Sam was a very articulate young man who participated well in class. He had done very well in his first year classes. His instructors noted that he was more than able to defend his point of view in class and was quick to take part in any verbal debate. His knowledge of the subject always seemed far superior to that of many of his peers. The instructor would often turn to Sam when he was looking to have someone answer questions posed in class about a particular subject.
On his first written assignment, the instructor was surprised when he failed to produce more than a few sentences and poorly explained thoughts. Meeting with Sam about the assignment, it became clear that he knew much more about the subject than he had put into the assignment. Sam acknowledged difficulty with getting “his words out on paper.” It was suggested to Sam that he consider the use of speech-to-text software. He was opposed, as efforts to use it in high school proved to be overwhelming due to the frustration of “training” the software to recognize his voice.
Sam met with a Disability Advisor who arranged for him to have access to the latest version of the software, as well as coaching on how to use it effectively. He soon saw that the training times had been reduced and realized that many persons of all abilities used the software to increase their productivity. With the support of his instructor, Sam agreed to give it another try. The writing resource centre on campus provided help in how to organize and cite references for assignments, and agreed to help him learn proofreading and editing skills. With the added support Sam was able to put his knowledge and thoughts on paper.