Back home I surveyed my options.
The specialist was not entirely correct. I could read, just not very well.
Why would loss of peripheral vision affect reading? Just move your eyes or head. Right? I would never have guessed the effect.
To understand the problem suppose you are trying to read a poem
Remember me when I am gone.
Gone far away into the silent land.
Where you can no more hold me by the hand,
Or I turn to go, yet turning stay.
Here’s what I see now when I look at the word “Remember”
Gone far away
Where you ca
Or I turn to go,
The missing part is not blacked out or anything. It’s just invisible, in the same way something round the back of my head would be. Of course I can turn my head and see the rest but how far off is the end of the line? Instead of locating the end of each line unconsciously it’s now a conscious effort, which undermines reading patterns. We rely upon being able to find the end of the line without specifically searching for it.
If the loss of peripheral vision is on the left finding the start of each line is now the difficulty.
Investigation revealed that I had even greater problems with typing. I was never good, but now typing was painful, wildly inaccurate and desperately slow.
So I tried to figure out what I needed. It came to voices: I needed software to read for me and take my dictation.
I found a start on my iPad. There is a Speak Selection feature built in and I downloaded a free app, Dragon Dictation. With a few experiments I saw I could go on with the teaching I love, although it would have to be differently, and I would need a version of Dragon that could be trained, and it would be a big learning curve. But it was a start. I could phone my boss now and say this is what I want to do, and be more in control of my own destiny.
I couldn’t lie back and say it’s early days yet. To me that would be death; I think Pablo Cassals said something like to cease work is to die.
I rang my boss and he was marvellous. That’s the next post.