Davis Graham's educational history and resources, in his own words
My Early Background
I was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, USA
We left Bradenton when I was four years old and moved to Saudi Arabia for four years, and then returned to Miami where my father went into radiology. When we were in Saudi Arabia my parents became frustrated with my learning and were concerned for me, I was tested in 1967 and was diagnosed with Dyslexia at the University of Miami. I was put on Ritalin and directed to a private school for children with learning disabilities.
My family moved back to Bradenton in 1970. I went to St. Stephens Episcopal School and became the class clown to keep people at bay as to what was going on inside, got into trouble and was asked not to come back. Transferred to St. Joseph Catholic School in 1972 where the Head master had some knowledge of dyslexia. Then off to Manatee High School, class clowned again thru school, used every opportunity to make it thru, did get my pilot license, and graduated from High School in the top 50%. SAT totaled 650, SAT un-timed 800. My guidance counselor discouraged me regarding college by saying, “why would you try for something like a college degree and not be able to finish it.” A college degree was the only thing no one could take away from me. I was accepted to three schools: Emory Riddle, University of Montana, and Westminster College. I decided it would be Westminster College.
Westminster College accepted me under their L.D. Program, I was held back on taking some classes. At Westminster I received some great tools, RFBD books on tape, dictating papers and group therapy.
I Transferred to University of The South, Sewanee, Tenn.
Great academic environment; I learned more about studying and wanting to learn than in any other environment. I discovered frustration with professors not understanding my gift of dyslexia but felt accepted. There were several times I felt as if I did not want to go on in life, but my faith saved me.
I Transferred to the University of South Florida
At USF I was accepted in under the Special Services for the Handicap program. For a year and a half I did not take all the help which was given and was academically suspended in 1983. There was a time I wanted to end my life during the end of this time in college, but I reached out to Sally Jesse Rafael, who had her own radio talk show at the time, and was then again renewed in hope.
When I received the letter of Academic Suspension, I was very depressed; however, my strong faith in God and a lot of friends and family got me through a very tough time.
I worked for a night club for 2 years and was in the Movie “Cocoon” in the break-dance scene. Was given an opportunity to be promoted, then decided to go back to school.
I applied and was accepted back at USF. In order to get a psychology degree the Dean of Social Behavioral Sciences told me that I would be required to make a 3.0. So be it.
After registering for classes, I met Chris Martin; she was the administrator for the Special Services for the Handicapped. She asked me how my “gift” affected me; it was also the first time I was ever willing to talk about my gift. I was asked “Well then what do you need?” My answer was I need a note taker, my books on tape, my test given orally and tutoring whenever needed. 3 semesters later I graduated with “a 3.0” no more, no less. My degree was earned by grace, faith, and an ear for my compassion and persistence.
First Job as a Graduate, Director of the Florida House: In 1986 I was offered a job as an intern at Florida House, Inc. in Washington, D.C. The Florida House was started by Rhea Chiles, Senator Chiles wife in 1972. It is an Embassy of sorts for Floridians who are visiting our Nation’s Capital. In October 1986 I was offered the Director’s position, and worked for 7 years for Mrs. Chiles. Highlights were many, broadcasting with Willard Scott weather show on the Today Show was one, working with the full Florida Congressional Delegation closely for 7 years, the Clarence Thomas hearings, Iran-Contra hearings, working with the Reagan and Bush administrations on special needs children, Walt Disney programs, dissidents coming from the Eastern Block countries trying to get family members to the USA, the “Iron Curtain” falling and then Desert Storm.
After 7 wonderful years it was time to move on. I joined Manatee Diagnostic Center, Ltd. in 1993 after taking 6 months off and touring/camping/being a cowboy and writing a book titled “In Search of the Risen Son”.
Manatee Diagnostic Center, Ltd. is a family business; I work with my father and two other administrative personnel. We have 70 folks who I work for and with and we together serve close to 80,000 patients a year.
Today I’m married to my wife Trish; we have four children. Our oldest son is Davis Woodward, Mary Grace, Andrew James and Sarah Abigail born in 2008.
In 2001, while needing to read a 30+ page contract, while reading 170 words a minute with 50% comprehension, I needed to read this contract with 98% or higher comprehension. The internet had come into fruition, so I Googled “Text reading Software” and second in line was Readplease, with “free-download” now called “freeware”. Downloaded the software, it was so similar to my recorder controls it became a part of my life, like an old shoe. The contract was read in about an hour and a half, and I have not stopped reading since.
Today in addition to Readplease there is the Bookshare organization who has taken on the task with other Print Disabled organizations to make copyrighted books available to the Print Disabled public. The membership is free to all qualifying students in the United States; a paid membership is required for non-students. They have 50K books available (and growing) to its members along with the text-to-speech software. The Read:OutLoud software blends the internet technology and the written word in to a virtual book. If there is a word, person, place or thing the reader does not understand or know, then just highlight the word and you go to the World Wide Web and then the reader can read about the unknown and make it known.
My spelling has improved by 60 to 70 percent, I read between 300 to 480 words per minute with 90%+ comprehension; fear of the written word is no longer present. There is nothing in my way except for motivation. When I get ready to read a document such a 59 page lease, I have to gear up and focus, and then I’m living the word as I read.
Today I am here to inspire those who still look at the written word as a threat. Today I’m here to say this threat should no longer exist. Reaching goals which once seemed out of reach because of the written word is no longer out of reach; it is available to read and comprehend. Readplease as well as other text reading software are here to give you and your students a “New read on Life”.
Everything I have comes from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; it is Him whom I serve.
Visit my blog at http://www.mygiftofdyslexia.blogspot.com/
Selected Sources for Electronic Texts
This factsheet presents a selected list of sources for electronic texts. The online files are in a variety of formats ranging from plain text to digital audio and digital braille. Most can be downloaded and read offline. Electronic braille materials can also be embossed. Sites vary with regard to accessibility, and questions should be directed to the sites' webmasters. The web site address is given for each entry and telephone numbers and e-mail addresses are provided, when known, for further information.
Accessible Book Collection
(775) 256-2556 fax
Provides high-interest, low-reading-level digital text in HTML to individuals with a documented disability that prevents them from reading standard print. Also serves government and nonprofit schools and rehabilitation centers. Has a $49.95 annual fee for individual subscribers; school district site licenses are available.
Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts
Has a collection of free public domain documents from American literature, English literature, and Western philosophy. The earlier version supports author and title searches and the ability to download the text. The newer version is a work in progress with less content than the original Alex. It supports the ability to search within the texts of documents and has many more downloading options, including plain text, HTML, XML, PDF, PalmPilot DOC , eReader, Rocket eBook, and Newton Paperback.
Includes twenty-five thousand digital audiobooks, radio shows, popular magazines, and newspapers in a broad range of subjects that can be downloaded to a computer. Readers can listen immediately, transfer files to an audio player, or burn them onto a CD. Items are spoken-word audio in a proprietary audible.com format. Cost: $14.95-$21.95 for a monthly membership plan or pay for individual titles.
Publishes the classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference books free of charge. Includes books of quotations, the 1914 Oxford edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, theColumbia Gazetteer, Gray's Anatomy, and Strunk's Elements of Style. Books are offered in various proprietary e-book formats.
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Offers free online literature of classic fiction, drama, poetry, as well as short stories, contemporary articles, and interviews. Most books are in HTML format. The web site is not currently being actively maintained. The ex-employees keep the site running and hope to re-launch it should funds become available.
Provides digital books in a broad range of subjects to United States residents who have a visual or other print disability. Individual subscriptions require completion of an online form, proof of disability, and payment of a $25 sign-up fee and a $50 annual subscription fee. Fees for institutional access ($300-$600) depend on the number of downloaded book titles. Books are in DAISY format with text content and in contracted braille. Most text files are presented with XML markup and the site includes tools for reading these files.
Braille Book Files
Has books at all grade levels that are submitted by teachers and transcribers; the site is maintained by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Access is password-protected and limited to individuals who have a visual or other print disability and to members of a nonprofit organization or governmental agency that provides specialized services to such individuals. Books are in MegaDots, Duxbury, and ASCII format.
Presents free works of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, drama (including Shakespeare), poetry, short stories, and Greek and Roman classics for which copyright protection has expired. All books are in HTML; includes a plain-text format that eliminates most graphics.
Has thousands of popular, professional, and academic titles from a variety of publishers that can be purchased as whole books, chapters, or pages of books and downloaded by customers anywhere in the world. The contents of eBooks in the database can be searched by key word, title, author, ISBN, and category. Book descriptions and sample texts are available for browsing.
Electronic Text Center
Combines a free online archive of thousands of SGML- and XML-encoded electronic texts and images in the humanities with a service at the University of Virginia Library that offers hardware and software suitable for the creation and analysis of electronic texts. Site includes tools for reading these file types.
Publishes and distributes fiction and nonfiction in a variety of proprietary e-book formats. Costs range from 49 cents for short stories to $4.99 and up for lengthy works. Also manages eBookwise.com, which supports eBooks for the eBookwise-1150 reading device, and Libwise.com, which offers an eBook Lending Library to libraries, corporations, and groups.
Has more than two thousand books, stories, poems, plays, and religious and historical documents in HTML format. Readers can read online at no charge or can purchase the entire collection on CD-ROM for $19.99.
International Electronic Braille Book Library
Contains more than one thousand titles of electronic braille books, including classics and publications of the National Federation of the Blind. Files, which are in contracted braille ASCII format, may be read online or downloaded for viewing offline or embossing.
netLibrary, a division of OCLC Online Computer Library Center
Offers thousands of publicly accessible titles in subjects such as arts, business, history, literature, religion, science, and technology to academic, public, and corporate libraries that purchase a collection of titles. Patrons must create an account with an affiliated library in order to access the collection. Books are in a protected Windows Media Player (WMA) format.
The Online Books Page
Includes more than twenty thousand English works that are available online at no charge. Has a listing of foreign language resources and an archive of serials. Books are in HTML.
Page by Page Books
Has hundreds of free classic books that are in the public domain, including United States historical documents and presidential inaugural addresses. Books can be read online one page at a time.
Has light literature, serious literature such as the classics, reference works that are in the public domain, and titles under copyright for which permission has been obtained. Most books are in text or HTML format; a few require proprietary e-book reading software. Free download to residents of the United States; outside the United States, individuals should check the copyright laws of their country.
Tiflolibros: E-Books for the Blind
Provides more than eleven thousand digital books in Spanish to individuals worldwide with a documented disability that prevents them from reading standard print. Books are downloaded using a personal password. Spanish is the official language of Tiflolibros, but there are books in other languages, including English.
Tumble Readables: Online Large Print Library
firstname.lastname@example.org general information
(416) 781-2764 fax
Offers a collection of large print classics, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction to read online without downloading text. Uses Macromedia’s Flash 7 software, which may be downloaded as a free plug-in. The font size can be adjusted up to 34-point type.
Tumble Talking Books: Online Audible Library
email@example.com general information
(416) 781-2764 fax
Provides an online collection of unabridged audiobooks for public libraries and schools that includes classics of American and world literature, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction. The books are accessed from a link on the library or school web site and can be listened to from any computer with an Internet connection.
Unabridged: Digital Audio Books for the Blind
Conducts and evaluates a two-year pilot project that provides a web-based library of narrated digital audiobooks to blind, visually impaired, and physically disabled library users in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Eligible patrons in the participating states can download digital audiobooks and play them on the computer with the OverDrive Media Console and Windows Media Player (WMA) or transfer the content to CD or MP3 players or other WMA-enabled devices.
Provides braille magazines produced by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), press-braille books produced by NLS since 1992, and braille music scores. Access is password-protected and limited to NLS patrons (residents of the United States or American citizens living abroad who have a visual or other print disability) and eligible institutions. Files, which are in contracted braille ASCII format, may be read online or downloaded for viewing offline or embossing.
Selected List of Additional Resources
Digital Librarian: A Librarian's Choice of the Best of the Web
Has links to electronic texts and primary sources that are maintained by Margaret Vail Anderson, a librarian in Cortland, NY.
E-Digital Books, LLC
Provides a clearinghouse for writers to place their electronic literature online. Readers can download a book to a computer hard drive or obtain on CD-ROM; price varies by size of the file.
EFTS (Electronic Full-Text Sources), University of Chicago
Provides access to and information about full-text scholarly resources available at the University of Chicago; texts are arranged by language, subject, and searching interface.
Electronic Books and Monographs, University of California, Santa Barbara
Has links to encyclopedias and dictionaries, other reference books, and collections of books in electronic format.
Electronic Text Collections, Hanover College
Has links to historical and literary sources from different time periods in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.
Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature
Lists Internet sources for literary texts in western European languages other than English.
Electronic Texts and Documents, University of Washington
Has links to a variety of topics, such as African American history, the Irish famine, Mark Twain, the Vatican files, and the Vietnam project.
Offers electronic contemporary fiction and nonfiction books, newspapers, and magazines for reading on a handheld computer.
Humanities Text Initiative, University of Michigan
Includes the American Verse Project, different versions of the Bible, and the collected works of Abraham Lincoln (hosted for the Abraham Lincoln Association).
LETRS: Library Electronic Text Resource Service, Indiana University
Provides humanities-related electronic texts via the Internet and in the LETRS
Humanities Computing Lab, Indiana University.
Library of Congress Full-Text Resources
Includes American Memory, historical collections that consist of primary source materials relating to American culture and history; the full text of country studies handbooks on ninety-one countries; and Meeting of Frontiers, a collection in both English and Russian, that tells the story of the exploration and settlement of the American West and of the Russian Far East and Siberia.
Includes links to electronic texts, virtual encyclopedias, virtual newspapers, and fast facts such as almanacs, quotations, and thesauri.