A WYNN for Jim!
Jim Bond is well known within the community of people with Dyslexia in Australia. Often controversial, Jim has nevertheless shown incredible resilience and tenacity to be an advocate on behalf of all people with Dyslexia and has lobbied governments at the local, State and Federal levels.
Jim has profound Dyslexia and left school at the age of 14 because the school advised his parents they were not able to help him to read and write. He has undergone numerous interventions and remediation courses to no avail. His inability to read and write has severely limited his ability to gain employment; an on-going experience that can only be described as incredibly frustrating and humiliating.
Yet in April this year Jim Bond graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science!
It was back in 1988, that Jim first recognised the potential of text-to-speech computer programs and started campaigning for the widespread introduction of this technology into libraries, schools and universities.
His advocacy saw great success not only in the roll out of the technology, but changes to the employment practices of the New South Wales and Victorian Governments, changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act (the inclusion of Dyslexia as a disability), changes to the Education Act to recognise Dyslexia and to fund a teacher training program for classroom teachers, and changes to the Human Rights Act to include dyslexia as a disability.
As his advocacy role developed, the text-to-speech technology also allowed Jim to resume his education, and he entered Macquarie University in 2009.
With a university-supplied computer and WYNN, he can have any information read to him including textbooks, course materials and the web.
Additionally, Macquarie University’s Disability Service has recently provided him with a specialised camera called PEARL, which takes photos of any page and within seconds, can read it back to him, so that he can now access regular printed books.
Jims graduation was recognised with a letter from the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard who offered her congratulations and said “other Australians with Dyslexia will get to the graduation dais earlier and easier because of what you have accomplished”.
Jim Bond still can’t read or write, however the power of assistive technology like WYNN has opened up his world and demonstrated that Dyslexia does not need to be a barrier to getting the most out of life.
And if any further evidence is needed, Jim achieved nine Distinctions and three High Distinctions in his degree. He is now doing a Masters and plans on tackling a PhD. He would ultimately like to enter politics with nothing less than the aim of changing the world.