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Freedom Scientific LSG Presents
The WYNNing Word
January 2007
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Vanier College Helps Students Find the Tools Necessary for Success

Vanier College campus

We recently received the following letter from Monique Nikia:

"I would just like to say thank you to the inventors of WYNN. I am a student at Vanier College in Montréal. School has always been a joy of mine, but when I was assessed with dyslexia I felt like I was being robbed of that joy. After graduating high school, college was a dream I didn't think I could achieve on my own, but after hearing about your products and using them for myself, that joy that I lost came back. The simple things people take for granted are my biggest challenges, like curling up with a good book or even studying for an exam was difficult for me, but not anymore. I have the freedom to read as many books as I please, and that is a luxury everyone should have. Knowledge is power and not anything, or anyone, should ever take that away."

After reading this letter, we wanted to know more about Monique and how WYNN has helped her to overcome her challenges. Her story is truly inspirational and one that should be shared with teachers and students. We think you will agree.

Monique struggled in her early years in elementary school. While her teachers felt that she was bright, they thought that she just took too long to learn. She was given hearing tests and diagnosed with auditory processing problems and dyslexia. It became apparent that Monique needed an audio and visual approach to learning. It was decided that her needs could be better met in a special education setting.

Monique has long struggled with reading and writing. She could not sound out words. She could not look up words. Her self confidence plummeted. This devastated Monique. "I felt like a burden to my family, teachers, and peers. I loved school, but felt like I was stuck in 3rd grade."

Contrary to the advice of school administrators and family, Monique rejected the recommendation to attend vocational school. Monique found her niche in the public school setting. She became active in drama and music, and also discovered that if she watched a teacher's mouth she could remember what the teacher said. "They were visually talking to me," explains Monique. Monique soon realized that these techniques would also help her in her studies. She became an avid TV watcher. Again, she could see as well as hear the information. She had her sister make video tapes for her so that she could memorize information.

Monique wanted to go to college. This seemed like an insurmountable challenge. To be accepted, she had to write a letter explaining why she wanted to go Vanier College. Since writing was an enormous problem for her, Monique dictated the letter to a friend. But she was told that she would have to write the letter in the presence of a college interviewer. She also had to explain how she would be able to cope with the college curriculum. In other words, she had to prove to the school that even though she was dyslexic, she could be successful in college. "All people saw was that I couldn't read. They weren't even considering that I could be intelligent." But Monique persevered, and Vanier recognized that she was determined to overcome her challenges. She was accepted!

Soon after starting at Vanier, Marilyn Kaplan, advisor from the Learning Disabilities Office, got Monique a copy of WYNN Wizard on loan. Marilyn and Monique researched to find a grant to purchase WYNN. Monique was the first student at Vanier to get a grant for WYNN, Dragon™ NaturallySpeaking®, a reading pen, and a laptop. She had all these tools available to her at school and at home. She was now prepared to meet the challenges of college. Now she had the resources to show the world that she was a bright and productive student.

When asked how she felt after using WYNN, she said, "I became alive! I never had to be stuck on a word again. It gave me definitions. It sounded the words out for me. And my first written words! Wow! I could hear my words and know that what I had in my head was actually what I put on paper."

Monique went on to tell us that she found WYNN Web Access to be an invaluable feature. She said that it gave her the means to research and gather information for her school work and for herself. She no longer had to have a reader or a writer with her. She explained this was wonderful, since a person was not always available, especially in the wee hours of the morning when she might be working on school work. WYNN, along with the other products, has given her the self confidence that she had so desperately been seeking for years.

WYNN 5.1 Web toolbar icons

Boy using computerThere is more good news. Monique graduated from Vanier College this past December and is working at McGill University Day Care Center. She uses WYNN to create her plans and to take notes during seminars. She feels that her dyslexia is all but invisible to her students since she is able to read and understand curriculum through the use of WYNN. She is building a library of CDs to use with WYNN. This collection is not only for her, but also for her 4-year-old son. He may have some of Monique's learning problems, and she wants him prepared to deal with the situation early in his educational career. This young man not only reads books with WYNN, but also does some of his own scanning! We think we should bring him along to some of our trainings!

Monique NikiaWe could not end this story without some words of wisdom from Monique. We asked her what advice she would give to people who are struggling with their learning disabilities.

"Self advocate! You can be your worst enemy or the person who brings you success. Don’t let dyslexia define who you are. Get out of self loathing. Talk to people. Research what’s available. It’s out there, but difficult to find. Don't get frustrated with the red tape. It may take a long time, but stick to it. Each of us who perseveres makes it easier for the next person. That person may even be your own child. The tools are out there and they should be available in every school, public or private right from day one. No one should be just moved along. Given the proper tools, you can really learn!

Monique feels strongly about encouraging people to talk about their problems. She emphasizes, "Don’t hide; get it out there. If you are a successful dyslexic, tell your story so that you will be an inspiration to others. We need more real people stories. There are many leaders in all walks of life that are dyslexic - Tom Cruise, Charles Schwab. Of course they are famous, but there are many others who would truly be role models for those who are struggling. We need to hear that we, too, can be successful. We need to know with the improved self confidence that true learning brings, we can be anything we choose to be! Go for it!"


Image of an eye Keep an Eye on the News

See who else is using WYNN. Check out Technology and Learning's 2006 Leaders of the Year Awards.



Tip of the Month:

Online Digital Materials

stack of CDs and CD casesIf you, like Monique, are searching for digital materials to use with WYNN, you may want to take a look at our Freedom Scientific/LSG Web site.

You will find many options for both free access and fee-based subscription plans. You may find subject matter that you will be able to open in WYNN without the need for scanning.

Of course, you can scan any materials and save them to CD to be archived for future use. In WYNN 5, a clean-up icon has been provided in the Blue Toolbar for improved document clean up of scanned documents.

No matter if you choose to scan or download, you can build a digital library that can be available to any student at any time on your network, on CD, or even on an MP3 player!


Want to view past issues of WYNNing Word? Please go to Archives of WYNNing Word Articles.

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About Freedom Scientific LSG:

Freedom Scientific, Learning Systems Group, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, 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.


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For more information, call 1-800-444-4443 or e-mail wynn at freedomscientific.com.

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