Just discovered my 7 year old daughter is aphantasic (and so is my hubby)

We’ve known for over a year that my husband is aphantasic. He is very smart and has learned to adapt very well with it. He hates reading anything  fictional  and only others educational articles or resources. He is a pilot and can relay on memorization, strong understanding of the digital tools and lots of practice.

Yesterday we discovered my youngest daughter who just turned 7 is aphantasic. I think we both kind of knew as she processes everything so different than her hyper visual sister and mom.  She struggles with reading, but loves Minecraft world creating.  She is doing okay in school but it’s hard and she is definitely not enthusiastic. She talks about it like an angst teenager ready to be done with it all.

Any resources or tips out there helping my young daughter? I want to help her understand all the amazing ways to thrive with this condition. Thank you


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on February 19, 2021

Hi Corrine, I love your intention to "help her understand all the amazing ways to thrive"! It is also awesome to hear of these early-childhood discoveries, since it appears (at least to me) that aphantasic self-awareness often may serve as a catalyst for curiosity, more internal reflection, a higher openness to discussing these internal experiences, and, as a result, elevated critical thinking.

Jennie, one of ur founders here at the network, will reach out directly! She has something to share, that we hope will help with your request 🙂

Thank you so much!


I’m certainly not an expert. But based upon my experience of not knowning I am aphantasic until I was past 60, finding out at such a young age will be a great help. She will have the advantage of knowning that there will be certain activities that will be more difficult and she will need to develop compensation techniques. At the same time, she will find activities that she excels at.

I spent the majority of my childhood believing that I was below average in intelligence. It beat up my self confidence (along with some other things about me) so much that I didn’t even try until college. You have the opportunity to avoid that by helping her understand how her mind works. Your husband can be a huge help in this.

Gather as much info as you can. Just by being here, you are giving her a great gift.

One point I think a lot about, which Greg touches on above, is how children are taught at school from the perspective of people who can visualise internally, and likely have no knowledge that there are children in class who aren’t able to do that i.e athantasia
When I was at school, a lot of the memory techniques that were attempted to be taught to help children remember were based on visualizing objects to associate with certain facts etc, especially for exam revision purposes or imagining english story writing, and so obviously for me this technique falls flat on its face, and not only doesn’t work, is actually quite frustrating when you don’t know why it doesn’t work and keep trying given everyone else seems to be finding it easy.
So perhaps my takeaway here is that teachers should be more aware of this, and specifically perhaps you could talk to your child’s teachers as they progress through the various phases of education, to let them know about this and raise awareness more generally.
In the ideal world perhaps children could be asked a simple visualisation test task when they start school to detect potential aphants so they can be taught slightly different memory recall techniques.

I understand the why she might not like school in general, but that’s just as likely to be unrelated (I did exceptionally well in school despite aphantasia, it just requires motivation and a lot of self-effort to reframe and restructure information for better comprehension yourself). Minecraft and other “external visualizers” can be absolutely amazing from what I’ve found. Sketching, minecraft, Computer Aided Design software (I learned sketchup as a kid), video editing, photoshop, etc. all massively assisted in my development.

Not liking fiction is interesting. I find that I greatly enjoy fiction, but it’s more about the “feeling” and “flow” of the story, nothing too specific to the characters or locales described. I think that fiction might be harder for those with aphantasia, but it can still be experienced in a different way (I was read a ton of books as a kid, so that might have helped too).

Good luck, and definitely consider speaking with teachers. You don’t want to embarrass or make her seem “dumb”, it’s just a noteworthy difference after all, but if she isn’t taking action herself to adjust strategies and engage with the content, performance probably won’t improve at ton at my guess.