Assignment: Synesthesia is an HR Issue?

You are an occupational nurse for a large corporation. One day the manager of a team rushes into your office in a panic. At a team building exercise, one of the employees mentions she has synesthesia. The manager is now concerned that some type of reasonable accommodation needs to be made to ensure she can perform her job fully. There have been some issues recently with this employee missing deadlines. Could it be due to her synesthesia?

You tell the manager you have never heard of this condition before but will do some research and get back to her. Once she leaves your office you begin your investigation. At the end of it, you need to prepare a brief (1–2 page) report for the manager explaining the following:

  • What is synesthesia
  • Medically how does it occur (be sure to focus on neuronal and sensory system features here)
  • What are the more common types of synesthesia
  • Could this condition be impacting the employee’s ability to meet deadlines
  • Any types of work projects that could be given to the employee that actually take advantage of her synesthesia

Rubric: Synesthesia is an HR Issue?

Criteria Ratings Pts
Synesthesia Definition Signs, symptoms, and specific tests used in diagnosis are discussed Signs and symptoms, and tests are discussed Major signs or symptoms not discussed 3 pts
Medical explanation Specific discussion focused on neuronal interpretation of sensory signals High level discussion that touches upon mismatch between sensory signals and neuronal perception Mismatch between sensory and neuronal systems not addressed 3 pts
Types of synesthesia At least 3 types of synesthesia are highlighted, with specific symptoms At least 2 types of synesthesia are highlighted, with specific symptoms 0–1 types of different synesthesia discussed 3 pts
Deadlines Possible impact of specific types of synesthesia on “time perceptions” are discussed General statement on synesthesia’s general impact on work performance Does not address work performance concerns 3 pts
Work Projects Specific skillsets or strengths of different forms of synesthesia are identified with “work projects” Different work projects suggested that may not be associated with specific types of synesthesia No specific work projects are suggested 3 pts
Total points: 15