Inclusion. The blog for the Center for Disability Studies.

Talking and writing: here the twain meet

By David Lynch



My voice recognition software is all out of sorts today. When I say something, it decides to write down something completely different than what I said. Too often, it decides to end a sentence in the wrong place and to start a new sentence with the word and.

I am sure some of you can relate when your voice recognition software on your phone decides to call a different person than you wanted. Maybe you tell the voice recognition to call home and instead it calls Home Depot, or maybe you ask for directions and it misunderstands you and searches for something else.

When the voice recognition software does not want to cooperate I have a couple of choices. I can scream at it, or I can patiently correct the mistakes. Screaming will just make it worse; therefore, I work patiently to adjust my words.

All of this leads me to two certainties about voice recognition software: If you’re a user and like me experience times where it doesn’t seem to want to understand what you’re saying, don’t get frustrated and abandon it. Voice recognition software is a marvel and wonderfully empowering for people with certain disabilities. Second, it’s important to edit and review what is written before you deliver a finished product.

When editing a document, Mark Twain explained it like this: “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”

If Mark Twain were alive today, the quote might go something like this: “Writing is easy. All you have to do is get voice recognition software to cooperate and delete the wrong words.”

My voice recognition software of choice is Dragon Speaking Naturally. The software allows me to utilize many different options with voice commands to correct and refine my writing. The software allows me to utilize a voice command of MouseGrid to navigate the mouse to access different Internet pages.

I utilize this software as it would take forever typing one letter at a time on my keyboard and my muscles would be very unhappy. Without the availability of this software, I am sure I would not bother to write this blog post, begin writing my life story, send emails to politicians, surf the Internet and take classes to further my education.

Voice recognition software has helped me to present my views on life and inspire others. I take the advice of Benjamin Franklin, who said that if you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead, “either write something worth reading, or do things worth writing.” I encourage all of you to take time to write a diary, a blog post, your life story. Inspire others. Start writing today.

About the Author

David Lynch was a member of the executive committee of CDS’s Community Advisory Council. He passed away in March, 2016.

As a self-advocate, David brought a personal perspective to navigating the disability community and was passionate about seeking improvements for persons with disabilities.

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