Olivia Fraser, 14, lives in Edinburgh with her mum Lesley, 55. Olivia is severely dyslexic and as a result cannot read or write unaided. She goes to a normal girl’s school on a part-time basis, where she has a scribe and reader to help her with her studies.
Lesley describes Olivia as a, “very creative” teenager who hopes to go onto university to study History of Art. Olivia is about to start working towards taking three GCSE’s in Medieval History, Modern History and English Literature in two years’ time.
Up until recently, Olivia relied upon Lesley to read out loud and help her with homework. She also used a listening library for taking out audio books.
But, since buying ClaroRead and Dragon Naturally Speaking two months ago, Lesley says that Olivia’s life has been completely changed.
“It is just fantastic. In the short time she has been using it it’s been wonderful. It has given her independence and means she is just like all the other girls,” she says.
Lesley had been researching products designed for dyslexic computer users for a while – but because Olivia can’t read, she found there wasn’t much choice.
“Many of the products didn’t seem to be able to do the job – but when we found ClaroRead it was terrific.”
Olivia was able to use ClaroRead almost immediately, and chose Daniel, one of ClaroRead’s three high-quality human sounding voices, to read out text for her.
“From the minute we got it it was a piece of cake. Daniel is now like one of her best friends!” Lesley adds.
Now Olivia uses ClaroRead together with Dragon Naturally Speaking, she can not only read and do research on the internet, she can also write and compose her own homework.
Lesley says: “She no longer relies on me and she can do everything herself. The progress she has made is wonderful – and she can use ClaroRead all the way through school and university.
“Dragon was a little more complicated to use than ClaroRead – but it improves as you use it and you constantly learn new things about what it can do. ”
In her spare time, Olivia is fascinated by Cosplay, a subculture which involves people dressing as characters from cartoons and science fiction programmes – and now with ClaroRead, she can finally indulge her hobby without the help of others.
Lesley said: “There is a website she can go on which tells her about costumes and gives her ideas. Now she believes it when I say that she can do anything that the other girls do. She just does it in a different way.”
Apart from the practical solutions ClaroRead has offered the Frasers, it has had an even more important impact on Olivia by raising her self-esteem.
Lesley said: “Sometimes it is very difficult to keep a dyslexic child’s sense of self-worth going. You can say that they are capable until you are blue in the face but it doesn’t seem real unless they can actually see it – and now Olivia can.”
Lesley added that parents of any dyslexic child would benefit from using ClaroRead.
She said: “It is wonderful. I feel as if we have had ClaroRead forever, I would encourage any parents to get it and they will hopefully have the same experience as us.”