Freedom Scientific Learning Systems Group Presents
WYNN + Web = Success in Business
WYNN has Proven to be a ‘Gem’ of a Program
Rebecca Chally had just graduated from high school. She knew that a traditional job would be improbable due to her medical condition. She began to dream of starting her own business.
Marika Wong, the Assistive Technology specialist on Becca’s business team, had the assignment to evaluate the assistive technology needs for Becca when she left high school. Ms. Wong suggested that since Becca had been using WYNN in high school, she felt it would continue to be a powerfully useful tool for Becca as she ventured into the small business world. Thus began Becca’s “business partnership” with WYNN’s tools, especially WYNN’s Web Tool.
To understand why WYNN has become so important to Becca, you need to know her background. Becca’s story is truly a remarkable one! You see, she wanted to start her own jewelry-making business, a task that seemed insurmountable to some who knew Becca.
When we contacted Becca and her mother, Debbie Lynne, to gather information for this article, they suggested that we read her artist statement. As it did with us, we are sure the following excerpts will inspire you to find out more about how Becca met her challenges.
Fascination best describes my interaction with the visual details that surround me each day. The interplay of color, pattern and texture ceaselessly holds my attention. My siblings and I were immersed in abundant creative activities growing up, resulting in a thriving imagination. Whether involved in textiles, music, or garden design we were interacting with the world around us. It is from this foundation that my artistic nature has been nurtured.
Since I was two, I have been severely challenged with a devastating seizure disorder. Despite many aggressive interventions I have continued to have daily seizures and declining health. Multiple times a week I experience potentially life-threatening episodes, which require immediate medical intervention. As a result, I must have a trained individual with me at all times.
The years of uncontrolled seizures have resulted in increasingly complex disabilities, especially reading, writing and communication. My self-esteem suffered, as I was acutely aware of my regressing abilities. Isolation, disappointment, exhaustion and confusion were everyday experiences. Memory, recall and language come with great difficulty. Yet I have discovered that creating jewelry has opened exciting new avenues of communication.
This statement was prepared, with input from the artist, on her behalf.
Meeting the Challenges
As you can see from the artist statement, Becca’s struggles with communication started during her formative years of language development. Her family was camping on Whidbey Island in Washington State when Becca experienced an extremely severe episode of status epilepticus (SE), continuous seizures that won't stop without medical intervention. It took the local hospital several hours to stabilize her to the point that she could be air-lifted to Seattle Children's Hospital. Life was difficult; she was seizing daily and her speech was hard to understand.
By the time she was in Kindergarten, Becca could point to letters, but not name them. She did not know numbers and had trouble remembering most things. Attending school was becoming increasingly more difficult. Becca was unable to stay awake due to the sedating effect of the medications needed to control the seizures. That summer she spent many days and weeks in the hospital. It was decided that surgery might possibly stop the seizures. On what would have been Becca’s first day of first grade, she had her first of many brain surgeries. A section of her left temporal lobe, the memory storage area called the hippocampus, was removed.
Becca returned to school in November but had trouble with walking and writing. A full time aide was assigned to Becca. She continued to have an aide until she graduated from high school in 2007 at age 20. She was in and out of school frequently due to seizures and surgeries. When she was in school, she invariably was pulled out of class to work only with her aide. Becca told us, “I felt invisible for most of my 15 years of school.”
It was in middle school when Ms. Wong introduced Becca to WYNN. She told us, “While she was a student, she had many occasions when seizures kept her out of school or even hospitalized. She needed a way to keep up academically. She couldn't read a book independently or edit her writing. WYNN helped her do both of those; it became a critical tool for her.”
Becca found that she responded best to visual cues when presented, with an auditory input. Becca explained, “I used my visual strengths to notice many details around me. I was aware of the positive resources that were supplied by adaptive technology like WYNN.” WYNN’s ability to speak the printed word gave her the winning combination.
Becca’s seizures would begin from within the language processing center of the brain, making word retrieval difficult. WYNN’s Word Prediction Tool presents a list of applicable words.
This tool enabled Becca to garner clues for her word choice while writing independently. This was particularly useful when trying to complete research papers. With WYNN’s list making feature, she could compile a list to refer back to as needed. It was especially helpful making these lists in WYNN since she had the advantage of the bimodal approach to comprehend the words.
While high school academics proved to be a challenge, life became a bit easier. Becca now was in special education classes for most of the day. She no longer had to be singled out to receive the aid she needed to learn the subject matter. With high school graduation approaching, Becca recalls in her artistic statement, “I knew I would never be able to work a ‘traditional job’ due to the unpredictability of my seizures and other increasing medical issues. I began dreaming of having my own business.” It was during that time that Becca remembered one of her more significant learning experiences – that of preparing a research paper about quilting in the fourth grade. It was then she discovered that she liked colors, textures and patterns. Little did she know that years later this experience would lead her to a career in jewelry-making.
Firefly Keepsake Jewelry
Her family assisted her in exploring creative options for disabled individuals to become self-employed. With assistance from several state agencies, Becca has been able to hire several jewelry artists to assist her in the finishing details of her bead work. She also has a group of volunteers who assist in the non-beading part of the business.
Ms. Wong's expertise in Adaptive Technology, combined with her past years of working with Becca, allowed her to advocate on Becca's behalf in a very effective way. Through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation funding, Becca now has her own copy of WYNN Wizard. She continues to benefit from WYNN’s empowering tools. Through the use of the WYNN Scanning capability, written directions are not a problem for Becca. WYNN’s Internet access has enabled Becca to freely research online for suppliers and vendors for purchasing materials for her business.
Becca’s mom told us, “WYNN plus the Web has equaled success in business for my daughter. She can look at Web sites to learn more about growing the business.” Her mom continued, “Becca is no longer shy about business e-mails since WYNN will read this mail to her. She now has the confidence to venture forth to achieve her goal of business independence.”
Becca has encountered and conquered many challenges in her short life. With her determination, her support system, technology, and WYNN we are sure that we will be hearing more about the successes in Becca’s life.
Becca, you are quite remarkable!
Keep an Eye on the News
Here are a few Web sites for more information about Epilepsy:
Of course, Becca invites you to visit FireflyKeepsakeJewelry.com.
Tip of the Month
Since we sometimes get questions about how to efficiently scan lengthy digital books, we thought we would give you some tips on using WYNN's Freedom Import Printer (FIP), the virtual scanning process.
While it is possible to use FIP to virtually scan a lengthy book in one process, it may exceed your computer’s memory capacity. To avoid this we recommend using FIP chapter by chapter, or unit by unit with the files ranging between 30 to 50 pages.
Creating chapters using FIP
- Open the chapter or unit.
- Click the Print function key or icon from the digital host’s application (for example, Adobe Acrobat).
- Select Freedom Import Printer from the list of available printers.
- Set the print range for the FIP process in the Print dialog box.
This will insure you get the exact number of pages you want in each file.
- Click Print.
- When you finish using FIP to print (virtually scan) the pages, appropriately name the file. Repeat steps 1 through 5 until you have finished the book. We strongly recommend that you save the chapters or units to a CD or other alternative storage device.
Putting chapters into one large file
- Open your first .WYN saved chapter or unit file created in the previous procedure.
- Click File and then choose Append to the Current Document. The Select a File to Open dialog box appears.
- Click the next .WYN chapter or unit.
- Click Open.
WYNN will automatically append the second chapter or unit to the first chapter or unit.
- Save the file as the name of the book. You will keep all the individual files as well as the file created for the entire book.
- Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you have included all chapters or units.
Note: If the original digital text is in PDF format that is locked, you will not be able to use FIP to append chapters.
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About Freedom Scientific LSG
Freedom Scientific, Learning Systems Group provides products that are acclaimed for their easy-to-use interface, innovative technology, and flexible but powerful features. Designed by educational experts to enhance the learning process for struggling students, WYNN provides reading and writing solutions. Freedom Scientific LSG also created TestTalker, which provides test-taking preparations and worksheet completion. To find out more about our products, please visit us at www.freedomscientific.com/lsg.