Assistive Technologies for READING (with your ears)!!!!!

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.


  1. 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.


  2. 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!!!


  3. 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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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!!!!!

Log: Jun 30 – Jul 3 (Tue – Fri) Free music

Jun 30 (Tue): Therapy 8:30a; Work 10:30a – 6:15p; Free music performance 8p
Jul 1 (Wed): Work 9:30a – 5:30p
Jul 2 (Thu): Work 8:07a – 6:30p; Free music performance 8p
Jul 3 (Fri): Work 11a – 5:30p

I’m not going to separate out these days. But on Tuesday and Thursday, Peter & I did attend the free music performances in the evening! I’m so glad. My favorite music teacher was playing!!! Next year, I’ll sign up for the music workshops in advance.

I’ve gotten so much done this week. But there are two things I need to do still. One is something for work. The other is to turn in my letter of resignation to my bosses. I’m so afraid of doing that. I’ve already written the letter but I can’t bring myself to turn it in. I had mentioned to my uncle a week or two ago that I was seriously considering taking classes this fall, he suggested I look into the nearby college by my workplace because they offer evening classes… So then I chickened out telling him that it’s going to involve me quitting work.

I have to be brave. It’ll give him over a month to find a replacement. But I have to actually let him know, so he can start looking.

Meanwhile, I called my health insurance again on the last possible day I could hope to apply for the government health care program, and they were able to contact the woman who makes decisions about appeals, and she looked at my case and APPROVED IT. So I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. Hallelujah!!!

Then yesterday, I finally called the college where I’m trying to sign up for the fall classes, and they searched their emails to find my paperwork, found it, scanned it over with me on the phone, and approved it, too!!!!! So my English waiver got approved and I was able to sign up for the core class I previously couldn’t register for!!!! Yay. So I’ve got my class schedule all set now. Then I went and applied for the FAFSA stuff so that I can hopefully qualify for a little bit of Work Study, I’m hoping for Friday morning. That would get me on the campus on Fridays and give me the rest of the day there to do homework.

One thing about me: I do not. do homework. at home.

Do. Not.

I’d love to. But belieeeevvveee me, it doesn’t happen. I don’t have the discipline or focus. So I’ve set my entire schedule up to be morning classes M – R, and the rest of the day, I will stay on campus to do homework until dinner time, when I’ll go home. Pretty damn exciting stuff. I’ve signed up for more credits than I could normally handle (14), but two of the classes should be really easy for me — they are computer stuff that I have done before, but don’t know enough of the fancy formulas in Excel and whatnot to test out of them. So I have to take the classes to get the certificate I want. So meanwhile, I’ve also signed up for a small vocal ensemble group course! It’s 3 hours once a week, but I think I will love it so much. I absolutely love singing with other voices, and I wanted a little more focus than you’d get with a large choir. It’s only 1 credit, but 3 hours straight is pretty heavy.

Executive Function

Brain Fog

Brain Fog

This is one of the most important topics I’ll post about on this blog (hence why it is permanently “stickied” to the top of my blog). I don’t expect to do much on it tonight. It’s too important to me and too overwhelming. *cut for sheer length* Continue reading

The first poem I ever wrote & hiding in the woods

In early elementary school, we were learning about analogies and such in class. Our assignment was to write what people were “like”. Mine made my mom cry her eyes out, although I didn’t learn that for years. She said it was 100% accurate:

My mom is like the ocean, sometimes stormy and sometimes calm.
My brother is like a teapot, always huffing and puffing and letting off steam.
My dad is like a twig in the river, always going with the flow.
And I am like a deer lost in the forest, who must learn to take care of myself.

There’s a lot I want to say about the last line, but I keep deleting what I write. So I’ll just say that without question, this is how I felt for all of childhood. Anything else I want to say will be for a different day.

Ruby Tiger Moth

Ruby Tiger Moth


EDIT: I was thinking about this poem because of a conversation on blahpolar’s page, which had me thinking about the few people who keep encouraging me to go off of my meds, and how much I’ve argued for staying on my meds (when really, of course I want off of them, but). And it had me thinking that I’ve been depressed for far more of my life than non-depressed. I wasn’t terribly depressed in elementary school, but I was definitely melancholy/sad. The woods and the rain and the caterpillars were my friends. I had built a fort in the woods near my house, and would hide there.

My proudest times were when unsuspecting walkers would walk the trail past me and never know I was there. The most anxious was when their loose dogs would always sniff me out, and sometimes get the people’s attention. At the same time, I liked the visiting dogs. They knew, you know.

Later, my path to the hiding spot became too worn, because these two particular neighbor dogs kept visiting me and they always came up the same way. I would walk around and around in the woods to try and get them used to a different path and throw “people” off, but no. I couldn’t hide there then, because it felt too exposed due to the dogs’ path.

I spent a lot of time there. I know I sometimes wrote sad poems out there. I don’t really remember what else I did. Probably I day dreamed most of the time. That’s what I did most of my childhood anyway, was daydream.

I day dreamed so deeply that people could be talking directly to me and I’d be completely unaware. They could say my name and everything and I would still be lost somewhere in my head.

The book I most identify with is “House of Stairs” by William Sleator (not the plot itself, just a particular character was Was Me Back Then). I hadn’t read the book until middle school, but I knew immediately. If you read that, you’ll know exactly where I was mentally and ashamedly, even what my daydreams were about. I made my high school counselor read that. I don’t think she understood. On the other hand, she kept asking me if I’d had any childhood abuse and I kept saying no, because at the time, I didn’t know it was considered abuse. But I still don’t think she understood the point I was trying to make about my character in that book.

This is so horrible to admit, because my parents are so full of love and they’re great, but yet I was quite sad as a child– that’s how I’ll excuse this: But I used to fog up my window in the back seat and write “help me” signs to the other cars. Sometimes I would press my palm up by the words. Nobody ever responded. At some point, I realized my words would be backwards for the other people, but writing backwards got no response, either. Just as well.

Actually, I spent a ton of time hiding under my bed and also behind a particular couch. No more details.

Reblogged: ADHD explained for the non-medical person

I did not know ADD had become “Inattentive ADHD”. If you’d like a list that describes me 100%, read below. Or above. Or wherever the reblog shows up. Reblogging from 800recoveryhubblog.

800 Recovery Hub Blog

Have you ever heard someone say “that child does not have ADHD, he just has bad parents” or “that person does not have ADHD, they are just unorganized”. Wake up to modern medicine people, because nearly every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the United States long ago concluded that Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a real, brain-based medical disorder. In fact  ADHD is one of the most common brain function disorders, that affects emotion, learning, and memory. Recent data indicates that up to 8-10% of school age children “pass the test” for having ADHD.

Terms Glossary Click here for 10 things not to say to someone with ADHD

There are Three Types of ADHD

  1. Inattentive – the person shows a lack of focus in many areas but does not have problems with impulsivity or hyperactivity.  This used to be called ADD.
  2. Hyperactivity – the person doesn’t have a problem focusing, but has issues with…

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Poem: Year 1

Tell me it wasn’t all for nothing
The wind blowing through my hair
The leaves falling, golden and crisp

Tell me this was for something
The endless nights
The tears streaming down my cheeks
The hours spent focusing a wandering mind

Don’t say there was no point
To fireflies and chilled campus walks
Trees and birdfeeders
A squirrel with no tail

Tell me there was some purpose
To cafeteria trays and tang
Full of ants
Tables with set groups

Don’t tell me.
Just don’t.
Every word
Every sound wave
For future regurgitation

Don’t.
Flashes of faces, papers, books
72 steps to my floor
4 minute burn time

Fighting. Dorm mom and tears. Clear shower doors.
People yelling “FLUSH”
Sex so loud music couldn’t drown it
Don’t tell me this was for nothing.

Dreaming in an unlearned foreign language
Cold and alone and numb
Exhausted beyond tears, beyond sleep
Moving
Windows with light filtering in through the tree branches

Tapping keys, dusty pages, the smell of coffee
Trying to fly you here.
Waiting for you.
Writing you Every. Day. And. Night.
Dedicating my life for our future.

I hear your voice but I can’t find you.
You can’t find me.
These tears are mine
…I thought. They are yours.

My arms outstretched
Through the sky and clouds
Blue rolling on and on and on
Lead me Home. Just lead me Home.