Bionic reading makes my divergent brain happy

When I was young, I couldn’t hold a pencil “the right way.” It became a challenge every year for my new teachers, until I was 12 or so. They would try various discipline or mechanical measures (rewards, punishments, or little rubber grips that made it much more difficult and uncomfortable to hold a pencil the way that felt natural to me.)

All that effort, because they assumed it was better somehow: even though these days I rarely use a pen for anything and hardly ever write on paper; even though my answers were usually right. We’ve gotten a little better about encouraging diverse learning types – I hope – there’s still a lot of work to be done.

One newish tool that’s been making the rounds on social media is bionic reading, so I wanted to try it out.

I decided to use bionic reading below so you can skim both and see what’s better for you. Let me know in the comments which one is easier to read…


I don’t like to say I’m “on the spectrum” because it feels overused – even trendy – and I don’t want to trivialize the real challenges and experiences of the neurodivergent. However I’ve come to accept I have undiagnosed adult ADHD, mostly because ritalin actually works (I do have a psychiatrist so I guess it’s no longer undiagnosed – it just wasn’t a thing when I was in elementary school).

I’ve also found memes about autism that could marginally fit. Sometimes I flourish; sometimes I have difficulty in social settings. My mom was always scolding me to make eye contact. But I didn’t have trouble reading.

On second thought… yes I did.

I was incredibly annoyed at the English language, which seems to have no constants or rules, and was always tricking me with frustrating pronunciations (which had to be learned case-by-case, rather than any universals).

I also didn’t start speaking until well passed the “normal” range and when I did start speaking, I spoke in full sentences. I don’t like to be wrong, and I like to understand how things work. At any rate, when I did figure out reading, I got a library card and disappeared into a world of books, often bringing home a stack too large to carry – dozens every week.

When I was older I played around with speed reading for awhile. I read quickly, but I also get stuck a lot – skimming forward, without comprehending; or rereading the same passages while my mind is busy elsewhere. So I was excited to see this news about bionic reading – a newish thing for neurodivergents. This probably won’t work for everybody, but if it works for you, you’ll know.


don‘t liktsaI’m “othspectrum” because ifeels overused – evetrendy – and I don‘t wanttrivialize threachallenges anexperiences othneurodivergent. However I’vcomtaccept I havundiagnosed adult ADHD, mostly because ritalin actually works (I dhave a psychiatrist so I guess it’nlonger undiagnosed – ijuswasn‘t a thing when I waielementary school).

I’valsfound memes about autism thacould marginally fit. Sometimes I flourish; sometimes I havdifficulty isocial settings. Mmowaalways scolding mtmakeycontact. But I didn‘t havtrouble reading.

On second thought… yes I did.

waincredibly annoyed athEnglish language, which seems thavnconstants orules, anwaalways tricking mwitfrustrating pronunciations (which hatblearned case-by-case, rather thaanuniversals).

alsdidn‘t start speaking until welpassed the “normal” range anwhen I distart speaking, I spoke ifulsentences. I don‘t liktbwrong, and I liktunderstand hothings work. Aanrate, when I did figure oureading, I got a library carandisappeared into a world obooks, often bringing home a stack tolarge tcarry – dozens every week.

When I waolder I played around witspeed reading foawhile. I reaquickly, but I alsgestuck a lot – skimming forward, without comprehending; orereading thsampassages while mminibuselsewhere. So I waexcited tsethinewabout bionic reading – a newish thing foneurodivergents. Thiprobably won‘t worfoeverybody, buiiworks foyou, you’ll know.

OK but what is it exactly?

Bionic reading is a form of reading that uses technology to improve reading speed, accuracy, and comprehension. Additionally, bionic reading can reduce eye strain and fatigue.

You can use the Chrome plugin to add this font-effect to any website page, or use the bionic reading converter tool like I did on the passage above. If you’re looking for a way to improve your reading skills, consider trying bionic reading. You may be surprised at how much it can help you.

Bionic Reading Chrome plugin

PS. YES this can be jarring, and looks weird. But it’s nice that the option is there, for those that find it helps; especially for reading boring stuff like textbooks.

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