After my neurodoc observed me read a portion of a Wall Street Journal article, he discussed the first thing for me to do to at least not make reading harder than it was: relax and bring anxiety under control. We then discussed strategies I’m already familiar with but discussing it in a way I hadn’t before — with the undercurrent of encouragement from someone being alongside, not as an expert telling me what to do. That makes a diff!
And so we begin reading rehab with a few possible strategies.
First, use my Mind Alive audiovisual entrainment device’s 15-minute alpha session to relax me before I read. Anxiety interferes with cognition and will make it harder for me to read. The key is to get rid of the anxiety. The alpha session will help. But it will take awhile and more than just relaxation sessions and exercises to get rid of the anxiety and eventually achieve happy anticipation.
Next: cover off the text, and use my fingers or a ruler to slow my reading down. Instead of using the Evelyn Wood method to speed up my reading, I would use it to see if I can slow it down. Fun, wow. Sigh. But he has a point — my natural quick reading state makes it even harder for me. We’ll see if this can slow it down so that my eyes go at my processing and integration speed. The only thing is I can’t use my fingers or ruler on an eReader or iDevice. Only on print on paper. We will need to come up with a similar strategy for screens.
At the end: do a Toronto Sun-style summary. Let me tell you, when he had me summarize what I’d read to him as if I was telling a 6-year-old and then he suggested Toronto Sun style, that changed doing a summary from a university-type chore to something doable and acceptable.
He insisted I take home the WSJ article, not for me to read but for it to trigger the things we discussed and to remind me I’m not alone.
In fact, using his dribs and drabs method, he is not yet at the point of giving me anything to read at home. At this stage, he is still observing, still discussing strategies, still easing me emotionally back into the idea of reading books and long-form articles. Preparation needs to be good, not rushed, for the experiment to succeed.
He reminded me that the strategies we discussed this week are the barest beginning. I have a partner and someone doing the thinking, not as an expert in reading but as an expert in listening and in me so as to come up with approaches to help me. Thank God for that.