Scientific LSG Presents
College Helps Students Find the Tools Necessary for Success
We recently received the following
letter from Monique Nikia:
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
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
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.
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!
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
Keep an Eye on the News
See who else is using WYNN. Check out Technology and Learning's
of the Year Awards.
Tip of the Month:
Online Digital Materials
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.