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The votes are in, and we’re very excited to announce that we have chosen this year’s winners of the I Speak Dragon! story contest! We received hundreds of inspirational stories from across the country – coming from students, parents, teachers, business professionals, grandparents, and just about everyone in between – describing how using Dragon has helped to transform their lives. Now without further ado, here are this year’s winners:

Most Productive

“At Work or Play, Dragon’s My Way”

Jan Moore graduated college with a Political Science degree, was admitted to five law schools, and was looking forward to getting her first full-time job after graduation. Jan was determined, but fighting what seemed to be an uphill battle; she had cerebral palsy, was in a wheelchair, and was turned away from every position she applied for, after prospective employers concluded she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the typing requirements.

For thirty years she was faced with rejection and, understandably, her self-esteem took a beating. Eventually, Jan settled into a job as an independent sales representative, working to distribute products for a cosmetics company by doing invoices by hand – a very time-consuming process.

It wasn’t until after Jan discovered Dragon NaturallySpeaking that she noticed a life-changing outcome. She says, “Now, I actually had time to enjoy what I was doing, taking care of my young family and growing my business. Dragon NaturallySpeaking…allows me to ‘speak the changes’ and get the job done in a fraction of the time!”

Today, Jan has achieved more than she ever thought possible; volunteering for her city’s Human Relations Commission, helping her sister with her business, and finally landing her dream job at a university: “…none of it would have been possible without Dragon NaturallySpeaking!”

Read Jan’s full story here.

Most Life-Changing

“How Dragon Speak Helped my Son”

As a person with Autism, Rhys Owen Wynne has certain visual impairments that can make reading and writing quite the ordeal. As a result of his difficulties, Rhys was often teased at school, which had a hand in him eventually developing behavioral issues.

Rhys’ Dad wanted to find a way for his son to be able to write the stories which he enjoyed so much with confidence, so he purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Because he was bilingual and spoke Thai as a first language, which is based primarily on tones, he had a hard time with the software at the beginning. However, listening to what he had dictated using Dragon’s playback feature, Rhys was able to identify what needed to be corrected and even start proofreading his work.

If you saw Rhys today, you wouldn’t even recognize him. “Rhys puts on his headset, becoming a new person,” says his father. He’s written books, poems, and songs using Dragon and has even seen two of his books published and receive awards. Rhys now works part-time at a Public Library, feeling accepted by the community and interacting with others with a newfound confidence. His father best describes the transformation by saying, “This program has opened a brand new world for him.”

Read Rhys’ full story here.

Most Creative

“Love Letters from Time”

With her uncle’s passing and her aunt growing older, Lorraine Pretty wanted to capture and preserve an important piece of her family’s history before time slipped away from her. In her Aunt Helen’s hope chest laid a collection of love letters, written by her late husband Joe as he served in World War II.

Lorraine worried that the task would take her years, but then she remembered a program she had seen advertised – Dragon NaturallySpeaking – which she could use to quickly transcribe the letters:

January 21st, 1944

Dearest Helen,

The army just pulled the seat out from all of my dreams. I’m not getting that fifteen day furlough, only a four day. So if you could make plans to be married on the 8th that would be swell.

December 2nd, 1944

Dearest Wife,

As I sit and write this in a house, it reminds me of the country, because the light comes from a lamp. It’s peaceful here, and for a while I forgot there was a war on.

Today, Lorraine is working to finish the memoir of her Aunt Helen and Uncle Joe, hoping to turn the love story into a book.

Hear and see Lorraine’s full story here.

Facebook Fan Favorite

“Independence – Thanks to Dragon!!!”

Born prematurely at only twenty-six weeks, Michael Campisi was left with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, causing severely delayed motor skills and other obstacles. “It was always an exhausting battle trying to reach the normal milestones of childhood,” Michael explains. Particularly, he faced challenges at school where he was unable to keep up with other students in classes that required extensive writing. It wasn’t the thought or effort that went into his assignments, but the writing process itself.

By third grade, Michael’s mother noticed his slipping grades and requested an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting. As a result, Michael was assigned an aid named Betty who helped him for years and with whom he developed a strong relationship. When it was time to enter high school, though, he came to a cross roads – how could he maintain his grades while gaining an increased sense of independence?

After some investigation, Michael discovered Dragon NaturallySpeaking and, with coordination from his school, he was given the opportunity to use the speech recognition software at home and in school. Now, at the age of nineteen and after using Dragon for three years, he looks back on his experience, calling Dragon “…the answer to [his] prayers.” Michael still keeps in touch with his old friend Betty, but now he has a new friend – Dragon – who he plans to take with him on his journey to college.

Read Michael’s full story here.

Besides basking in the glory of being one of our honorary Dragon fans, each winner will receive a third generation Apple iPad, a copy of either Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Dragon Dictate, and free product upgrades for three years. Talk about some great prizes!! But remember, if you entered our contest and your story wasn’t chosen, there’s always next year! We’d like to thank ALL of our great fans for sharing their stories with us, and for showing us just how much Dragon can make a difference.

Prepare to laugh, cry, and be inspired… check out more of this year’s I Speak Dragon! stories here.

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Enter our Ultimate Backlot Pass Contest brought to you by Dragon speech recognition and Radio Disney, two companies who bring your ideas to life! Enter today and you could win a 5 day, 4 night trip for you and your family to Walt Disney Studios! Dragon and Radio Disney are sending one lucky family (winner plus 3 guests) to experience the magic of the Disney backlot and archives at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.

Enter here!

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How do you speak Dragon?

A premature birth left Michael hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy, causing a sever delay of his motor skills. Read this story about how he went from struggling in the classroom to becoming independent and ready to take on high school – with a little help from Dragon.

Don’t forget to share YOUR story with us! Enter here and tell your friends to “like” your story on Facebook for a chance to be this year’s Fan Favorite and win a third generation iPad!

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How do you speak Dragon?

This week, we shine the spotlight on Al Bartko, our customer of the week! After struggling with Parkinson’s disease for years and the tremors that are associated with it, Al discovered Dragon.

In his I Speak Dragon! story from this year’s contest, we hear how Dragon has “given him his life back” and even helped him become a mentor to others with disabilities in his community. To read more about his story, go here.

And don’t forget to share your story with us about how Dragon has impacted your life! Click here to enter.

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As a writer, professor and musician, Dr. Christopher Smit knows how much words matter. In this winning video from last year’s I Speak Dragon! contest, he shares his story with us about how Dragon Dictate has given him a new voice since his muscular dystrophy created new physical challenges.

Watch the video here:

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We were overwhelmed with entries this year to our annual I Speak Dragon! contest. It was amazing to read all of the stories and to hear how Dragon touches so many lives in different ways. Our judges had an extremely tough job to choose just three winners from the hundreds of entries that we received.

Without further delay, we are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s contest! Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated.

Most Life-Changing

“Christopher Smit, Dragon Dictate Competition Video”

Dr. Christopher Smit has had to overcome many obstacles in his life, but has also experienced many triumphs – he married the perfect woman, adopted the perfect little boy, and became a college professor and author, just to name a few. As associate professor of communication at Calvin College, Dr. Smit says that words are everything. In fact, they are his way to transcend Muscular Dystrophy.

When it became difficult to type and create due to restricted use of his hands, Dr. Smit didn’t slow down. “Apple computers and Dragon Dictate helped me transcend the body that doesn’t work so good,” he says. “My words are now moving faster than ever before.”

To hear and see Christopher’s full story, please visit: http://community.nuance.com/groups/i-speak-dragon2011/forum/t/4619.aspx or view the video directly at http://smitwork.com/dragon-dictate-film.

Most Creative

“I Speak and Hear Dragon”

In January of 2011, just after New Year’s, Paul Czech felt weak and ached all over, and so he went to his bedroom for a mid-day nap. When he awoke, he was in the hospital. Paul’s wife went to check in on him and found him unresponsive and convulsing. The doctors diagnosed him with bacterial meningitis.

By early February, Paul was conscious on a regular basis, but a new problem surfaced – he had lost his hearing in both ears. Family and friends would visit and communicate with Paul using a clipboard, writing down everything they had to say. He could see that his visitors would get tired of writing and soon they stopped and just talked amongst themselves.

That’s when Paul remembered the Dragon Dictation app on his iPhone that he had downloaded many months prior to his illness and hearing loss.  Paul and his wife began communicating with it immediately and he could instantly see a level of stress disappear. His family and friends soon began using the app to communicate with Paul as well.

Now, almost six months later, Paul is adapting to his life as a hearing-impaired individual. Paul is an attorney, active board member of community organizations, and lecturer, all of which he has been able to continue doing by implementing Dragon software into his activities.  He now  uses Dragon with his office staff and clients in his private law practice.

“As it turns out, they’re the ones that speak Dragon and I’m the one who gladly hears it,” said Paul.

To read Paul’s full story, please visit: http://community.nuance.com/groups/i-speak-dragon2011/forum/t/4433.aspx

 

Most Productive

“I Work with Words”

Some time ago, someone asked Mark Hopper what “professing” was all about. He replied, “I read, talk and listen…a lot.” Not only is Mark a consumer of words, he is a producer of words – he is a lecturer, grader, writer, colleague, and counselor.

Words are Mark’s primary means of information exchange, and he found that he needed a more efficient way of managing them, because the volume of work had become overwhelming. A year ago, Mark came across an ad for Dragon NaturallySpeaking, something he had heard his school’s special education students using.  After reading through the ad he began thinking – “maybe this can help me.”

By the end of the Spring 2011 semester, Mark had begun putting Dragon to work – drafting lecture notes, grading papers and exams, taking notes while reading research, and communicating with students and colleagues. Dragon has made a significant impact on his productivity, so much so that he has already begun planning for future uses of speech recognition – including lecture capture, blog post development, video captioning and more.

“I can whole-heartedly say that Dragon NaturallySpeaking has allowed me to become a more efficient and effective professor,” said Mark.

To read Mark’s full story, please visit: http://community.nuance.com/groups/i-speak-dragon2011/forum/t/4679.aspx

The above winners will each receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab, their choice of Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional or Dragon Dictate for Mac, as well as free upgrades to the software for three years.

To read other exciting contest entries that demonstrate some of the unique ways that people everywhere are using Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Dragon Dictate, please visit: http://ispeakdragon.nuance.com/.

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Today, we are shining the “Customer of the Week” spotlight on one of our many I Speak Dragon contestants – Seth! What a cool use of Dragon Dictate! Check out Seth’s story below, and find more contest entries here. You can even rate your favorites!

I am so grateful for your product.  Recently I inherited a collection of hand-written notebooks from my great grandmother.  There was a treasure trove of memories, stories, genealogy, and family medical history.  I needed a way to convert this wealth of paper and ink into a digital format so that I could forward the notebooks to my family, and if it weren’t for Dragon Dictate, I don’t know what I would have done.  In my spare time, between jobs at work, while riding in the car (don’t worry, someone else was driving), I quickly and easily converted my great grandmother’s excellent penmanship into documents and e-mails.  I’ll present the collected works at a family reunion next July. Thank you again, Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

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