Oct 312014

ShireenJ (@ShireenJ)
2014-10-22, 8:59 AM
@ADDCentre -> MT @mattgallowaycbc: great sign about distracted driving. RT @BrentToderian: Clever. Spread the word. pic.twitter.com/OKVyYrxWf7

When that tweet I MT’d came into view on my Twitter feed, it caught my attention, not for its rather obvious message, I mean who’s dumb enough to think texting and driving is a good idea, other than maybe, I guess, people who want what they want when they want it now– Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, it caught my attention for this reason:

ShireenJ (@ShireenJ)
2014-10-22, 9:00 AM
@ADDCentre I remember practicing as a kid reading signs like that w interlaced narratives till I got good at it. Not any more! Sigh.

After I tweeted that out, I forgot all about it until the ADD Centre tweeted back and said why don’t we add that in to my session? Oh hey, I like!

ADD Centre (@ADDCentre)
2014-10-24, 9:04 AM
@ShireenJ let’s introduce it during training sessions! Are you still activating wernickes?

This week we did. My trainer set up the tDCS — the anode sponge over my Wernicke’s Area, just above and behind my left ear, the ground sponge on my right shoulder, setting it to 2mA (tiny, tiny amount of electrical current) — and I began to read the sign on my iPhone. Oh my.

That was hard.

And dizzying.

I began by trying to read the message in black type. Then after, I don’t know, three or so stuttering tries, I switched to reading the message in blue type. That was harder.

I had trouble following both message lines separately and comprehending them separately, even though I knew what the gist of the whole sign was. After a few reads of the blue message until I was able to follow it from beginning to end, I went back to the one in black. I alternated back and forth like that a few times.

Black fonts are easier to read than blue ones.

At times, my trainer would talk to me at the same time as I was reading — to add on an extra layer of distraction and to get the electrical stimulation to zip along both reading and listening brain networks. Oh my. Just recalling that makes me feel slightly nauseated.

Even though I was only trying to read the messages separately and not even attempting to read them simultaneously, I was getting too dizzy. So after about 3 or 4 minutes, I stopped. My trainer and I chatted for the rest of the 12 minutes of stimulation.

I told her that when I practiced as a kid reading alternating text like that simultaneously, the type was all in black. Harder, she noted. Yup. She was wondering where you could find other interlaced or alternating texts. Good question. I’d wondered too, but after some futile Googling, gotta admit I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s an official jargon name for intertwined text like that or not. If there is and if any reader of this post knows it or how to find interwoven text, please leave a comment letting me know. Thanks!

I will be trying this again. For me, practicing with familiar text fits in with my rehab’s advice on how to improve my reading better than with trying to find novel signs for each session. The OT at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute told me to practice reading text I already knew. When you’re working on higher cognitive functions to regrow and cement those networks, that sounds like sane advice to me for text like this as well.