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RobertKurson
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Registered: ‎07-03-2007
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Re: book purchase

No other projects at the moment, I'm afraid. But always searching for great stories. Good ones are easy to find. Very good ones are extremely rare!


Learn more about Crashing Through.
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vivico1
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Re: book purchase


RobertKurson wrote:
No other projects at the moment, I'm afraid. But always searching for great stories. Good ones are easy to find. Very good ones are extremely rare!


I am keeping your website bookmarked just in case. Mike is the pioneer and you are the inquisitive journaler (is that a word? lol it is now, for one who is more than just a writer of stories but someone who journals the very adventures of the pioneers in a very hands on, humanistic way. Like someone writing in their journal as they travel on the adventure about all the details that made it special to them that day, so more involved than even a journalist.) So, when you do run across another pioneer of any kind that you want and need to write about, I want to know about the book! I want to go along on the adventure too! :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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lessons

Robert,
We have just over a week of this club left and so I would like to ask you a question. You may have answered this somewhere else or in part. From your time with Mike thus far (sounds like you keep in touch still) up til now, and after writing this book, what would you say was the most surprising thing you ran into that still stays with you and what, if you wanted to share just one thing that you learned in all this, what would it be? How has this affected you personally? OK, i guess thats two or three questions lol.

Also, what, if he ever told you, would Mike want everyone to know about what his experiences have taught him too. Thanks, Vivian
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
RobertKurson
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎07-03-2007
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Re: lessons



vivico1 wrote:
Robert,
We have just over a week of this club left and so I would like to ask you a question. You may have answered this somewhere else or in part. From your time with Mike thus far (sounds like you keep in touch still) up til now, and after writing this book, what would you say was the most surprising thing you ran into that still stays with you and what, if you wanted to share just one thing that you learned in all this, what would it be? How has this affected you personally? OK, i guess thats two or three questions lol.

Also, what, if he ever told you, would Mike want everyone to know about what his experiences have taught him too. Thanks, Vivian




Thanks, as always, Vivian, for the excellent questions. I'll give it my best to answer.

To try to single out the most surprising thing I learned in writing the book is almost impossible. I think the reason is because almost everything I learned was counterintuitive and often startling. That's actually one of the best indicators to me that I'm onto a special story - that things aren't necessarily what you'd expect, or even guess them to be. I was shocked to discover the rarity of Mike's case, the pervasive depression among his predecessors, the trust and confidence shown him by his wife, family, and friends, the difficulties he encountered learning to see, the beauty in the mundane that so many of us take for granted (and that thrilled Mike), and so many more. The idea that knowledge is essential to vision still strikes me as a staggering insight. The notion that humans (and especially children) must be allowed to explore the world - to touch, feel, taste, experiment with everything - in order to see still strikes me as profound. All of this has had a huge impact on how I think about the world, about raising children, and about what it means to live a full and rich life.

One element of the story has stayed with me in a way I didn't necessarily expect when I set out to write the book. It's the question of what a person might choose to see if he knew he had only a short time left with vision. This, as those who have read Crashing Through know, is just the situation Mike found himself in at the end of the story, as his stem cells began to reject and he began to go blind again. His first instinct was to see the big things, to travel, to take in the magnificent. But soon, without even processing it consciously, he seems to have taken a deep pleasure in seeing the stuff of his everyday life, the very small things, the commonplace ingredients that comprise the people and places that most matter to all of us. Soon enough, Mike just wanted to see what he saw everyday, and that's an insight I think I'll remember forever.

Finally, if I had to guess what Mike would say about what he learned from his experience, he'd say something like this: That, in the end, he could only have guessed at what this amazing experience with vision would have been, but he'd been right about himself all along - that the worst decision he could have made was not to try.


Learn more about Crashing Through.
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vivico1
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Re: lessons


RobertKurson wrote:


vivico1 wrote:
Robert,
We have just over a week of this club left and so I would like to ask you a question. You may have answered this somewhere else or in part. From your time with Mike thus far (sounds like you keep in touch still) up til now, and after writing this book, what would you say was the most surprising thing you ran into that still stays with you and what, if you wanted to share just one thing that you learned in all this, what would it be? How has this affected you personally? OK, i guess thats two or three questions lol.

Also, what, if he ever told you, would Mike want everyone to know about what his experiences have taught him too. Thanks, Vivian




Thanks, as always, Vivian, for the excellent questions. I'll give it my best to answer.

To try to single out the most surprising thing I learned in writing the book is almost impossible. I think the reason is because almost everything I learned was counterintuitive and often startling. That's actually one of the best indicators to me that I'm onto a special story - that things aren't necessarily what you'd expect, or even guess them to be. I was shocked to discover the rarity of Mike's case, the pervasive depression among his predecessors, the trust and confidence shown him by his wife, family, and friends, the difficulties he encountered learning to see, the beauty in the mundane that so many of us take for granted (and that thrilled Mike), and so many more. The idea that knowledge is essential to vision still strikes me as a staggering insight. The notion that humans (and especially children) must be allowed to explore the world - to touch, feel, taste, experiment with everything - in order to see still strikes me as profound. All of this has had a huge impact on how I think about the world, about raising children, and about what it means to live a full and rich life.

One element of the story has stayed with me in a way I didn't necessarily expect when I set out to write the book. It's the question of what a person might choose to see if he knew he had only a short time left with vision. This, as those who have read Crashing Through know, is just the situation Mike found himself in at the end of the story, as his stem cells began to reject and he began to go blind again. His first instinct was to see the big things, to travel, to take in the magnificent. But soon, without even processing it consciously, he seems to have taken a deep pleasure in seeing the stuff of his everyday life, the very small things, the commonplace ingredients that comprise the people and places that most matter to all of us. Soon enough, Mike just wanted to see what he saw everyday, and that's an insight I think I'll remember forever.

Finally, if I had to guess what Mike would say about what he learned from his experience, he'd say something like this: That, in the end, he could only have guessed at what this amazing experience with vision would have been, but he'd been right about himself all along - that the worst decision he could have made was not to try.


Thank you Robert so much. I think the idea of knowledge being tied to sight is a huge discovery or insight too! No wonder babies want to touch EVERYTHING and taste EVERYTHING huh? Its not just "baby stuff", they are learning what they see! Not just textures and tastes and size, but actually visual information needed for full sight! Quite extraordinary concept.
I think what all you said here, really summed up what I wanted to ask you as the author and tells me also exactly why this was such a good book, because of how all this affected you, you helped it affect us the same way. I love this book! This really was a page turner to me and I thank you for making it all that accessable to us in a really human way, not just a dry textbook way. Hey, Robert, its like, you made the story something we could feel and touch and taste too! And it gave us such wonderful knowledge that way that will stick with us :smileywink:

Also, if you get a chance, could you please thank Mike for us for letting us in his life in such a personal way through this book. He should be Nike's spokensman for everything they make with their logo...JUST DO IT! lol :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test

Robert,
I thought of another question and I can't remember how well Mike can read, to know if this was something that turns out is developed as a child too or if it comes with reading at any age. I was trying to find the part about whether he read or prefered braille, and cant find it at the moment. (Thats my problem, I have a hard time finding where I read things by chapter numbers instead of chapter titles to associate things with). But anyway, there is an interesting study about reading ability and memory that shows that you can read just about any words in a sentance correctly as long as the first and last letters are correct because our brain will unscramble them to the words we know. Let me see if i can write an example.

See if you can read this easily, dont look to hard at the words, just read it fast if you can: Wehn aynnoe teris semohtnig nwe, it cna be vrey dufficilt at frist. Yuo mya hvae to pactrice.

OK, this is for everyone here too, could you read that? I can usually read entire paragraphs written that way very quickly if i dont try too hard. In this study, it was pretty common. I am not sure what that says about dyslexia. I don't think it mentioned people with dyslexia, or for that matter how accurate the reporting was on it, its so easy to skew results, so it may not be true but it was for me and others I know. Only some words took more than one look. If Mike can focus on letters enough to read (I keep thinking there was parts where he and his kids were reading the paper or something but I cant find it now,or I am imagining it lol) I wonder if this holds true for him or if its because of early memorization of words only, that makes this possible. If that is so, this may not be possible for him, or not till he reads for a long enough time. Maybe for that matter, it wouldn't work for dyslexics, because they have a hard time seeing the word correctly to begin with, to continue to memorize the order of the letters in the words correctly, to set in their memories.

It's just an interesting little item about how our brain deciphers words for us, because we tend to scan when we read, not look at each letter, is why it works. I just was wondering if it works for Mike, as long as the first and last letter are in the right place and it is in sentences, not just a word alone.

I thought of something else that has to do with memory and writing and seeing, that I can do, which means there must be lots of others who can too LOL. I can write in cursive one word or entire paragraphs, right to left, and backwards, so that if you hold it up to a mirror, you can read it great. Sometimes, my handwriting is even bette that way LOL. I think the way I do it is, that I picture the words in my mind written out and then just trace it in a sense, backwards onto paper. Now, there is no big call for this in the world LOL, neat little trick, people like to see their names written backwards especially when it looks perfectly right in a mirror. Maybe it is something that helps in other things I do or just another way I can organize things in my mind, but its kinda fun.

Do you know about this curious phenomenon and if Mike can read without trouble, can he read things like this? Does it register in its form that makes sense to us, like our brain wants to do with other things? Thanks, Vivian
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Justine
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test

Hi Vivian,

Boy! You must type fast!! :smileyhappy: Anyway, I could read the sentence if I didn't look too closely. Maybe that's why some ppl are esp good at those word scramble games in the newspaper. Not everyone can write backwards so that it shows up in the mirror, but my uncle can , and his handwriting is better that way too ! :smileyhappy: Anyway, this msg is not very substantive , but it was an interesting post, so I wanted to reply...

Justine
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test


Justine wrote:
Hi Vivian,

Boy! You must type fast!! :smileyhappy: Anyway, I could read the sentence if I didn't look too closely. Maybe that's why some ppl are esp good at those word scramble games in the newspaper. Not everyone can write backwards so that it shows up in the mirror, but my uncle can , and his handwriting is better that way too ! :smileyhappy: Anyway, this msg is not very substantive , but it was an interesting post, so I wanted to reply...

Justine


Hi Justine,
No I dont type fast lol, too much yes! lol but not fast. Isn't that interesting that your uncle can write backwards too AND that his handwriting appears neater too! I wonder why that is?? Pretty crazy. It is cool that we can read scrambled words in sentences huh and the key really is to not look too hard. You may be right about the word games. I can do those "find the word" puzzles, where the word in among all those letters, written up, down, diagonally and such, very quickly and if i do the same thing, not look to closely. Thanks for your post. :smileyhappy:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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MahaBali
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Re: book purchase

I really hope I read something new by you soon, Robert... you obviously have an instinct for finding those "rare" but wonderful stories.

The amazing thing is that towards the end of the book, when Mike found out the parts of his brain responsible for "understanding" what goes through his eyes (depth, faces, etc.) - i just "knew" he would find a way... and while i thought it, i realized that this is not a fictitious character that can be manipulated into willing something like this to happen... then again, i also realized that by this time, i "knew" Mike enough to know he would try. As someone said before, Mike did not see himself as a hero because he was an accomplished blind person. I think he is a hero as a person - how many people (blind or not) have accomplished half as much as he has? How many people have half the adventure, courage, heart that he has? I actually could not think of one good reason for him to do the surgery except the one that made him do it, because it made sense to him!

By the way, I just heard your audio interview, and even though I was not interested in Shadow Divers to begin with, the way you described the focus of it has made me change my mind.

If someone from B&N is reading this - the audio interviews are a wonderful idea and this online book club with authors is one of the best uses of technology I have ever seen (and i work in using technology for education, so i have seen a lot)
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MahaBali
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Re: lessons

Following Viv's lead - i was curious about something

Mike's opthalmologist kept saying "your eyes are fine, it's your brain" - how come he never himself referred Mike to "vision scientists" like Ione Fine?

Mike just really got lucky to have met her, but it seems that she should have been part of his post-vision therapy by default (even if his case is rare).

Any ideas?
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MahaBali
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test



vivico1 wrote:

Justine wrote:
Hi Vivian,

Boy! You must type fast!! :smileyhappy: Anyway, I could read the sentence if I didn't look too closely. Maybe that's why some ppl are esp good at those word scramble games in the newspaper. Not everyone can write backwards so that it shows up in the mirror, but my uncle can , and his handwriting is better that way too ! :smileyhappy: Anyway, this msg is not very substantive , but it was an interesting post, so I wanted to reply...

Justine


Hi Justine,
No I dont type fast lol, too much yes! lol but not fast. Isn't that interesting that your uncle can write backwards too AND that his handwriting appears neater too! I wonder why that is?? Pretty crazy. It is cool that we can read scrambled words in sentences huh and the key really is to not look too hard. You may be right about the word games. I can do those "find the word" puzzles, where the word in among all those letters, written up, down, diagonally and such, very quickly and if i do the same thing, not look to closely. Thanks for your post. :smileyhappy:





hey Viv,

i could read the scramble - i think your suggestion might help Mike try to overcome his problem reading (i remember he would forget the first letter by the time he reached the last but could sometimes figure things out by context e.g. the Raisan Bran cereal box being purple)

the problem for Mike might be that it is easy for us because we are familiar with what a word "looks like" and can thus "speed read" whereas Mike is not familiar with what words look like and so can't make that jump... you know?
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test


MahaBali wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Justine wrote:
Hi Vivian,

Boy! You must type fast!! :smileyhappy: Anyway, I could read the sentence if I didn't look too closely. Maybe that's why some ppl are esp good at those word scramble games in the newspaper. Not everyone can write backwards so that it shows up in the mirror, but my uncle can , and his handwriting is better that way too ! :smileyhappy: Anyway, this msg is not very substantive , but it was an interesting post, so I wanted to reply...

Justine


Hi Justine,
No I dont type fast lol, too much yes! lol but not fast. Isn't that interesting that your uncle can write backwards too AND that his handwriting appears neater too! I wonder why that is?? Pretty crazy. It is cool that we can read scrambled words in sentences huh and the key really is to not look too hard. You may be right about the word games. I can do those "find the word" puzzles, where the word in among all those letters, written up, down, diagonally and such, very quickly and if i do the same thing, not look to closely. Thanks for your post. :smileyhappy:





hey Viv,

i could read the scramble - i think your suggestion might help Mike try to overcome his problem reading (i remember he would forget the first letter by the time he reached the last but could sometimes figure things out by context e.g. the Raisan Bran cereal box being purple)

the problem for Mike might be that it is easy for us because we are familiar with what a word "looks like" and can thus "speed read" whereas Mike is not familiar with what words look like and so can't make that jump... you know?


Thats why I was wondering about it with him. Does it take a long time of stored memories of how words look to scan read as we all do, or can one as soon as he can read..scan read? That is definately the question, and more about the brain than the eyes huh.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: lessons


MahaBali wrote:
Following Viv's lead - i was curious about something

Mike's opthalmologist kept saying "your eyes are fine, it's your brain" - how come he never himself referred Mike to "vision scientists" like Ione Fine?

Mike just really got lucky to have met her, but it seems that she should have been part of his post-vision therapy by default (even if his case is rare).

Any ideas?


Luck again? :smileywink: lol, oh those "coincidences"
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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MahaBali
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test

well, on the other hand, i think younger kids start reading by recognizing words by their first letter, right? I think some kids when they see the first letter of their name in capital, think that the word must be their name (obviously they know so few words that maybe their name is the only word they know that starts with that letter - but it's still a kind of scanning, right?)
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MahaBali
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Re: lessons



vivico1 wrote:

MahaBali wrote:
Following Viv's lead - i was curious about something

Mike's opthalmologist kept saying "your eyes are fine, it's your brain" - how come he never himself referred Mike to "vision scientists" like Ione Fine?

Mike just really got lucky to have met her, but it seems that she should have been part of his post-vision therapy by default (even if his case is rare).

Any ideas?


Luck again? :smileywink: lol, oh those "coincidences"




well, yes, it was a lucky coincidence... but shouldn't it have been planned? or at least considered by the opthalmologist when he realized something was wrong with Mike's brain rather than vision?
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test


MahaBali wrote:
well, on the other hand, i think younger kids start reading by recognizing words by their first letter, right? I think some kids when they see the first letter of their name in capital, think that the word must be their name (obviously they know so few words that maybe their name is the only word they know that starts with that letter - but it's still a kind of scanning, right?)


Or maybe at that point, it is just looking for the few familiar letters you know. Maybe its just memorization there? And later the ability to scan read comes from our bank of memorized letters?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: lessons


MahaBali wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

MahaBali wrote:
Following Viv's lead - i was curious about something

Mike's opthalmologist kept saying "your eyes are fine, it's your brain" - how come he never himself referred Mike to "vision scientists" like Ione Fine?

Mike just really got lucky to have met her, but it seems that she should have been part of his post-vision therapy by default (even if his case is rare).

Any ideas?


Luck again? :smileywink: lol, oh those "coincidences"




well, yes, it was a lucky coincidence... but shouldn't it have been planned? or at least considered by the opthalmologist when he realized something was wrong with Mike's brain rather than vision?


Oh I agree that it should have been planned, if the ophthalmologist knew about these particular studies and how to get in touch with those running them. I was just grinning at the idea that this too was just a coincidence, such an immense thing. :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Librarian
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test

[ Edited ]

vivico1 wrote:

MahaBali wrote:
well, on the other hand, i think younger kids start reading by recognizing words by their first letter, right? I think some kids when they see the first letter of their name in capital, think that the word must be their name (obviously they know so few words that maybe their name is the only word they know that starts with that letter - but it's still a kind of scanning, right?)


Or maybe at that point, it is just looking for the few familiar letters you know. Maybe its just memorization there? And later the ability to scan read comes from our bank of memorized letters?



Young children learn vowel and consonant sounds and sight recognition of vowels and consonants. They then use these "phonics" to sound out the words as they read. They also learn a body of often used words (such as---the, a, you, me, etc.) as sight recognition words (memorization if you will). Also since English has many exceptions, they also learn to recognize many of these by sight. This method of learning to read is from my work experience in elementary school. I can't speak for every school system, however. This learning mushrooms at the ages of five and six. So Mike would have missed out on all the sight cues at that age.
Librarian

Message Edited by Librarian on 07-29-2007 03:10 PM
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test



Richard,
I was still wondering about Mike's reading these days and if he can scan read as we do, like in this test I posted on the 25th. We had a bit of interesting discussion on this. If you read it all before you get here, well you will know you dont need to read all this one again LOL. I wasnt going to post the whole thing again but it was easier than saying, go to this thread on that date at this time LOL :smileywink: Also,yes since it is down to two days left,if you are around, I too wanted to thank you so very much for joining us and adding to our experience of reading this book. Thank you for being here and thank you for writing this book! I will be getting divers and keeping an eye out for more from you :smileywink: thanks,Vivian

vivico1 wrote:
Robert,
I thought of another question and I can't remember how well Mike can read, to know if this was something that turns out is developed as a child too or if it comes with reading at any age. I was trying to find the part about whether he read or prefered braille, and cant find it at the moment. (Thats my problem, I have a hard time finding where I read things by chapter numbers instead of chapter titles to associate things with). But anyway, there is an interesting study about reading ability and memory that shows that you can read just about any words in a sentance correctly as long as the first and last letters are correct because our brain will unscramble them to the words we know. Let me see if i can write an example.

See if you can read this easily, dont look to hard at the words, just read it fast if you can: Wehn aynnoe teris semohtnig nwe, it cna be vrey dufficilt at frist. Yuo mya hvae to pactrice.

OK, this is for everyone here too, could you read that? I can usually read entire paragraphs written that way very quickly if i dont try too hard. In this study, it was pretty common. I am not sure what that says about dyslexia. I don't think it mentioned people with dyslexia, or for that matter how accurate the reporting was on it, its so easy to skew results, so it may not be true but it was for me and others I know. Only some words took more than one look. If Mike can focus on letters enough to read (I keep thinking there was parts where he and his kids were reading the paper or something but I cant find it now,or I am imagining it lol) I wonder if this holds true for him or if its because of early memorization of words only, that makes this possible. If that is so, this may not be possible for him, or not till he reads for a long enough time. Maybe for that matter, it wouldn't work for dyslexics, because they have a hard time seeing the word correctly to begin with, to continue to memorize the order of the letters in the words correctly, to set in their memories.

It's just an interesting little item about how our brain deciphers words for us, because we tend to scan when we read, not look at each letter, is why it works. I just was wondering if it works for Mike, as long as the first and last letter are in the right place and it is in sentences, not just a word alone.

I thought of something else that has to do with memory and writing and seeing, that I can do, which means there must be lots of others who can too LOL. I can write in cursive one word or entire paragraphs, right to left, and backwards, so that if you hold it up to a mirror, you can read it great. Sometimes, my handwriting is even bette that way LOL. I think the way I do it is, that I picture the words in my mind written out and then just trace it in a sense, backwards onto paper. Now, there is no big call for this in the world LOL, neat little trick, people like to see their names written backwards especially when it looks perfectly right in a mirror. Maybe it is something that helps in other things I do or just another way I can organize things in my mind, but its kinda fun.

Do you know about this curious phenomenon and if Mike can read without trouble, can he read things like this? Does it register in its form that makes sense to us, like our brain wants to do with other things? Thanks, Vivian

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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psb
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Re: Questions for the author, use spoiler warnings if needed/ a little test

There are studies that show when a blind person learns to read braille, unused areas of the visual cortex are taken over by the sense of touch. Brain scans show that the reading finger becomes linked to an area in the visual cortex. Braille is difficult to master for those who become blind late in life.
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