What You Can Do with Dragon NaturallySpeaking!
Perspective, Experience, and Background of Joe Meyer
Dragon NaturallySpeaking training is provided by Joe Meyer as part of services at the Northshore Health & Wellness Center’s Computer Learning Lab. Training in other speech recognition programs such as Microsoft Vista or Macspeech Dictate can also be accommodated.
Joe's Professional Biography
Contact Info for Joe
Dragon speech recognition is an exceptionally useful tool for individuals who have no or impaired hand function as well as anyone who finds composing text via keyboard to be difficult, tiring, painful, inefficient, or even impossible. Dragon allows users to dictate their thoughts directly to the page by voice and also have hands-free control of their computers. As a quadriplegic himself, Dragon has become an indispensable part of Joe's life.
"Dragon allows me to be productive in ways my injury would never have previously permitted. For me, it is the difference between being productive and being generally inactive. With Dragon, I am able to do everything an able-bodied person can do with a computer. And in this digital age that's a lot! For example, without physically touching my computer, I can use my voice to...
- Work easily throughout the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office suite
- Create, format, and print documents in Microsoft Word
- Use Outlook to send e-mails and maintain my calendar and contact list
- Configure my computer and program settings
- Perform PC maintenance and troubleshoot problems
- Set up, configure, and maintain our home wireless network
- Download my credit card and banking transactions from the Internet
- Use Microsoft Excel to import and manipulate those transactions in spreadsheet format
- Create graphs of the information to track household income and expenses
- Pay our family bills on the Internet
- Shop online and purchase gifts and all variety of essentials
- Use the Internet for research, e-mails, and social media interaction
- Drag and drop from one window to another
- Manipulate Internet mapping programs such as Google Maps, Google Earth, MapQuest, etc.
- Convert cassette tapes to MP3 files and manipulate audio files
- Manage my iTunes.
- And as they say on TV, "And much, much more!"
In short, practically anything that is typically done by physical manipulation of a mouse and keyboard can be done instead by voice. Hands-free computing means just that, the only physical task required is pressing the power button. After that ALL computer operation is accomplished by voice, even turning off the computer at the end of the day or performing a restart when necessary. And what more, Dragon, the keyboard, and the mouse can all be used interchangeably at any time as desired by the user.
In 2004, I was an avid amateur off-road motorcycle racer living in the mountains of southern California with my wife and two small daughters. On Thanksgiving weekend that year I crashed during a race, landed on my head, broke my neck, and sustained a paralyzing spinal cord injury resulting in incomplete C4 level quadriplegia.
My introduction to Dragon NaturallySpeaking began while I was still on the rehabilitation wing of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. As soon as I was into a wheelchair and able to access the computer lab, the speech pathologist began teaching me Dragon. It was a wonderful feeling to be back communicating with all my fellow off-road motorcycle enthusiasts via the online forums I frequented before my accident.
Now, not only I am able to do complete hands-free computer operation, but the features and shortcuts within Dragon allowed me to do so often more quickly than someone using a keyboard and mouse. After four years of daily use and hundreds of hours, I am so satisfied with the program that I enthusiastically advocate its usage to others who can benefit from all it has to offer. Just in the last few months I've introduced Dragon to another quadriplegic who has no hand or arm function whatsoever, a man whose brain injury results in hand tremors that make continuous typing extremely difficult, and probably most satisfying of all, a 17-year-old boy with a learning disability that had always required him to dictate his school work to his mother for transcription. My enthusiasm for the program makes it rewarding and just plain fun to share my knowledge with them.
On a side note, as soon as my eight-year-old daughter could read well enough, I had her create her own Dragon voice file. Frankly, I was amazed at how well she took to the program. As kids are apt to do, she was immediately able to dictate text and control the computer by voice just by what she had absorbed from listening to me use Dragon.