Posts Tagged ‘assistive technology’

This week we shine the spotlight on Duane French, our customer of the week! After an accident in 1968 left him a quadriplegic, Duane turned to Dragon NaturallySpeaking to help him communicate, reach his professional goals, and even meet the love of his life.

Years ago, Duane recalls that he still faced many challenges when trying to communicate because assistive technologies weren’t nearly as advanced as they are today; he even says he “charmed [his] way through college by asking young women to type [his] papers.” Becoming Director of the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation opened his eyes to a new product, though – Dragon NaturallySpeaking. From the start he was impressed with the program’s level of accuracy, which he says has come a long ways since he first used it in 1997. Today, Duane uses Dragon on both his work and home computers to help him oversee 350 employees and a $50 million budget as Director of the Washington State Division of Disability Determination Services. He says, “I feel helpless without Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It has been a transformational force in my life and has helped make the success I once dreamed of a reality.”

To read more about Duane’s story, you can find the full case study here. (*note: this link will default to open a pdf file of the case study)

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This week we shine the spotlight on Zach Osbrach, our customer of the week! Zach, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 40, used Dragon NaturallySpeaking to help him realize his dream of opening a charter school for children with dyslexia.

Having experienced it himself and struggling for years with his disability, Zach decided that there was a need for an alternative to the public school system where children with dyslexia didn’t necessarily always receive the specialized attention they required. That’s when he came up with the idea of opening a charter school in Florida, and that’s also where Dragon came in. He says, “All of my charter school applications, grants, and other written documentation have been dictated with Dragon. As a severely dyslexic person, I could not have been successful without Dragon. For people like me who have severe language processing disabilities in the area of phoneme awareness, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is essential.” Today, Zach has opened his third school and he’s now working to create a national model for educating dyslexic children.

Read more about Zach’s story here.

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This week we shine the spotlight on Nancy – our customer of the week! On June 22, 1997, Nancy Blose’s life literally turned upside down when her Jeep flipped five times and she was left with a broken neck. She recalls: “I was a 34-year-old mother of two, a wife, a sister, a daughter, now trapped in a broken body. I was dependent on others for all my daily requirements.” Then she discovered Dragon NaturallySpeaking. “I desperately wanted control of my life,” she says, “and I found it with my voice and Dragon.”

Read more of Nancy’s story here (*defaults to open .pdf), and check out her winning “I Speak Dragon story” below:

Two events took place in 1997 which  significantly changed my life.  First,  I was  a restrained passenger involved in a catastrophic car accident which left me a quadriplegic. Second, Nuance introduced Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

On June 22, 1997 my life was turned upside down, literally, after my Jeep flipped 5 times resulting  with my broken neck.  Instantaneously  I became disabled  which translated as unable to walk, unable to feed myself, unable to hug my children, unable to return to work,  among  thousands of other activities  formally taken for granted.

I was a 34-year-old mother of two, a wife, a sister, a daughter trapped in a broken body.  My  existence no longer remotely resemble  that prior to June 22nd, now confined to bed or wheelchair and  dependent upon others for ALL my daily requirements.  I  desperately wanted some control of my life. I  found it with my voice and Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

One obvious lesson learned  from that fateful day was just how temporary life is. There is permanency with written words  and I had many thoughts that I wanted preserved. My first priority was  to write  letters to my children, then ages 6 and 8, to be opened on their 16th birthdays.   The letters were my  assurance in case of my early demise to once again tell my children how much I love them and to pass on motherly pearls of wisdom.  Thankfully, I was able to hand deliver their birthday letters.

Next came a book, 120 pages recounting June 22 and the ensuing events of survival;   hospital horror stories, battling insurance  bureaucracy and the legal world of attorneys.   Perhaps not the most up lifting subject matter but none the less, I was able to write it!

After completing my catharsis therapy I moved on to daily use of Dragon. I was able  to access my children’s high school academics and communicate directly with their teachers via e-mails. This availability made for a happy Mom but not so happy teenagers.

My favorite use of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is coupled with Hallmark greeting cards. Hallmark has a program which allows the on-line user to edit its cards by adding personal messages and pictures, and it will then address, stamp and mail the card.  All I have to do speak and I am sending birthday greetings, holiday cheer, and just because cards to family and friends across the United States. And now that my children have graduated from high school and I am no longer communicating with their teachers (much to their relief) I have ample time to write to them at college.

I have been a Dragon user since its infancy, starting with my PC and now speaking/ writing on my Apple. My life has been challenging but I have had tools to assist with those challenges.

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This week we shine the spotlight on Michael, our customer of the week! Having suffered a severe spinal cord injury several decades ago, Michael uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking to help him fight for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Since his involvement in the disability rights movement back in the 1970s, Michael Muehe has had a passion for fighting for persons with disabilities. With his limited mobility, though, he needed a tool that could help him act as the advocate he wanted to be in a field requiring significant amounts of writing. Dragon NaturallySpeaking has been the answer for many years – whether it’s dictating notes or writing emails: “Dragon is a big time saver for email. I dictate 95-98% of my emails with it. Most people tend to write abbreviated emails, but I can write a nice, long complete email in under five minutes versus the 15 to 30 minutes it would take me with my fingers.” Today, Michael serves as the Executive Director of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities in Cambridge, MA where he works with the courts, the local community and businesses to educate them on persons with disabilities and how to improve conditions for them.

Read Michael’s full story here. (*note: defaults to open .pdf)

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This week we shine the spotlight on CJ, our customer of the week! As a fifth grader struggling with dyslexia, CJ Wallace had difficulties keeping up with his peers in class – until he started to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Watch this video to hear CJ talk about how Dragon has helped him to improve his performance in school:

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It’s official – we’re taking the wraps off of Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 – the most powerful version of Dictate yet.  It’s been a busy summer for the Dragon team, with Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 right on the heels of the exciting launch of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.

Dragon Dictate delivers an incredibly powerful voice experience for Mac, letting people not only speak text for documents, emails and more, but also command and control the Mac applications and features they use the most.  And it’s all right on the Mac – anytime, anywhere – no wireless connection necessary.

We’ve packed a number of new features and enhancements into Dragon Dictate, including increased accuracy, new advanced correction capabilities, new Smart Format Rules, the ability to transcribe single-speaker recorded voice notes – and much more.

In fact, let’s dive into what’s new:

Increased Accuracy = Increased Productivity and Creativity 

Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 delivers a 15 percent improvement to out-of-the-box accuracy when compared to Version 2.5, making it faster and easier for people to freely speak their words and let ideas flow right onto the screen – and get more done in less time.

Revamped Correction Capabilities

When it comes to making a correction, Dragon Dictate for Mac makes it faster and easier than ever before. Simply speak to correct individual words or phrases through a single, easy to understand window. Select an alternate word choice, or spell and train new words. Dragon Dictate includes a richer list of alternative word choices too, so when you do make a correction, it’s more likely that the word or phrase you intended will be presented as an option.  And Dragon learns each time you make a correction, so it’s even more personalized and accurate the more that you use it.

New Smart Format Rules

Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 engages you to adapt upon detecting your format corrections – abbreviations, numbers, and more — so your dictated text looks the way you want it to every time.  And with the Vocabulary Editor, you have the ability to set alternative written forms of words or phrases (e.g. grey vs. gray).

Control in More Applications

Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 gives you control in more applications.  Dragon Dictate features an Express Editor so that you can dictate into a text field for which it does not have Full Text Control. After you finish dictating, you can transfer the text from the Express Editor to the desired application quickly and easily by voice. Also, in addition to general support for Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 offers built-in commands for the new Notes and Reminders applications in this latest OS release.

Transcribe Recorded Audio Files Quickly and Easily

Dragon Dictate lets you transcribe your own recorded audio files so you can capture your thoughts while they’re still fresh in your mind using a digital voice recorder, or your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Simply establish a user profile for a digital voice recorder, and Dragon Dictate quickly and easily transcribes the recorded audio files.  Dragon Dictate for Mac supports .wav, .m4a, .m4v, .mp4, .aif, and .aiff audio file formats, as well as any recorded notes using the free Dragon Recorder app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (4th gen).

Enhanced Wideband Bluetooth Support

Dragon Dictate now features support for 16kHz wideband Bluetooth wireless headset microphones, allowing for even further increased accuracy for Bluetooth headset users through a higher-quality audio signal. When Dragon detects that a certified microphone is paired with the Mac, Dragon offers “Enhanced Bluetooth” as an audio source type. In addition, there is no requirement for initial voice training, which allows Bluetooth users to get started faster than ever before.

And for Mac users who also love Android, our new Dragon Remote Microphone App now supports iOS and Android for Dragon Dictate for Mac 3.

Want Peter “The Dictator” Mahoney’s perspective on what makes Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 the most powerful version yet? Watch him demo some of his favorite new features in this special edition of “Ask the Dictator:”


Learn more about Dragon Dictate for Mac 3’s new features and enhancements here.  If you haven’t joined the Dragon community yet, what are you waiting for?  Get social by joining us on the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Facebook page.  Our Dragon community is a great place to share ideas, get tips, and learn more about Dragon.

It’s truly been the summer of Dragon and we’re very excited to be bringing you the most powerful and engaging voice experience available for Mac.

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This week we shine the spotlight on Merilee Grage – our customer of the week! Merilee, who struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia for years, is using Dragon to help finish her Master’s degree in Special Education. As a newfound proponent of assistive tech in the classroom, today she’s introduced Dragon to K-12 students who face reading challenges and says the results have been “amazing.”

Grage explains how she dropped out of college in 1979 due to her undiagnosed dyslexia, but with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the tables have turned: “I bought Dragon to help with my typing and I ended up using it for everything: emails, papers, my online courses, and anything else that requires a keyboard. It’s about creativity and having a flow of work that’s not interrupted by worrying about spelling and grammar. Dragon is a major part of that.” More recently, Merilee has seen the transformation Dragon has had on students of all ages, including a 3rd grader with dyslexia who – for the first time – was excited about reading and was thirsty for more. “When we were done,” Grage recalls,” he said, There has to be a third book.’ His motivation was amazing. This was a student who didn’t want to go to the resource room because he read at a first grade level and couldn’t write complete sentences. Dragon and echo reading during profile creation forced him to work on word pronunciation, and his comprehension and fluency greatly increased.”

To read more of Merilee’s story, go here. (*note: link defaults to open up .pdf)

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This week we shine the spotlight on William Lankford, our customer of the week! After being given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis several years ago, William was also left legally blind. With these new challenges, he started using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to help him fulfill his duties as an ordained minister, now saying, “it literally gave me my world back.”

Lankford was discouraged upon learning about his diagnoses, but largely credits Dragon to his transformation, giving him back a way to communicate with the world: “For someone with a life-changing disability like mine, you think part of the world is shut off. Dragon opens the whole world for you again. It gave me the desire to get out in the world again and participate.” He explains how he uses Dragon’s Command Mode to navigate his computer, and the reading function to hear what he’s written. Furthermore, William uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking to write letters and send emails, and even to write essays which he posts on Web site he recently launched. He says, “Dragon NaturallySpeaking makes my everyday life possible. You can’t put a price on that.”

Today, Lankford is going to school to work as a counselor for people facing similar challenges. He says, “I wouldn’t be able to do it without Dragon.”

To read William’s entire story, go here. (*note: defaults to opening in .pdf format)

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This week we shine the spotlight on Amanda Joyce, our customer of the week! After her freshman year of high school, Amanda suffered a severe repetitive strain injury which compromised the quality of work she was able to accomplish. Amanda has since discovered Dragon Dictate for Mac and credits the software for “pretty much salvaging [her] high school career.”

She further explains: “It was liberating not to be stuck to a keyboard. I ended up writing many essays while pacing back and forth in my room, and then editing later. I was able to work independently and turn in work I was satisfied with.” Amanda isn’t the only one at the Urban School relying on Dragon Dictate though — she’s just one of the dozens of students and faculty members who use it regularly to improve productivity, boost creativity, and provide a simple solution for those who aren’t the most tech savvy or who have suffered some type of injury.

Go here to read more about Amanda’s story and the Urban School’s adoption of Dragon Dictate.

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This week we shine the spotlight on Dr. Greg House, our customer of the week! After a skiing accident rendered him a C7 quadriplegic, Greg was worried he would never fulfill his lifelong ambitions as a medical professional. Today though, that’s all a distant memory, and Greg has not only graduated from medical school but has gone on to found two successful companies – with a little help from Dragon Dictate.

As a result of his injury, Greg explains how his typing abilities were somewhat limited: “Typing is completely out for me, except with one or two thumbs.” He found a solution in Dragon’s speech recognition software for Mac, and says he was impressed from the start. Not only has Dr. House used Dragon for class while pursuing his MBA, but also as he’s on-the-go making his rounds through the hospital: “I use it at the hospital to dictate notes. It keeps costs down because I don’t need a medical transcriptionist, which is 10-12 cents a line and really adds up fast.”

Today, Dr. House has achieved more than he ever thought possible and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. Read Dr. House’s full story here. (*note: link defaults to open a pdf)

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