Do you enjoy reading? Most people would think that every person who likes to write likes to read as well, right? Well, pretty much all of my life, I haven't liked reading at all; voluntarily, I think I have only "read" about three full adult books. On numerous occasions I have read a few pages and then stopped for a 'little break', but never carried on reading them. I think this is partly because I would start reading, and a few pages in, my eyes would go fuzzy and I couldn't focus on the words, so I could never read a huge amount at one time. I am pretty sure that this is due to my Cerebral Palsy... When I came back to it, more often than not, I forgot what I had previously read, so I would have to go back and remind myself about what I had read. Taking this into account, in my eyes, there wasn't really any point in me reading, so I just didn't bother. I know a lot of people will disagree with me here, but I just don't see the point because even a book is read to me, when I came back to it, I would have forgotten a bit of the story. Plus, I had the obstacle of physically holding the book, and turning the pages, but for a few years, that was made easier as I got a page turner.
My page turner does what it says on the tin; it turns the pages of the books. The page turner sat on the floor or any other surface, it was about half a metre tall and half a metre wide. The page turner held the books, someone would have to put the book onto the page turner for me. The page turner had a butten plugged into it. I think it scanned from left to right, and I just had to click the butten when the direction I wanted to turn lit up. The page turner had small rollers which gripped the page and turned it over when I pressed the butten. I can't remember exactly how it worked, but I think it was like my electric wheelchairs that I've had, click to go.
My mum read to my brother and I a few times, we read part of the 'Harry Potter' books. Don't get me wrong, I love Harry Potter, and JK Rowling is a brilliant author, but for some reason I couldn't sit still, I don't think I got bored, I think I just needed to be doing something. You know what I mean? Over the years, people have tired to encourage me to read more, but I have never got into it really. I tried listening to audio books, but most of those books never really grabbed my attention and kept it
Although, last year, I listened to my first full adult audio book. This book is a non-fiction story, I think it's like an autobiography, it is written and read by the comedian, actress and public speaker, Francesca Martinez. The book is called 'WHAT THE **** IS NORMAL?!'. This book is absolutely brilliant, if you enjoy a good laugh and if you enjoy finding out about other people's perspectives, then I reckon you would love this book! I would defiantly recommend this book to any adult - it isn't appropriate for children as it has got a few swear words in it. Overall, it is an amazing book, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I even got a signed copy for Christmas! Picture below...
Anyway, with ClaroRead, it is much easier to read because even if my eyes don't focus on the text properly, or if they suddenly decide to do the Fandango or whatever, then I can still listen and pick up half way through, when they start behaving again. Before I got ClaroRead, I only managed to read about a 500 word article, and even that was a struggle.
Having my work printed on yellow paper helps quite a lot, but I can't do that with things that are online. With Word documents, it's fairly simple, but if I'm reading something online, I can’t change the background colour. I have tried using the overlay software that comes with ClaroRead, but this makes it more difficult to read because for some reason, this software makes the page less clear, I don’t quite know how to explain it. It may work for some people, but I tried it for a while, and it didn’t work well for me. I know that it isn’t always possible, but I wish that websites had the ability to let you change the colour of the background of the page. This could make it much easier for some people to read things online. I think ClaroRead highlights the paragraph that it's reading on Word, but the only things I can think of which may improve ClaroRead is that if it was able to highlight each word as it reads them so that it could be easier follow, it would be better if this could be done when it's reading things out online, too. It would also be better if it didn't make the text look faded when the overlay is used.
The only downfall to ClaroRead is that the normal PC verson costs £129, and some people can't afford this, so they miss out. I am really lucky because my college gave me a code that I could use to download it for free.
I realise that Brains on Wheels doesn’t have the ability to let the user/visitor change the colours of the page, but I don’t know how to make it do that, I don’t even know whether it is possible.
I think that my reading has improved dramatically over the years, and ClaroRead has been a great bit of software to help me even more.
It looks like we have come to the end of this blog post. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed it. See you next time…
Over and out.