision. Whatever that is......!!! I can visualize things well, although I can't spell or visualize words, as very dyslexic! That's what spell checks are for! My eyes have never worked well together from birth. Have you spoken to an eye specialist about your theory? Let us know what you find out from your research. All the very best with your studies.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 126 Listener
    Hi @LeonM I know this is from a few years ago but I've just spotted it and wanted to reach out!

    Away from work, I recently became part of a research project focused on Aphantasia run by the University of Exeter.  You might like to check it out.  

    Hope this is useful.



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