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WYNNing Word

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Freedom Scientific LSG Presents
The WYNNing Word WYNNing Word
October, 2005

Sam painting


Feature Story:
"With WYNN... the sky's the limit!"
An 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 help him.

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 plans."

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.

Useful Information

A girl at college


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.

Guide to Postsecondary Education Information
How College Students with LD Can Advocate for Themselves
Getting Ready for College - Advising High Students with LD
College Scholarships for Disabled Students


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, 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 miss it!

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