reading with my ears [part two]: hello, technology.

You can find “reading with my ears: part one” here.



Reading with VoiceDream reader on my iPhone – a PDF or electronic text document is read in fairly life-like synthesized voices. Also shown, my Bose noise cancelling earphones.


Unlike many people with learning disabilities, I have always enjoyed reading. However, enjoyed is probably somewhat of a loose term. I read constantly, but remembered very little of what I actually read. (Bonus: buy books once, reread them a bunch because you don’t remember what happened). This all started to make more sense when, in 2013, I was diagnosed with a learning disability affecting my processing and memory of information acquired visually, and my processing speed, among other things. In the few years since gaining this information I’ve found a lot of resources that have helped me in ways I hadn’t realized were actually a struggle for me. Now I almost exclusively read audiobooks, retaining far more information with my ears (and allowing me to keep my hands busy at the same time).


Fortunately, audiobook or eText access goes beyond costly audiobooks at Chapters and Audible subscriptions (look, I’d rarely spend $14.95 on a print book a month!), and there are more options out there if you are a person with a disability. To this day, I’ve not touched an audiobook on CD, although I’ve experienced some technology oddities I now avoid (looking at you, Direct-to-Player app of last year!)

Upon learning of my newfound love of audiobooks, my friend Stephen told me about CELA–the Centre for Equitable Library Access, also/formerly known as the CNIB Library.

CELA membership is available to Canadians with a library card to a participating library, who also have a print disability. My learning disability, as well as visual impairment or physical disabilities that prevent people from reading print books, are classified as print disabilities under Canadian copyright law, which also allows people to access works in an alternate format. Signing up for CELA was easy, as it was based on self-disclosure. Other services sometime require proof of disability from a doctor, psychologist, teacher, or other “authority”, as in the case with the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS – Canada) or Bookshare (Canada/US). (I’ve got forms for both stacked up beside me for my yearly appointment with the psychiatrist later this week!) Each of these services provides electronic books either as a recorded mp3 or that can be read by the right technology, such as a screen reader or app. 


CELA opened a whole new world for me in reading, in tandem with the audiobooks available through my public library. As well, assistive technology, such as Voice Dream Reader and iOS speak screen (a recent find compatible with kindle eBooks!), has helped me rediscover reading, and allowing me to access longer or more complicated texts without just being completely lost. Now, I don’t just read books–I enjoy them. I remember more of what I’ve read. I can recommend books to people because I remember things about them. It’s exciting. 


And because of audiobooks, because of CELA, because of assistive technology?

I hit my 2017 GoodReads reading goal of 52 books before August 9, 2017.


With 144 days to spare.

Edit: My doctor got so damn excited when I told her that. (It was amazing. She’s amazing.)


After failing my 25 or 30 book reading goals in years past, that feels pretty awesome. Because even if it works better for me to read in a different way… I’m still reading.

[catching up] 12 of 12: october 2016! [12/31]

Today is Wordless Wednesday except with words. So it’s just Wednesday, really.

12:## am | kitchen. Bedtime snack pumpkin pie, BOOM.

12:## am | kitchen. WTF, Winnipeg. It’s October 12th. Snow is not okay.

11:22 am | kitchen. I swear I do leave my kitchen. It’s #LDchat time, like it is every (or most, for me) Wednesdays!

##:## pm | bus stop. I wrote half a blog post while I sat here because I got to the bus stop 11 minutes early. Also the snow went away and there is still a flower at the bus stop.

##:## pm | mall. I found all the sweary colouring books and sent this picture to Tara. Then she bought a sweary colouring book (which kind of surprised me, actually!)

##:## pm | my office. It’s still weird typing my office. Anyways, I’m super into both Command hooks and what the Internet calls office hacks now. So I put three more command hooks onto the wall—two are pictured here so my writing junk and dry erase junk doesn’t actually take up room on my desk.

##:## pm | car. Driving to IKEA. The camera never captures the pretty sky…

##:## pm | IKEA. Uh oh, the LAPTOP (which has a LAPTOP label on the other side) is BROKEN.

##:## pm | closet. Trying to get paper plates for a craft for work… WHY the eff is there so much carbonated beverage in my house?

##:## pm | my office. Refreshing my memory (aka re-learning all over again) about energy systems, adenosine triphosphate and lactic acid for a blog post.

11:16 pm | my office. I plank in my office because I have foamy tiles there and it’s nice. The app said it was a day off today, so I just held the plank as long as i could moderately comfortably. To think I started at 55 seconds 13 days ago. (Don’t tell me about why rest days are important or whatever, kay? I have a kinesiology degree but it’s called a plank challenge for a reason.)

11:28 pm | kitchen. Actually heading to bed before midnight because I’m going to a thing about budgeting in the morning (who am I?). My dad always leaves coffee cups and stuff here under the microwave. To like, reuse in the morning (or, if my mom is away, all weekend). It’s not like we don’t have a dishwasher he could put it in.

PS. I did the 3 minute Mindful vs. Mindless bitesize meditation after this. Yay.

find me at understood: “what ADHD feels like to me”

ADHD doesn’t define me, but it does help me understand who I am.

from What ADHD Feels Like to Me.

I’m stoked to finally share my first post on Understood’s “The Inside Track” blog! What ADHD Feels Like to Me shares a glimpse into my life with undiagnosed learning and attention issues, and what finally identifying my ADHD and learning issues means to me.

understood promo 1

The experience I’ve had working with the Understood team has been a brand new one to me. For the first time, I’ve worked with an editor—and, while he changed every ‘university’ to ‘college’ in this post, ‘cause America, he is beyond fun and the process has been awesome. (Hi, Andrew!).

Understood gets me.
I found the weekly #LDchat on Twitter run by Understood not long after my diagnosis. From that point forward, until I entered a contract agreement with Understood in September (and, let’s face it, even since then. Also, disclosures here), I would continually and politely remind the Understood team about the existence of adults with learning and attention issues.
Unlike so many groups, Understood listened. We threw some direct messages and e-mails around, and on September 1st, I signed my first contract with Understood (renewed January 1, 2016). While Andrew and I work together to rework and polish a piece to go live, honesty is as important to Understood as it is to me: everything I write on Understood reflects my experiences, feelings and opinions—Andrew made it clear that nothing would go up that I wasn’t 100% on. And, he’s been equally 100% solid on that.

What ADHD Feels Like to Me has been awhile in the making, but the process to get here has been awesome. I’m thankful for Understood: both for this opportunity to share my story with a bigger audience, and for what they offer parents of kids with learning and attention issues.

Disclosure: I receive compensation to blog for (note: I would have done it for free but they offered me money). I am under no obligation to share these posts on Kerri on the Prairies or via social media. (But, you know, I like them, so why wouldn’t I?)