Episode 18 Related Areas to Visual Processing - The Personal Brain Trainer Podcast

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Related Areas to Visual Processing 

Episode 18 of Personal Brain Trainer podcast



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Full Transcript for Episode 18

Speaker A: Welcome to the Personal Brain Trainer Podcast.

Speaker A: I'm Dr. Erica Warren.

Speaker B: And I'm Darius Namdaran, and we're your hosts.

Speaker B: Join us on an adventure to translate the scientific jargon and brain research into simple metaphors and stories for everyday life.

Speaker B: We explore executive function and learning strategies that help turbocharge the mind.

Speaker A: Come learn how to steer around the invisible barriers so that you can achieve your goals.

Speaker A: And this podcast is ideal for parents, educators, and learners of all ages.

Speaker A: This podcast is brought to you by Good Sensorylearning.com, where you can find educational and occupational therapy lessons and remedial materials that bring delight to learning.

Speaker A: Finally, you can find Dr.

Speaker A: Warren's many courses@learningspecialistcorses.com.

Speaker A: Come check out our newest course on developing executive functions and study strategies.

Speaker B: This podcast is brought to you by Bullet Map Academy.

Speaker B: And we have free Dyslexia screener app called Dyslexia Quiz.

Speaker B: It's fun, engaging, and interactive app.

Speaker B: Try it now.

Speaker B: Just search for Dyslexia Quiz on the App Store and see how your scores differ from your friends and family.

Speaker A: So, Darius, what are we talking about today?

Speaker B: Well, last time, you talked about visual processing, and you've been talking about related things to visual processing.

Speaker B: So let's talk about the related areas to visual processing this week.

Speaker A: I think that's a great idea because I do think that there are a lot of cognitive areas that work in tandem with visual processing.

Speaker A: I think we'll talk about vision another time, but there are these other areas that I think are really important to discuss.

Speaker B: Okay.

Speaker B: And you, as usual, have got a little list that you're going to kind of work through.

Speaker B: You're very well organized, and you've got four areas that you want to talk about that work with visual processing.

Speaker B: What are those areas?

Speaker B: Headlines.

Speaker A: We're going to be talking about visual processing speed, visual motor integration, visual attention, and visual scanning or tracking.

Speaker B: Fantastic.

Speaker B: Visual processing speed.

Speaker B: What's your take on visual processing speed?

Speaker A: Well, visual processing speed it's funny you say processing.

Speaker A: I say processing tomato.

Speaker B: Tomato.

Speaker A: Right.

Speaker A: So visual processing speed is interesting because it has to do with how quickly you make sense of what you're seeing or processing, meaning that it's not necessarily what you see, but how you are making sense of what you're seeing and how quickly you do that.

Speaker A: And for some people, they work very, very slowly when it comes to processing information that's visual.

Speaker A: Now, I'm focusing on visual processing speed because you could talk about processing speed in general, and that's just how you process anything you make sense of.

Speaker A: But that would also include auditory processing, maybe even processing through your body.

Speaker A: So there are many different ways that we can process.

Speaker A: But focusing in on visual processing, one of my big frustrations is that a lot of people use the Waste or the Whisk.

Speaker A: They have a processing speed index.

Speaker A: And when kids get very low scores on that, they often make this generalization that they have a general poor processing speed.

Speaker A: And in fact, all the sub tests that make up that particular index, I believe all of them are visual processing.

Speaker A: So that when people come to me and they say, oh, my son has slow processing, that's not necessarily true because it's really only one area of processing.

Speaker A: It's really how quickly you process the information that you see.

Speaker B: That's really interesting because I got a little bit frustrated at one point for a family because the mother had done our Dyslexia quiz screener app and their child was up at a 90 plus score, which clearly indicates there's some special learning differences that are happening.

Speaker B: There probably Dyslexia, highly likely to be Dyslexia along with probably some executive function difficulties or ADHD.

Speaker B: Now, what happened was at her school, the teachers were like, oh, she probably doesn't have Dyslexia, but she's got processing difficulties.

Speaker B: And the parent was like, oh, we can't do your program because we're not sure she's got Dyslexia.

Speaker B: And like, well, it's part of the way we're presenting our program because it's just for Dyslexia, that's part of the issue.

Speaker B: But it pained me to see that the child was kind of locked in this limbo of I've got slow processing, whereas the parent didn't know much about what to do about it, nor did the teachers, I don't think, because they had done this broad generalization.

Speaker B: And I know I had a long conversation about this on my Dyslexia explored podcast where we talked about when a teacher says slow processing and it's such a generalization that our conclusion in that was that you don't stop at that.

Speaker B: That's not a destination you stop at.

Speaker B: That is a small step towards finding what processing difference you have and then you can do something about it.

Speaker B: But so often at schools they stay at that or they've got their slow processing or they've got a processing difficulty.

Speaker B: No, to be fair, not slow processing.

Speaker B: I can see your face scrunch up, but that they've got a processing difficulty or difference, but it's not clarified.

Speaker A: I was scrunching my face because I was feeling that compassion of that frustration.

Speaker A: Because I agree with you when you talk and that generalization of slow processing, the first thing I say to myself is, alright, well, what's causing that?

Speaker A: Because there's so many things that can cause a slow processing speed attention.

Speaker A: If you're not able to attend that can slow your processing.

Speaker A: Yes, you could have a vision impairment and you're just having to focus and refocus and refocus and try to see it and that can slow down your processing.

Speaker A: Or say for example, maybe your visual processing is super-fast, but your auditory processing is slow.

Speaker A: I can't think of ever meeting a kid where a generalized they have a slow processing speed was true because in some ways they can process really quickly.

Speaker A: Every kid that I've worked with that came with that label, I was able to find areas in which they were able to process very quickly.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker A: So it frustrates me when I see that because I think then people start making these conclusions that are inappropriate or just as you were saying, they're going too global.

Speaker A: They're not looking at what's behind that.

Speaker A: I mean, it's possible that it is purely processing, but let's figure out why.

Speaker A: Just like when people say, well, this student has poor working memory, I want to know, is that because they can't visualize?

Speaker A: Is it because they don't know how to use their inner voice?

Speaker A: Is it because they can't kind of spatialize or imagine things in space?

Speaker A: I mean, there's something behind it.

Speaker A: That's where the strategies come in.

Speaker A: That's where the remediation comes in, is let's find the sore spot or let's find the area of weakness so that we can target it and strengthen it.

Speaker A: Because I've never found a weakness that I couldn't strengthen as long as it's.

Speaker B: Targeted while I've got you.

Speaker B: And on this topic of slow or fast processing, whether it's visual or auditory, I had a listener get in touch with me and she was saying she didn't like the term slow processing and she was wondering whether it would be accurate enough to say deep processing.

Speaker B: And her thesis her thesis was when she observes her child who has slow processing speed with Dyslexia, what she often notices is that it's like they're processing information more deeply rather than fast and automatic.

Speaker B: It's slow and deep.

Speaker B: I'm not sure that's always the case.

Speaker B: I think as a general rule, I see people often with differences of processing.

Speaker B: Especially I've noticed it in the realm of dyslexia, is that they are often the people who ask Why?

Speaker B: And they're like, Why is that?

Speaker B: And they're really going into deeply into why to understand a process or a system.

Speaker B: They're not just taking something on an automatic face value.

Speaker B: And I wonder if this might relate to our last episode where we talked about the P and the B and the Q and so on are all the same shape but in a different orientation that someone might come along and go, actually, they're processing it more deeply, but rather than on face value.

Speaker A: Or they may be even accommodating a visual processing issue where they'll have to say to themselves, oh, I've got to slow down and ask myself, is that to the left or is that to the right?

Speaker A: So that they're actually having to do more steps in the processing to accommodate for a reversal that naturally happens.

Speaker A: Or something like that.

Speaker A: So yeah, there's so much behind a processing speed problem.

Speaker A: Visual processing speed has to do with how quickly we process visual information.

Speaker A: And what you and I have been talking about is that there are many different types of processing and all of those different types of processing have a speed at which you do them.

Speaker A: But here in particular today, we're focusing on visual processing speed, which is how quickly you're able to make sense of the visual information that you see and then have an output.

Speaker B: Now, what I'd like to know is, can you improve your visual processing speed?

Speaker B: Are there ways to improve it simply and straightforwardly?

Speaker B: What are the things that can slow your visual processing speed that listeners could maybe do straight away?

Speaker B: You got any ideas on that?

Speaker A: Well, again, I think it's difficult to go there because we don't know what the cause is behind it.

Speaker A: And that's why it's so important to look at the cause behind the visual processing problem.

Speaker A: This is great because think about last week where we talked about all the different ways that you can process visual information.

Speaker A: We had nine of them.

Speaker B: Yes, we did.

Speaker A: So you could have a weakness in any one of those areas that could cause a visual processing speed weakness.

Speaker A: But you could also have other things going on.

Speaker A: You could have issues with vision.

Speaker A: Yes, if you have issues with vision, that could slow your process.

Speaker B: Got you.

Speaker B: Can we do a quick summary of those nine?

Speaker B: Let's just read them out just for those who maybe just to refresh your memory or to go back to the last episode.

Speaker B: So we had visual discrimination, visual Directionality, visual Memory, visual Sequencing, visual Closure, visual Reasoning, visual Synthesis, visual Spatial, and visual Figure Ground.

Speaker B: So that was a great episode.

Speaker B: If you're interested in that, listeners, go to the previous episode, 1617, and have a look at that.

Speaker A: Right with that said, because we could we could have a whole episode on processing for sure.

Speaker A: But let's go into the next one that also is related to visual processing, which is visual motor integration.

Speaker A: Another way of or another term for that is visual motor dexterity.

Speaker A: And it's really about translating that visual perception into a motor response.

Speaker A: So it could be tying your shoes, it could be your handwriting, it could be knitting.

Speaker A: All of those types of things require this kind of fine motor response.

Speaker A: And of course, there is that visual piece.

Speaker A: Now, somebody could have a visual motor weakness because they're having a hard time processing visual information.

Speaker A: Or it could just be a motor issue where they just have poor motor abilities and they just need to strengthen certain motor abilities.

Speaker A: But I wanted to talk about this because it has that visual component and that visual processing component.

Speaker B: Does this link into Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia, for example, this visual and movement, is that a component of Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia?

Speaker A: Yes, absolutely.

Speaker B: Now, I wonder if you could this interests me because from my own personal experience, I know I've got Dyslexia and I probably got ADHD as well.

Speaker B: To some degree.

Speaker B: I've got the Dyslexia identification formally, the ADHD.

Speaker B: I need to explore that because I've got so many of those traits, it's driving me nuts.

Speaker B: But when I was a child, I found it hard to remember time my shoelaces.

Speaker B: I found it hard to tell the time.

Speaker B: I found it hard to do a lot of these first sort of steps, as it were, of these motor skills.

Speaker B: Although I was very dexterous, I'm a very visual person.

Speaker B: I'm probably a very fast visual processor.

Speaker B: I know I am very strong three dimensional thinking, et cetera, as well.

Speaker B: But I had these traits.

Speaker B: What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker A: I would have to kind of talk to you more about that to figure out where that weakness was coming from.

Speaker A: It could have been more of a sequential issue for you of knowing what is the sequence of steps that you would have to do to tie your shoes and having trouble remembering that sequence of steps.

Speaker A: So it could have been more of that for you.

Speaker A: But you see, this is why it's so important to really investigate what's behind any area of weakness, because there's so many possibilities of what it should be.

Speaker B: Oh, I love that.

Speaker B: I love that because I was wondering if I got visual motor integration.

Speaker B: And I'm like, No, I don't, because I'm really well coordinated and really able at all these sorts of things.

Speaker B: But the sequencing is a big issue for me, and you probably hit it on the button in that response.

Speaker A: The other possibility, which is the very next thing that I wanted to talk about, is visual attention.

Speaker B: Okay.

Speaker A: You mentioned that you struggled with focusing and that you wonder whether you might have ADHD.

Speaker A: Well, ADHD is about or add, really, attentional issues are about being able to focus visual attention.

Speaker A: So perhaps you are having trouble tying your shoes for two reasons.

Speaker A: Maybe you are having a hard time with visual attention and visual sequencing.

Speaker A: And when you paired those two, it took you a long time to get through it.

Speaker A: And it may have had nothing to do with the visual motor integration.

Speaker A: However, it appeared to be a visual motor issue when in fact, there were other things going on.

Speaker A: And that's why it's so important to do that kind of deep dive and get very analytical about it, really put on that investigator's hat and say, okay, let's start digging here and finding where is the sweet spot so that we can address it.

Speaker B: I'm talking as a complete outsider here, completely independent, on behalf of parents maybe who are listening and so on.

Speaker B: It's like, can you actually identify these things objectively?

Speaker B: Is it just a theory, or can you practically, numerically, scientifically nail these things down?

Speaker A: Well, all of these are technically theories, but there's a lot of research supporting them, and they make sense.

Speaker A: Visual motor, you're combining your vision and movement to right.

Speaker A: So there's a certain logical sense to it.

Speaker A: I mean, some areas of processing are more elusive and harder to really wrap your mind around, but some of them are really quite concrete and quite obvious, but anything.

Speaker A: Anyway, with that said, because I know that we have limited time today.

Speaker A: I want to move on to visual scanning and tracking, which is really important and I have a lot to say here.

Speaker A: Okay, so visual scanning and tracking is a very, very important skill and it's really your ability to move your eyes smoothly across a page or around a page or even in your environment to make sense of what you are looking at or reading, for example.

Speaker A: And problems with visual scanning or tracking tend to result in eye fatigue, word omissions, reversals, losing your place while you're reading.

Speaker A: And of course it has a very negative impact on your comprehension.

Speaker A: Comprehension, whether it's reading comprehension or even comprehension of like a table in math.

Speaker B: Yes, I'm looking up my other podcast just like she explored.

Speaker B: I had a guy on who was an optician and he was talking about not just checking a child's eyes for all the typical things, but measuring their tracking and scanning and how important it was because sometimes those things need ruled out before you go on to the dyslexia assessment, not to negate the dyslexia assessment, you can still be dyslexic, but some of your difficulties can be compounded by other things, like Ireland, how do you say it?

Speaker A: I think you got it.

Speaker B: Okay.

Speaker A: I think that's it.

Speaker B: And that's where a different colored tint to your paper or your glasses can shift the visual stress that's happening on the page and increase your reading speed by 10% to 15%.

Speaker B: For some people it's 50%.

Speaker B: And a lot of people think, oh, well, that's dyslexia salt because you've got that tint.

Speaker B: But that's not the reality of it.

Speaker B: It's helpful for many, probably about five to 10% of people with dyslexia, but not everyone.

Speaker B: But actually I've done some research saying that the tinting of the color can help everyone with visual stress and to help them read a bit better to some degree or another.

Speaker B: But for certain people it's a huge difference.

Speaker B: So, I mean, that's just another example of how the physical visual scanning or tracking can affect it or other visual problems.

Speaker A: We'll do a deeper dive next week on Vision.

Speaker A: It's interesting, I was like, am I going to put visual tracking under vision?

Speaker A: I decided it's not really vision, it's different, you're not seeing it, it's the eye movement.

Speaker A: So I decided to put this under related areas to visual processing instead of under vision.

Speaker A: But when you go to see a vision doctor, which and everybody, before you have any testing done, should always have a visual screening and an auditory screening, it's imperative because you have to rule that out first.

Speaker A: So we'll definitely be doing a deep dive into that.

Speaker A: But I kind of decided to keep tracking over here because it is something more of a physical movement of the eyes and it's so interesting on how it impacts learning.

Speaker A: And the question is, what are the different types?

Speaker A: There are actually three different types of tracking.

Speaker A: There's something called fixation, which is your ability to hold your eyes steady without moving off of a target.

Speaker A: There's Pursuits, which is the ability to follow a moving target with one's eyes.

Speaker A: And then there is, I believe it's the cods.

Speaker A: It's French for jerk.

Speaker A: And it means the ability to jump to new targets that randomly appear or disappear or reappear in different locations.

Speaker A: So that's a really interesting one, too.

Speaker A: But all of these things have a profound impact.

Speaker A: You have to be able to kind of scan a page to be able to observe all of the details.

Speaker A: If it's a very visually complex page fixations, being able to hold one's eyes steady is really important.

Speaker A: If you're constantly moving your head, it's going to have a big impact on how you perceive things.

Speaker A: And then the pursuits, again, is being able to follow that target, which is really that kind of tracking across the page.

Speaker A: And many kids with Dyslexia really struggle with that tracking, and many of them also will start to track.

Speaker A: And then they go back, and then they're doing a lot of the back and forth and back and forth and back and forth because of their difficulty with decoding.

Speaker A: But that's really fatiguing for the eyes.

Speaker B: I interviewed another conversation I had.

Speaker B: I keep talking about Dyslexia Explorer podcast in this podcast, sorry, Erica, but there was this fascinating software, and what they're using it for in schools is to track children's eyes while they're reading a piece of text.

Speaker B: Okay?

Speaker B: So they give a child a piece of text that's relevant to their age level for about one to two minutes.

Speaker B: And the camera on the computer tracks their eye movement as they're doing it.

Speaker B: And then it creates this graphic, which is a little blue circle or a big blue circle round about.

Speaker B: And the bigger the circle, the longer it rested on that spot.

Speaker B: Do you see what I mean?

Speaker B: And so you can visually see how a child's eyes tracking across the page to read the page.

Speaker B: So that can be indicative of a number of different things.

Speaker B: It could be indicative of tracking problems.

Speaker B: It could be indicative of difficulty and phonological processing because they're not processing that word or that letter or whatever.

Speaker B: It could be all sorts of different things.

Speaker B: But what it's doing is it's highlighting the speed and the tracking ability of that reader.

Speaker B: And it's fascinating to see the graphic that comes out.

Speaker B: And they get parents to do it with their children as well.

Speaker B: Parents can see, oh, my goodness.

Speaker B: And it's quite startling, the difference between the pattern of the dots and those small little blue dots are neatly kind of spaced apart as they're reading through it compared to these big blue blobs all over the shop.

Speaker B: And the thing is that some of the kids are actually, even with the big blue blobs and so on, are still reading it.

Speaker B: Are still comprehending it, but they're going through a much more laborious process to do so.

Speaker B: It's fascinating to see it graphically and.

Speaker A: I'm glad that you mentioned that because guess what?

Speaker A: If a student is reading that way, it's going to slow their processing speed.

Speaker A: It's also going to require them to do a lot more and they're going to get more fatigue.

Speaker A: So they're going to have a harder time reading for longer periods of time.

Speaker A: But what I do want to do now is go into some ways to improve visual tracking because there are some things that you can do at home.

Speaker A: You just mentioned is this a certain program that you were just talking about?

Speaker B: It is.

Speaker B: I'm trying to scan through.

Speaker A: You can find it and then we can put it into the show notes.

Speaker B: Yeah, we'll pop it in the show notes.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: So let me pull your attention back here and let's look at some of these different types of strategies we can use for visual tracking and to support it.

Speaker A: You mentioned a little bit about this.

Speaker A: We talked a little bit about this with color overlays.

Speaker A: So I often will take report covers that are clear but are colored and I turn them into little BOOKMARKS for my students and I let them pick which colors they like.

Speaker A: They can either read above the color or below the color or in the color, the first line in the color.

Speaker A: But I find the color overlays are really fun and the kids really enjoy them and they like picking the color.

Speaker A: But I do know that different colored backgrounds and of course, anything that you do online, you can change the color of the text and change the color of the background.

Speaker A: And a lot of reading programs that allow you to see the text allow you to change those things.

Speaker A: And there is, I mean, there's a whole physiological I feel it.

Speaker A: I love having a light blue background and dark blue letters.

Speaker A: It just feels so much better than this really contrasting white with black, which I find irritating and it's so much more soothing when I change the background.

Speaker A: In fact, I should do that more.

Speaker B: I think the British Dyslexia Association is very hot on using somewhere between twelve and 16 font with nonsense without the little dashy bits all over the place, like times Roman numeral, non-times Roman numeral type writing, like comic sands and sans serif without serifs.

Speaker B: Often they recommend that and with some tint or color background or slightly lighter text, like you're saying that isn't black.

Speaker B: So that the differentiation between the text and the background is not as pronounced.

Speaker A: Yeah.

Speaker A: You know, I think for a lot of individuals, particularly for me, black and white is so contrasting that it does a weird thing with the eyes and you get kind of some shadow effects around it.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: And a good analogy for people that don't experience that is if you have a red background with blue letters.

Speaker A: It just does weird things that contrast.

Speaker A: And so finding something that's less contrasting, but also something that's soothing to the eyes.

Speaker A: The white is very bright and very intense on the eyes.

Speaker A: And having a color can be much more comfortable and can help the kids or even adults to read for a longer period of time.

Speaker A: I've even noticed the Kindle doesn't have a white background.

Speaker A: Yes, it's like a very pale beige background.

Speaker A: And the letters aren't black, they're like a dark gray.

Speaker A: So it's much more comfortable.

Speaker A: And a lot of people like reading on that kind of device for that reason.

Speaker A: They may not realize that.

Speaker B: Yeah, and you can actually change those settings too.

Speaker A: Of course, I have never used a Kindle, so that's good to know.

Speaker A: Now, another way that you can strengthen visual tracking is to play ping pong, which is such a great cognitive game in so many ways.

Speaker A: It's great for vision, it's great for cognition, it's great for dexterity, it's a wonderful thing to have your kids do is to play ping pong.

Speaker A: Ping pong is best for tracking if they're sitting on the side and watching two other people play ping pong because then their eyes are having to go back and forth.

Speaker A: And what you want to do is you want to tell them, watch the game, but don't move your head.

Speaker A: And then all of a sudden they're having to track and ping pong is super quick.

Speaker A: So even if they have a here's another example of how you could even strengthen visual processing.

Speaker A: Watching ping pong is great for strengthening visual processing because you're having to process the ball very quickly, right?

Speaker A: So whether you play in person or even play online so there are a lot of online games, whether they're ping pong or tennis or badminton, where you see actually the whole screen and you just watch the ball going back and forth.

Speaker A: Yes, I remember when I was a kid, I had an Atari and I loved those games, but actually my parents had no idea because of course I'm Dyslexic as well.

Speaker A: And it was probably one of the best remediations for me because I know tracking was really tough for me.

Speaker A: But I loved that game.

Speaker A: And that's what it's all about, finding something that the kids love to do that's strengthening their areas of cognitive weakness.

Speaker A: So many of these little simple games of being able to hit the ball back and forth is strengthening an area which is so vital for reading.

Speaker A: And the kids don't even realize that they're strengthening that skill and they're having fun doing it and they can play it as much as they want and they're so happy.

Speaker A: That's a great tool to strengthen visual tracking.

Speaker B: The other thing, I can tell you a story about that we've mentioned the book Bounce before, and that's written by a table tennis player, ping pong.

Speaker B: But table tennis and a world class player.

Speaker B: He was a British champion.

Speaker B: They did a test on him british psychologist did a test on sports performance on the table tennis team and they were very high level and they did this reflex test and what they found was that he had very slow reflexes and the test said that he had a slow reflex and they actually stopped the experiment because they said it can't possibly be true because he's one of the fastest table tennis players in the country and in the world.

Speaker B: They thought their experimentation was wrong.

Speaker B: Well, about ten years later they did the same test and they realized they've got it right, that he did have a slow reflex, but what he was doing was that he had practiced so much that he had overcompensated for a slow reflex by being able to read what the person was going to do before they hit the ball.

Speaker B: And he was actually reacting to what he was anticipating would happen rather than what actually happened because his reaction speed was actually slower than a typical table tennis player.

Speaker B: Isn't that fascinating?

Speaker A: It is fascinating.

Speaker B: And they could not believe that this would be true, so much so that the psychologists actually stopped their whole experimentation on the team because they thought their machines must be wrong.

Speaker A: Yeah, that's fascinating.

Speaker A: That's a great story.

Speaker A: Thank you.

Speaker A: Another thing that you can do is you can take a book.

Speaker A: It's funny.

Speaker A: This is another thing I used to do to myself when I was a kid and I couldn't read, but I wanted to read.

Speaker A: My dad was a voracious reader and everybody in my family, they were voracious readers and I couldn't read.

Speaker A: So he'd be sitting and doing his work and I would sit next to him with a book and I would look at the first word and the last word on each line, or sometimes it's just the letter.

Speaker A: And I would scan from the first letter to the last letter, first letter, last letter, first letter, last letter, and I would do it as quickly as I could and then I would say, Daddy, guess what page I'm on?

Speaker A: Right?

Speaker A: And he would say like four.

Speaker A: I'd be like 14.

Speaker A: He'd be like, Wow.

Speaker A: It's like, I know, I'm such a good reader.

Speaker A: I wasn't really reading, but I was strengthening my tracking skills.

Speaker A: Wow, isn't that interesting?

Speaker B: I've got another story on that.

Speaker B: Obviously I'm dyslexic, like we've said before, but I taught myself how to speed read, which might seem a bit ironic to people who think, well, if you're dyslexic, you can't read fast.

Speaker B: And actually my default speed of reading is quite slow, but I can also speed read like 400 words, 500 words a minute.

Speaker B: And the way you teach yourself to speed read is you put your finger over the first third of a sentence and then the second third of the sentence and the third of the sentence and you force your eye to just absorb those two or three words all at once rather than fixating on one, until you're reading like four words at a time or basically scanning four words at a time.

Speaker B: And you can force yourself to speed read and track with your finger.

Speaker B: And I found, actually, when I got my Dyslexia assessment done, my assessor was saying, you need to read with your finger, Darius, so that you maintain your focus where your eye is meant to be.

Speaker B: And that's one of the difficulties you've been having.

Speaker B: You need to read with your finger or with a pencil or a pen, and you'll find that your comprehension and speed increases.

Speaker B: And it's so true.

Speaker B: And I've done it for the 20 years since, and it really works.

Speaker B: And I do it with children as well.

Speaker B: Teach them how to even read a map.

Speaker B: When we teach them how to mind map, we get them to talk through the map.

Speaker B: Okay.

Speaker B: And one of the key things is they have to point to the word or doodle that is inspiring them to share something.

Speaker B: Otherwise their eye just goes off on one and they skip bits.

Speaker B: And it's so important to have that pointer.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: I mean, the research shows that anybody that uses their finger will increase their reading speed by at least 20%.

Speaker A: And that's one of the things that I actually teach in a lot of speed reading.

Speaker A: Of course, it's funny because so many of us were told to stop using our finger.

Speaker B: Yes.

Speaker A: In fact, it actually by doing that, it's just such a relief on the eye because it's so hard to maintain, particularly when the text is very small and it gets to track in a more fluid manner because it forces the eye to keep up with your finger.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker A: So another thing I wanted to talk about was a site called I Can Learn and it's spelled Eye Can Learn.

Speaker A: And I will also put that in our links.

Speaker A: But it's a really cool place where you can go and do eye tracking exercises as well as other types of vision training exercises.

Speaker A: It's a free site and it's really great.

Speaker A: Other than that, using a metronome or a crystal pendulum, just watching something, swinging it one to 2ft in front of your face and watching it with your eyes, not moving your head, just watching it going back and forth is another way you can use at night, you can use one of these laser pointers, and you can have a lot of fun with that and just have the child keep their head still, but watch the laser pointer go around the room.

Speaker A: What are some other things?

Speaker A: Voice stream reader.

Speaker A: I love voice stream reader.

Speaker A: I mean, there are lots of these text readers now that highlight the words.

Speaker A: And that's really helpful because it forces the brain to move along with the text.

Speaker A: But they also have a mode that you can use called Pacman Mode.

Speaker A: And what this does is it erases the words as they are read.

Speaker A: So it really forces the brain to read in a fluid manner because you can't go back.

Speaker A: And I love that technology and it was created by someone at Harvard University that is dyslexic.

Speaker A: It's really, really helpful.

Speaker A: So I often recommend that for families, if you want to help your kids with tracking, but also to improve their reading speed and fluency, Pacman Mode is a really cool option.

Speaker A: What else?

Speaker A: So if you're reading text, you can pick us a common word like the or an.

Speaker A: And as quickly as you can try to scan through the text and find those words and circle them.

Speaker A: That's kind of gamifying it.

Speaker A: What else can you do?

Speaker A: Just reading out loud can be really helpful because it helps the eyes and the brain to work in sync.

Speaker A: And then finally, I have also a publication called building Peripheral Visual Tracking and Attention for Improved Reading and Scanning.

Speaker A: And they are videos that I created and I tried to make them really fun and really upbeat music.

Speaker A: And they're short, so they can be used kind of as brain breaks as well.

Speaker A: But it's a combination of those tracking fixations pursuits and Sakoda.

Speaker A: And so sometimes they're having to jump around, sometimes they're having to track, sometimes but you're always wanting to keep your head straight.

Speaker A: But it makes it fun and it makes it easy.

Speaker A: And in a couple so about three to five minutes a day, if you do those exercises, you can see some nice changes and they're beginning intermediate and advanced ones.

Speaker A: But that's if you just are looking for something that's really simple where you can put them down and work, but you can have a lot of fun being creative doing visual tracking exercises.

Speaker B: I really love these sort of hardcore teaching kind of podcasts that you're doing, these last few ones just to really get stuck into this knowledge.

Speaker B: And I think it's going to cascade into other conversations we have later on, kind of frame it and set us up for processing this in future conversations and into weaving it with what we're learning next.

Speaker B: So thank you so much for this, Erica.

Speaker B: It's fantastic.

Speaker A: Yeah, this is a really fun one and we're putting a lot of links below.

Speaker A: So if you are interested in some of the products or websites, we'll have those in the show notes.

Speaker B: Yeah, great.

Speaker B: Until next week.

Speaker B: Bye.

Speaker B: Bye.

Speaker A: Bye.

Speaker A: Thank you for joining our conversation here at the Personal Brain Trainer podcast.

Speaker A: This is Dr.

Speaker A: Erica Warren and this.

Speaker B: Is Darius Namdaran, you can check out our show notes for links to resources, mention the podcast and please leave us a review and share us on social media.

Speaker B: Just take a screenshot and post it up on your social.

Speaker B: And until next time, see you.

Speaker B: Bye.

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