As I was driving my 14-year-old son, Joe, home from an after-school activity yesterday, he was all a buzz about the Internet battle that has recently taken place. According to Joe, his entire high school of roughly 2,000 students were captivated by the fight over #thedress and even a bit freaked out by this Internet sensory phenomenon.
It started as a simple Tmblr post of a picture of a dress by a 21-year-old singer and guitarist, Caitlin McNeill. She was looking for consensus on the color of the dress because it was “messing with my head.” McNeill’s Tumblr post soon migrated to Buzzfeed, Facebook and Twitter.
Some thought #thedress was gold and white, as did close to three-quarters of BuzzFeed poll respondents. When we were stopped at a traffic light, Joe held his iPhone® up for me to check out #thedress and like Kayne West and Taylor Swift, I saw it as black and blue. Later that evening I wondered how many of my students with social skills deficits had checked out #thedress and how they might have reacted or interacted with others about it.
Friend and colleague, Master’s level teacher, Kerri Berry, shared an insightful article from HackedTime.com that utilized #thedress incident as a way of discussing how differently people see and perceive things and most importantly, that one is not necessarily superior than the other.
According to Karla Fisher who runs the popular Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Facebook page, she has to spend time focusing on a specific area, “until my eyes can actually make sense of that small area and then I can move on. It isn’t about colors or not colors. It is rather about dress or not dress.” Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, noted that in spite of sensory issues being reported within the research literature, it is only recently that they have begun to garner additional attention, which he attributes to the recent inclusion of sensory issues in the 2013 update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Click here to read the article in its entirety.
with thanks to Kerri Berry and Joe MacFarland