Scientific LSG Presents
The WYNNing Word
WYNN... the sky's the limit!"
interview with Sam Mirkovich
Sam Mirkovich from Ellenburg, Washington, has struggled with reading
and writing his entire life. His learning disability is a visual
processing problem that requires him to focus on words for long
periods of time. "Reading is difficult because I can't look
at words long enough to understand them," Sam explained. For
years Sam knew the kind of tool he needed to help him. "I envisioned
the product before I ever used it. I wanted a way to scan in books,
so I could read them but didn't know it was out there."
Just Trying to Cope
"Growing up, I compensated for my disability by memorizing
what words looked and sounded like, rather than learning them phonetically."
This method got Sam through high school, but he struggled. "My
GPA was a 1.9, but I did manage to get accepted at a community college
where I played baseball."
Things didn't get any easier in college, though. "I worked
hard! I worked three times harder than the average person to just
get Cs." However, there came a point in college when the reading
became overwhelming for Sam. "You're supposed to study hard
in college," Sam said,"but my life revolved around studying,
from sunup to sundown. Every day I would wake up, study, go to class,
come home, study, go to baseball practice, come home, and study
more. I had no social life." Sam wanted something that would
Seeking Out College Resources
It was around this time that he was introduced to the Disability
and Support Services office at Central Washington University, Elmsburg,
Washington. He started asking for books on tape to make studying
easier. "After a while they ran out of material for me and
offered me the opportunity to try WYNN to see if it would help.
I started using it and really enjoyed it." Sam had limited
access to the center because it was only open from 9 AM to 5 PM
each day. At that point, Sam got in touch with Freedom Scientific
Learning Systems Group (LSG) to get his own copy of WYNN.
More than anything,
Sam says that his reading has improved with WYNN thanks to the bi-modal
approach. "Following along with text was always difficult
for me. Now I scan my books and read them with WYNN. My reading
has improved because I see the words while hearing it and seeing
it highlighted on the screen. This was a big breakthrough for me.
It cut my reading time in half!"
Achieving Success in All Aspects of Life
Today Sam uses WYNN in many aspects of his life. "I use WYNN
for all my letters and e-mail. I even used WYNN to write all my
papers in college. The format of the program is so easy to use,
especially the voice capabilities."
Sam struggled with seeing his grammar errors and now uses WYNN
to hear them. "This is not just a product for kids in school,"
he said. "It was great for me while I was in school, but you
can use it in the workplace, too." Sam is completing his teaching
certification, and he plans to continue using WYNN in the classroom.
"My next step is to get a scanner and use my laptop to do lesson
Today, Sam has
his degree in hand and his own classroom in the near future. "WYNN
has changed my life. I have always enjoyed reading and writing,
but it was a difficult process for me. With WYNN it's much
easier for me. I just don't feel hindered any more."
Because of WYNN Sam has even considered pursuing a master's
degree. "The sky is the limit,"
Sam said enthusiastically.
If you are looking for resources to help you or someone you know
understand the processes and rights of an LD student attending college,
please follow these links.
to Postsecondary Education Information
College Students with LD Can Advocate for Themselves
Ready for College - Advising High Students with LD
Scholarships for Disabled Students
COMING NEXT MONTH:
ASK the EXPERT: Lynn Regan will be joined by Sam
Mirkovich in answering questions about using WYNN in a postsecondary
setting and for personal use. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
and we will respond to your questions. Take the opportunity
to speak with a real expert, a person who has truly experienced
the power of WYNN!
A WYNN TEACHING TOOL: The
writing component of WYNN is a very powerful tool. Next month, we
will highlight these tools along with SQ3R—a writing strategy that
has proven to be very successful with LD students. A free
PowerPoint presentation will be offered to those readers who would
like more information about using WYNN with SQ3R. Don't
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