I’m assuming it’s mostly the Asperger deal but this lack of close friendship is killing me right now. I’m going through a lot internally and I feel so terribly lonely. I wish I had someone to go on walks with, and bike rides. I was bicycling nearly the whole day today, and it was lovely and beautiful and felt good physically, but I’ve entered into a depression as of late and things are pretty hard because of that.
BOOOO!! I say, very poorly done, textbook publishers. You were given the “yes” option to enable Text To Speech in your recent textbook editions and you CHOSE to disable the feature. You didn’t just ignore the question — you CHOSE to deny folks from being able to read your textbooks with our ears.
I’m talking to you right now, Cengage Learning.
Here, I’ve sent off my cranky request to them:
“I am a student with reading disabilities. I wanted to rent my textbooks through Amazon’s website this semester. But your books say there is no Text-To-Speech enabled. What can I do about this? I cannot get through a textbook using my eyes. I need my ears.
Must I rely on the Disability Support Services of my school to scan each page of my textbook for me, run it through their own software, and hand me back the audio CD, when it is right there in front of me, in your e-text content, if only you would enable the TTS ability?
If I rent a textbook through your CourseSmart site, will the TTS be available? How do I know?
There are some truly amazing technologies out there to help a person READ (or in my case, to HEAR-read).
I want to share a couple of my searches with you guys.
First of all, there is the smart phone voice itself. I can only describe this from the perspective of an iPhone user — but it is quite easy with the iPhone. Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > And you will find all sorts of wonderful options here!! You can turn on features to speak highlighted text to you, and/or you can turn on a “2-fingered swipe” down from the top of your phone screen to automatically read aloud whatever text is on your screen!! (I LOVE IT.) And most importantly, to me, you can adjust the speed of the voice, and the gender, and even the accent they use! Personally, I find the male voice for U.K. English the least distracting/easiest to follow for me.
When I 2-finger-swipe down from the top of the screen, a very easy menu pops up so I can adjust the speed of the reading even while it’s reading to me. I can also pause and rewind and such. Fabulous invention.
Next up, I have only tried a couple of apps so far that will READ ALOUD whatever text you happen to have laying around!!! Say you are trying to read a book — you can just use your smartphone, open up this app (my favorite so far is called TurboScannerOCR), and use it to snap a picture of the book page. Then you have the option of adjust the boundaries of the page you want read (for example, maybe you only want a single paragraph read to you, not the whole thing). Then you click OCR on the app, and it turns the picture into text — editable, savable, READ-ALOUD-ABLE words. I am then just 2-finger-swiping down my screen and voilà! It’s all read aloud to me!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!
This app is FREE and you don’t have to upgrade to use it!!! I personally did pay $2.99 to remove the ads, however, because I love the app so much. I am planning on using it to read aloud any part of my upcoming textbooks that I will need help getting through this semester!!!
This one doesn’t count — it’s not for ear reading. But I want to mention this here really quickly anyway. There are other devices that can help. I wish I’d had this in grade school — I have the “Rivers” reading disorder and this would have been SO wonderful. As it was, I improvised for myself eventually by using a sheet of paper above and below the line of text I was reading. But look at this! Too perfect! And actually, I would still find this useful today. I usually get lazy and use my own hand to block text below the line I’m reading, but this is fabulous and colored layouts are supposed to be useful for some people. This one’s about $20.
They do come in other colors from other companies, however, and some are only a few dollars (but do not block as much text). There are many options out there — even colored tapes that you can lay down to make your own sort of line highlights as you read.
The Intel Reader, sometimes marketed for people with Dyslexia but also good for other vision/reading issues, looks fabulous. It’s is the most portable I’ve found of these types of devices. It basically snapshots your paper, book page, whatever, turns it to text, and reads it to you. It also displays it on the screen and you can increase the font size or whatever you need to do. This picture doesn’t show how small and basically awesome it is. I watched a video on it in use and it’s pretty amazing. BUUUT it’s going to run you at LEAST $500.
Reading pens. These look just super cool, and SO portable and usable. I’m hesitant to buy one, however, just because it’s only able to “read” the line you’re scanning, obviously. I can’t imagine wanting to go over every line of my textbook like this. I wanted something that can snapshot the whole page and read it aloud to me. But for smaller things or daily things, wouldn’t this be awesome??? I think they’re going to run you like $200. Of course, these have really cool features, like you can look up a word you don’t understand right then and there. It is a dictionary and can give synonyms and all kinds of neato stuff! Some can translate English to Spanish. I’m not sure about other languages.
Now for the ones I wish I could afford because they’d be so EEAASSYY to use once set up!!!!! I mean, check this sucker out. Just set down your book and boom. Text to speech (and magnified or highlighted text on the screen, if you wish to eye-read along). And BOOM, minimum $1700, sometimes MORE.There are other devices along this same line, but they’re all very expensive like this one.
So that’s my list for today!!!!! I think this covers the basic gist of the assistive technologies that I would personally find really useful and great. ENJOY!!!!!
I wonder if this book is any good?
I wish desperately that I had some good material on executive function that would at least help me explain to people around me why I behave how I behave sometimes. I’m still very disturbed about having frustrated Peter this morning. But when discussing it briefly at the train station, he didn’t seem to understand/accept when I mentioned that it’s hard for me to feel urgency to leave without external stimulus. I just imagine that it could only help things if I could send him reading material about it. If he can’t understand it, then he can’t understand me, and that would be a pretty sad problem.
Here’s something else: http://www.drthomasebrown.com/pdfs/Executive_Functions_by_Thomas_Brown.pdf
This looks good: http://musingsofanaspie.com/executive-function-series/
I just wish. I wish wish wish. Why do I always feel like the people in my life don’t believe me? Like I have to fricking prove myself to others. I’ve been alive with myself for over 3 decades. I think I’d know by now, you know? I wasn’t born yesterday. I didn’t just decide this on a whim, that this is why I have some problems timing my morning routine. Or buying ingredients but then not having a clue what to do with any of them.
Just. Whatever. I am so tired of feeling misunderstood and disbelieved. It’s disrespectful. Why would I want someone in my life who disbelieves me? Why do I have to feel compelled to show documentation in order to explain that some of my behaviors follow such & such pattern and that’s what I’m trying to figure out the work-arounds for? But I know a life without that aspect being believed. I know it already and that’s a failed life. I won’t do that.
I’ll continue working to improve my morning routine (I’ve succeeded an amazing number of times now — but you have no idea how amazing it is. My mom knows, though. Even my uncle knows). I’ve been doing really well. I even did fairly well this morning at getting ready quickly, with the exception of deciding to have breakfast, and even then I don’t think I took too long over eating. It must have been when I was trying to prevent one cat from eating the other cat’s breakfast. That did take a while. Peter must have been waiting for me then. Regardless, it was the conversation afterward that is bothering me.
I want to be alone right now. Lick my wounds (I’m hyper sensitive and find that even just learning that someone was frustrated is very ouchy for me). Because I don’t ever want to make him late and I feel like if I had only KNOWN when he was trying to get out the door, I could have helped toward that goal. Instead I was in my own little world, which is my default state. And that, he didn’t seem to believe in — that my default state has no internal motivations. I have no sense of urgency without external stimulus. He didn’t believe that. How do I explain what I meant?
It takes too much energy and effort. I find that I’m tired. I accidentally slept for a while at my desk today! I can’t believe it. I might just go home right now. Nobody has asked me to do anything. I was going to vacuum but I could do it tomorrow instead.
Apr 8 – Apr 10 (Wed – Fri): Visiting with my parents
I haven’t had a chance yet to write about the bicycle trip with my family and friends. It was wonderful. I can hardly wait to write about it in a bit of detail and include some pictures. I took a lot of pictures, some of which I’m excited about.
Anyway, so tomorrow is the 10th and my parents will leave. I wasn’t going to write until after this trip time period was completely over, but my mood is iffy these past two days and I worry it’ll get worse tomorrow after my parents leave.
It was a very large emotional let-down when the bicycling trip came to an end and we found ourselves back here. The trip was a vacation for me in every way. I’ll write about it soon (it’s hard not to right now).
But now my mood is wavering. I’m okay. I’m stable. Then I feel my smile start to crack and some anxiety to come to my face. I want to stay upbeat but this is going to be so hard to watch them leave. I love every moment I spend with my parents. I have for many years. I had lived with them post-college very happily up until I got married. I would still be living with them right now if not for my being afraid of my ex/ not feeling safe out there anymore. So I must stay away.
Now I’ll confess I have a second interest out here: “Peter”. If I knew beyond doubt that somehow my ex no longer lived in my parents’ state and would never return, and it was completely safe for me to live with my parents again, I would hesitate at this time. I’m very interested in letting things play out for me and “Peter”. I still don’t know when or if I can/will ever see my beloved dog again. Life is strange.
So here’s the log part of this post. My parents and I came back from the bicycling trip. We had to drop stuff off, return the vehicle, and then I actually had to go to work for a brief time, to add the finishing touches to a report and mail it out. I showed my parents around my workplace, showed them the area, and then we walked all around a lake to kill many hours while waiting for my brother to finish work. We got to see many birds, the beautiful lake area, and a huge garden. My dad had a beautiful Tussock moth caterpillar crawling on his back at one point there. I looked up its food and returned it to a tree that looked like what it likes to eat, in spite of them being considered somewhat potentially invasive.
We ate out with my brother and viewed his apartment and chatted with him for a bit.
Today, my parents and I went to the city my brother works in and I showed them my old workplace and the gardens I ate lunch at on some of my work days. Then we met with my brother for lunch at an amazing restaurant with a view of the water. He had to go back to work but my parents and I walked and walked and walked the entire rest of my brother’s work shift. We traveled the shore and I saw some really pretty birds and then my dad pointed out a sea lion. We looked over and saw a sea lion swimming up to us and staring at us. It was amazing. He just swam in one place, staring right at us, snorting and yawning sometimes. One woman exclaimed how she wished she’d brought some “num nums” with her. It was adorable. He was definitely expecting us to drop him food. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people feed the sea lions.
So then my brother got off of work and we all took the train back to his place. Imagine me with my brother and our parents, all taking the train. I begged my brother to take a picture of all of us and he did. It’s a pretty funny picture. So then he took us to a dessert place to pick up treats for later, and then headed to my aunt & uncle’s place. My uncle is very ill but cooked us all a delicious soup. We all chatted for a while and then I freaked out because I got a letter from the state saying they didn’t accept my tax return after all and are requesting all kinds of documents to prove what I’d submitted via TurboTax. I knew it was too good to be true that I didn’t owe any state taxes. How did TurboTax lead me so wrong, though? I put in all of my information very carefully.
So then my brother left. My mom showed me one episode of Doc Martin, a TV show. And she’s even gotten to tuck me in tonight, for the first and last time for who knows how long. But I couldn’t stay in bed because my mood was so iffy. I wanted to come here to write and sort out some things from my brain.
I think you can see that this time period will be hard for me. I wish that my parents and my dog lived near me here. I don’t want to say goodbye to them. It’s going to be very sad and very hard. And frankly I think I balance them, too. It’s hard for people to understand my dad correctly a lot of the time. Even my mom has expressed some things that kind of shocked me. He’s been alienating a lot of people lately with the very, very blunt things he sometimes blurts out. She thinks it’s getting much worse and he’s saying very offensive things and that maybe it’s a chemical imbalance or maybe he’s trying to alienate everyone and her on purpose. I don’t believe that one for a second. I suggested she take them to a marriage counselor. i know her well enough to know this can’t get any better; she’ll only fret more and more about it unless she’s able to talk with someone about it and get some kind of answers or suggestions. I hope this gets worked out. I got to see a lot in action during this trip. Some things were very, very interesting.
I just wrote a ton of things but I deleted them since my opinions on it don’t really matter. I love both of my parents so much. But it’s more than that. It’s also that I can’t see my dad surviving without my mom. So it’s very scary to think of her leaving him, which I’m not at all saying is going to happen. But I can also see that she has been living for a very, very long time with someone unable to offer any kind of emotional support, comfort, or a hug. Literally. And although I root for them 100%, I can also say that I personally seek a kind, gentle soul with understanding and external heart. But he has so, so, so much to offer in other areas.
Anyway. So after they leave tomorrow, I have to go back to work. Vacation will be over. I cannot believe how overcome with dread I am at the thought of going back to work there. I had to go back briefly yesterday, as I mentioned, and I was really shocked by the STRENGTH of my aversion to being there/ doing that work. I seriously MUST find a new job SOON.
Back to the topic of my parents. I like living with both of my parents together. I like living with my dad when my mom’s gone. And I like living with my mom when my dad’s gone. That felt important to point out. How much I like them both and together.
I have a whole ‘nother topic I wish to write about soon, as well. I’ll leave you in suspense. Apr 8 – Apr 10 Mood Ranking: 3.75-7.25 (Up when with my parents; down when thinking about work)
I didn’t know there were actual stim toys available for sale! -Cut for length-
Another distraction for reading was that I have a lot of floaters in my eyes, particularly my right eye. 99% of them do not bother me. I am fine with them. In fact, I used to play games with them in elementary school. When I had insomnia for hours, I’d have my nightlight on and would “flick” my floaters all the way up and let them glide downward. FLICK, glide downward. FLICK, glide downward. I’m easily entertained. (This is prior to OCD poster counting at night.)
But one of them is not the normal type. It is a large, solid black dot about the size of the head of a nail when focused on a sheet of paper in front of me.
It is large enough and solid enough that it covers up words when I am reading sometimes. I’ve had it for literally as long as I can remember. It used to be terribly distracting because obviously it moves around on the page as my eyes are trying to read, plus it can cover up important letters or words sometimes.
Okay, BONUS TOPIC time. I didn’t know what to call this, in other words.
In middle school, my room was arranged such that if I tried to read in bed, I couldn’t see the page I was trying to read because my lamp light struck my eye in just a way that all I could see were the veins in my eye. My parents didn’t believe me. I was finally able to discuss it with an eye doctor and learn that I was not hallucinating or anything — I’m just sensitive and indeed the light can easily strike my eye in such a way that I can’t see the real world, just the blood vessels and such in my eye.
I’m having trouble locating any Internet images that show what I mean BUT YOU CAN TRY IT FOR YOURSELF. This video shows you how to see your own network of blood vessels in a small amount very easily (and starts out completely fascinating to boot):