photo of Sara


When I was six years old and in the first grade, my teacher discovered that I was "different" than the other children in my class. I had very weak writing skills and appeared to be lazy and stupid. This is how my teachers described me.

Throughout my elementary school years, my teachers tried everything. They tried to improve my penmanship through repetitious teaching and yelling. Even when I was in 3rd grade my printing was worse than a first grader's. I was embarrassed and felt stupid. I was taunted and ridiculed by my classmates because I was in a learning center class and I could not even write cursive let alone print. It was also difficult because my sister and my best friend always made the honor roll. I never made it.

Then in 3rd grade my classmates and I began typing class, I was psyched. I knew that if I learned how to type no one would have to see my writing. My hopes were soon shattered when I discovered that no matter how hard I tried I could not type fast at all. I just could not remember the location of the keys. It took me longer to type than it did to write.

I was frustrated and felt trapped. It seemed as though I could not accomplish anything. Finally one day my father came home from work and informed me that I would be spending my afternoons after school at Children's Hospital working in some new computer program. The program was called DragonDictate.

When I went to Children's I met a wonderful man named Bob Follansbee. He explained to me that I was their guinea pig! Bob wanted to see if a program made for paraplegics would work for L.D. kids. He told me that he would teach me and trained me on the computer. I also could do my homework on it.

Now, I thought DragonDictate was going to be easy from the start; I was dead wrong. Learning how to use the program was very fastidious. It required a lot of practice, time and patience. The program had to get use dto my voice. This took time because I have a really strong Boston accent. So after wanting to destroy the computer, I finally learned how to use the program to the best of my advantage.

My parent's thought that the DragonDictate was so great that they bought the program for our own computer. I began using the program regularly for my homework in the middle of my freshman year in high school. There was a vast improvement in my grades and by the end of that quarter I made honor roll. I was ecstatic, for I had never made honor roll before. My teachers were also very happy in the improvement of my writing skills.

I still actively use my voice recognition in the family room in my house for my nightly homework assignments. My writing skills have improved greatly on account of the DragonDictate because I can now easily get my thoughts down on paper and am not limited because of my poor penmanship.