Sometimes You May Not Realize That You Are Unusual

Sometimes, you may not realize that you are unusual in a way and everyone else knows about it.

Recently, someone on Mastodon commented on my reading speed. I had quite a bit of shame. I thought of myself as a slow reader and I never told folks of the internalized shame and ableism I had about that. So, I was a bit confused when they commented on me being extremely fast.

I decided to do 2 reading tests on my casual reading speed. Both came out to me reading about 1,500 words a minute with a reading comprehension hovering around 75 to 80%. I then asked on Mastodon if that is considered fast.

Reader for context, the average adult reads around 300 words per minute. I’m literally 5 times faster than the average adult. I am an outlier. To put into context how fast I read, there’s 125 words from the beginning of this post to the end of the sentence of saying how fast the average adult reads. My current casual reading speed would have me read all of that in 5 seconds. Of course, since I’m the one writing this blog post, I’m reading it significantly faster because I know what I want to say and I’m familiar with the content of what I want to type!

I was shocked (and still am shocked) that I am a very fast reader. I actually turned down getting into speedreading in my childhood because I thought I would be no good at it and I would get bullied even more. So much of my past memories makes sense of folks not being really convinced that I read something that fast. Finally, it’s not racism or ableism for once, I’m just literally extremely unusual!

I then decided to test my skimming speed. It’s around 2,500 words a minute and my reading comprehension drops to to around 65-70%. Apparently, I could break some regional and national speedreading records, but current world record is Anne Jones is for 4200 wpm with a reading comprehension around 67%.

Apparently, everyone knew that I was an incredibly fast reader, but no one bothered to point it out in a concrete, non-passive aggressive way until now. There were hints before, but it was covered in passive aggressiveness and I couldn’t tell if they were doing it for other reasons or if it was just reading speed.

For those confused how I can even read this fast without extensive training in speedreading, I am hyperlexic, autistic, and am an avid reader. I was able to read beginning at the age of 3 and I’ve always scored at or above reading levels for my age. This is important to mention because my mind is literally wired in multiple ways for absorbing huge amounts of information in a written fashion. When I am casually reading, my mind will read some of the words mentally and re-read some sections. When skimming or maximizing speed, I suppress both of these things.

I want to get into speedreading competitions now. If this is how fast I read without training for speed, imagine how much faster and better I could become at this.

By the way, this is my reading speed for nontechnical material. For mathematics, quantitative psychology, statistics, etc. my speed is much slower. Social psychology, my reading speed is around 1,000 words a minute and that’s the fastest I can read any technical material.

Anyways, this has been a pleasant thing to learn about myself.

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