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WYNNing Word

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Freedom Scientific Learning Systems Group Presents
The WYNNing Word
August/September 2010

WYNNING Can Make a Difference

Patty Nizio
How many times have you passed up a chance to enter a drawing because you thought, “Oh, I’ll never win.”? Well, while Patty Nizio was attending the Assistive Technology Industry Association, ATIA, Conference in Orlando, Florida, last year, she decided to take a chance and put her name into our drawing. And, guess what? She won a copy of WYNN™ Reader!

We thought it might prove interesting to see how some of our drawing winners actually utilize their prize when they return home. So we contacted Patty to see if she might like to share her thoughts about WYNN. She had quite a story to share. One that we thought our readers might enjoy.

Children's Hospital of Michigan logoPatty is a Speech & Language Pathologist in the Rehab Technology Program of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. While the main campus of the hospital is in Detroit, the Rehab Center is located in Novi, Michigan. It is at this facility that they provide assessment and therapy services to clients in an outpatient setting. Clients are typically seen for individual therapy sessions, either speech/language pathology services or occupational therapy services, depending on a client’s strengths and areas of need. Their clients are able to access other services if necessary, such as seating and mobility clinic, physical therapy, physician services, etc.

The staff works with clients from the ages of two years old through adulthood. Clients demonstrate a wide range of severity levels and diagnoses, including Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aphasia, Apraxia, Syndromes, Learning Disabilities, Developmental Delays, Cognitive Impairments, and other Neurological and Neuromotor diagnoses.

One area of specialty at the Center is the Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Assistive Technology Program. Clients are referred from multiple sources: their inpatient rehab program, other physicians, health care workers, social workers, and parents and other family members. If a client is experiencing any difficulties producing or processing printed material or with communication, either in written or verbal form, they can be referred for an assessment. Once the assessment is completed, the type of service and anticipated length of intervention can be determined. It is within this frame of reference that the TestTalker® and WYNN programs have proven to be valuable to the Center’s clients.

Patty's Impressions

When asked how WYNN and TestTalker make a difference for their clients, Patty responded:

"Some of the most consistent progress we see in our clients who are using WYNN Reader and TestTalker include:

  • Improvements in motivation, increased optimism, and positive attitudes toward reading and writing activities
  • Positive change in self-image and self-confidence we can see
  • Ability to achieve criterion levels on goals and objectives established for them
  • Significant increases in some clients’ abilities to answer comprehension and retention questions from printed material

"We use the programs, not only for educational and demonstration purposes, but we often use them with individual clients during their intervention sessions. We typically teach them the skills to use WYNN independently or to practice the test-taking process using files customized for them in TestTalker. Then the excitement really begins, as we move on to using these skills to deal with printed material and to help them demonstrate what they know and have learned. Our clients and parents/caregivers are consistently pleased when they see how these two programs can accommodate the clients’ needs, and provide them with the beginning of a future of more positive experiences with text and printed material.

"Some of our clients are using all or many of the features of WYNN. Others begin using a select number of features; then as they gain experience and confidence, we can gradually add more features as we access more toolbars and items on the toolbars. We absolutely love the color-coded toolbars and icons for each tool in the toolbars. One grandmother of a client we work with said, 'Even I can figure this out!' She has successfully been helping her grandson, Alan, to use it to read and write about his favorite topics: the weather and outer space!

"The ability to customize the visual highlighting and speech options can really capture attention and help our clients focus on reading and writing activities. The integrated word processing features and word prediction are very helpful, also. Providing positive literacy experiences for those clients with significant auditory processing and reading difficulties has been a consistent outcome. One of our clients will work diligently to complete his other tasks, just to be able to use WYNN as a reward to independently read jokes from the Internet and then write his own. Another client loved to bring in letters from a family member stationed in another country so he could read them on his own with WYNN so that he didn’t have to have his parents read them to him!

"One mother remarked that signs of frustration in her child have decreased, and she herself now has a more optimistic outlook for her child."

Elizabeth's Story

Picture of ElizabethElizabeth is a client who is 21 years of age and uses both WYNN Reader and TestTalker to compensate for significant language processing and production difficulties, both verbally and in print form.

When talking about WYNN, she remarked, “It helps me see the words better. I can know what the words are saying and see the words in my head so I can understand them.”

Elizabeth’s mother stated, “Elizabeth can get very nervous when faced with idea of reading printed material for meaning and retention. Now she is more fearless and willing to attempt things she would always react negatively to in the past.”

Elizabeth also uses these programs in her college classes and to help her read and generate written responses related to her own business, Elegant Designs by Elizabeth.

Amy's Story

Amy is another client who has been working with WYNN Reader to help her enjoy reading again. Complications following surgery to remove a brain tumor left her with significant visual field, visual motor, and visual acuity deficits. She has always loved to read, but it is too physically stressful for her, and she tires quickly and often can’t proceed for more than a few minutes. Simply enlarging the text or giving her a physical tool to highlight words has not been successful because she also demonstrates a significant ataxia.

Patty explained, “We tried WYNN Reader, and she has been zipping through articles we scan and save from the Internet, stories, and lyrics to some of her favorite songs, etc.”

Patty indicated that the visual highlighting of the text with the voice output has made all the difference in the world for Amy. The ability to set the speech rate and length of the pause between sentences gives her adequate time to use an adapted mouse to interact with the toolbars. Patty added, “You can easily see the value of the color-coded toolbars also.”

Patty reported, “Amy’s speech is significantly limited, but when I asked her what she thinks about WYNN, she gestured in her most dramatic fashion: a ‘thumbs up’ and the sign for ‘love’.”

Her mother says, “I am so happy to see her being able to do something she loves and something that is productive. I am also excited about the possibilities for Amy to use this when she returns to school this September.”

They will soon be introducing Amy to the Writing Toolbar and then the Study Tools Toolbar. The staff is in the process of trying to locate funding so the family can purchase WYNN Wizard and TestTalker for Amy to use daily at home.

The Staff at the Rehab Technology Program

Patty Nizio, CCC-SLP Speech/Language Pathologist
Wendy Gach-Owen, CCC-SLP Speech/Language Pathologist
Jeff Kraus, OTR Occupational Therapist
Sara Wasser, OTR Occupational Therapist
Meghan Shrewsberry, OTR Occupational Therapist
Gretchen Backer, PT Rehab Services Director
Dr. Edward Dabrowski, M.D. Vice President of Physical Medicine and Rehab Services

From left to right: Jeff Kraus, Wendy Gach-Owen, Patty Nizio, and Susan Wasser
From left to right: Jeff Kraus, Wendy Gach-Owen, Patty Nizio, and Sara Wasser

From the staff, “Thank you for the opportunity to tell you about our program and how we enjoy using WYNN Reader and TestTalker with our clients. Thank you for letting us 'brag' about two of the many extremely awesome clients we work with. Thank you for your wonderful products!”

Smiley face with a thumbs upThank you Children’s Hospital of Michigan for the wonderful work you do each day to improve the quality of life for each of your clients. Keep up the terrific work. With your help, WYNN and TestTalker make a difference!

Lesson of the Month

Students and teachers encircling a light bulbA new school year has begun and, as always, we are all looking for new ideas to motivate our students. One educator who uses WYNN, Bina Varughese from the Summit View School in Valley Glen, California, has shared a wonderful WYNN lesson plan for writing a research paper. While this lesson plan is for the elementary grades, it can be adapted to any academic level. Please visit our Lesson Plan Portfolio to view the plan.

Remember, take a little time to share your favorite WYNN lesson plan with our readers. You will be helping other teachers and their students to expand their knowledge of how WYNN benefits the learning process. If your lesson plan is approved and posted online, you will receive a $25 Target gift card.

E-mail your plan to wynningword at or fax to 772-461-2812.

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Upcoming Events

Red star The Learning Systems Group will showcase WYNN and TestTalker at many upcoming events. We invite you to join us to learn about our products. Visit our Events page for information about these venues and their dates.

WYNNing Word Archives

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 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

WYNN is a trademark of Freedom Scientific, Inc.
TestTalker is a registered trademark of Freedom Scientific, Inc.

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

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