Friday, September 27, 2013

Why and how can text-to-speech programs be helpful to some strabismics?

It is only recently that I started appreciating the value of text-to-speech programs and there's a couple of good reasons for that.

- Not all text-to-speech programs are created equal. You have to find the right one. I'm not in the business of making publicity for anything but I think the program I'm using deserves to be mentioned. TextAloud is available in English, Spanish and some other European languages. Especially when combined with an optional 'natural voice' it proves to be enjoyable to work with.

- My vision had to reach a certain level for it to be a help rather than another sensory annoyance. Now that to a large extent my double vision has subsided but I still feel like I can't fully enjoy my vision, it can be a nice 'crutch' while keeping me on the road of vision improvement. Previously the sound was just adding to the visual confusion of double vision and making for even more sensory overload. At this point in time I possess the ocular motor skills to align my eyes and execute the saccades for reading even though it's a fragile undertaking. Somehow with the help of text to speech technology the visual pressure of executing the eye movements and simultaneously extracting meaning from the text with vision alone is relieved by the auditive help. My productivity has risen greatly without hurting myself in the form of headaches, jaw cramps, eye strain, ... Essentially I like it because it allows me to do the things I love like learning new things and exploring new ideas while 'looking soft'. This activity is contributing, rather than harming, to my health and vision in the form of visual fitness and sensory integration. Combining the strab-business with pleasure for a change.

 This, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the end of all this misery. Opening up opportunities for a learning disabled brain while allowing it to further heal itself. To me compensatory technology is useful as a means of transition to better vision not as a final solution. Sometimes I talk about VT and about how I want to 'break even'. By breaking even I mean reaching a level of functional vision that allows me to do my thang without regressing. Obviously I have learned and studied before in my life but always at the expense of my health and that vicious circle has to be stopped. I am not quite there yet but this technical aid is giving me an idea of how it must be and I'm loving it. Just being able to be absorbed with a certain subject without suffering. Normal people are so visually spoiled...

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