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Rediff Education - Achiever Traci; 

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Web designer, proprietor of an internet web site and winner of the Cable and Wireless International Childnet award and NINE other awards. A software trouble shooter for one of India’s most widely circulated computer magazines- Chip, and an amateur clay modeller to boot, Jason Fernandes has quite a few laurels to carry with him when he turns in for the night.

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  1. 1. Rediff Education - Achiever Traci; H9A$I l-‘-’l"“v- l " CAREER RESOURCE COUNSELOR An 51‘ "Eth J C‘: F. *3 :5; REVISIONPAPERS C. ‘ e, trr. 'et"'. :“. :s'fdC: ‘€"n“, i.: ‘ : W ‘T: *3 YOUTH BUZZ - : . . -—- by Chrfiman HL SOPTBOARD WEB DIHECTCRY web designer, proprietor of an ” } ” _l’_FRS¥? F.C: l“lYES BRAIN CANDY TEL KIT tile: //1{: Rcd1t1‘ Educauonbyfitc intemet web site, and winner of the Cable and Wireless Intemational Chitdret award and nine other awards. A software trouble shooter for one of India's most widely cimulated computer magazines - Chip, and an amateur clay modeler to boot, Jason Femandes has quite a few laurels to carry with him when he tums in for the ’{ night. But here's the catch- Jason is just sixteen years old - and was analyzed as being dyslexic in July, 1998. Dyslexia is a tenn that has been loosely applied to reading disabilities. Doctors define dyslexia as a condition resulting from neurological, maturational, and genetic causes, while psychiatrists relate dyslexia on the basis of the specific reading problems evidenced and give no reference to causation. Illustrated in Jason's own words, ''In dyslexics, the right brain is more dominant than the left and their brain works faster than a normal student. " For example, if you write the word ‘cat’, a normal student might quickly relate the word to the visual of the animal, but a dyslexic tries several different combinations of‘ ‘cat’, e. g. cat, tac, tea and ultimately comes up with the correct way to write it by a process of elimination. So, although a dyslexic child is ridiculed as dumb, he actually works faster, but due to problems with text he ends up with the answer late. " This young man has been through trials and tribulations to know exactly what he's talking about. Winn asked about the first fifteen years in his life, Jason asks in retum, "Do you really want to know about them? " Jasonwent to the highly, acclaimed Jamnabai Narsee School c. ‘ Bombay, and he recalls. "It was pretty painful, because I studied till my head fell off and yet I still I couldn't get anywhere. People called me stupid, retarded, dumb, lazy and that was when they were being nice to me. " When an NT professor came and tried to train Jason for he secondary school math examinations, he discovered that the led off ma ematical problems that llTians henna’ v ever lrac htrn U 4|;
  2. 2. Rcdifl‘ Education - Achiever Track ? ; - 3 2 : :‘ - stumble over, orally - and with ease. This ccntra: ":ted rs school report card grades - which remained abysmal. Wren recommended that he be taken to Mumbais Sion Hospita' for a comprehensive dyslexia test, Jeannette Femandes took her son there, and discovered that Jason had been bom with a leaming disability. Adversity discourages the less phlegmatic amongst us, but fires the resolve of those stronger. Jason's family rallied around him and he was given a free rein with the family computer, at whim he was already showing prodigious talent. With his birthday savings over the last two years, Jason bought his own intemet domain vvww. jasonsoflware. coni and inaugurated the site in‘ December, 1998; He was shifted to the American School of Bombay, where hisineeds were recognised and he was allowed to study with the aid of a computer, a dictaphone and other assorted software meant to overcome his leaming disability. Jason remembers, ''I needed to express more than my report card, I needed to prove myself - to myself and to other people. " And that he's been slowly doing, scoring 85% in his last academic quarter and reveling in the lntemational Bacchaulareate system, which Jason reckons has to be the toughest high school education system in the world. Meanwhile, circumstance had come alive to Jason's undeniable skills with the computer. Chip magazine anointed him 'Dr. Chip', and it became his role to solve the myriad problems that readers encountering difficulties with their machines wrote in about. Jason relished the satisfaction of solving the problems and took his first steps towards the legacy that the doctor analysing him with dyslexia at Sion Hospital left him with, who had emphatically stated that he could well be another Einstein because of the phenomenal powers that the right half of the brain (non dyslexics use the left half of the brain much more than the relatively unused right half) gave him. Soon, www. jasonsoltware. com was rechristened www. zeocity. oom , where visitors could order books and ssettes, including get minor updates on a variety of issues. Companies like Reuters lntemational and Amazon. com lined up to utilize his skills, whilst Jason designed sites for Raga, Rock magazine tndiavibes and St. Joseph's Church with his intuitive sense of creativity, with which he says he makes his own '3- dimensional world of dreams, complete with plot twists - regular Hollywood movies‘, where he would hide away for hours when. the going got tough for him. Awards flowed in. The Emperor Norton awards for online excellence in arts and science, The Starsaber's award, The Safe Surf award, The Talking Hands award, Creativity awards, The lnfonned Parent award, The Critical Mass award, and The Surfer's choice award sneaked their way into the Femandes household. But the big fish was yet to land itself. As Jason's life steadily fell into place around him, he understood that there were many around the world who were just like him. And the desire to do his utmost to help their lives . : _u: _| __ __: :__n. __: -.; _-rr__: -:_. ._-_. _._ . n.. . . file: //K: Red1fl‘l: Lducat1on - Acli1cver”t'1'at‘Jlf. I1fih 3/28/20 L ‘J
  3. 3. Redifi' Education - Achiever Track me: //i<. :i<ecim' i: ‘auca1ion"—' Tall InlO place as Well maniresteo IISSII as HIS paSSIOf'I. A W30 site, designed‘ and maintained" by him to help children with leaming disabilities was set up at wwvv. Idkids. com. It became a comprehensive databank on what dyslexia was, what its characteristics were, and how it could be diagnosed. Sixteen year old Jason used his years of being misunderstood by hisclassmates, family to fuel his passion for helping as many souls as he could around the world to comprehend the hurdles a dyslexic had to overcome. "Parents in anguish over their children with LD's (leaming disability) come to my home over the weekends — sometimes six of them at a time - and I spend time with them, trying to help them understand and sharing my experiences with them. And I hope it helps them I have compiled a database of institutesfnospitals wherekids canget testedandalso-where they may go for special education services and help. Should any childor parentwittiachiidbavingadyslexia nothave interriet facilities, I am always available to offer infonnation in the tom of print to them on a totally non profit basis. .", he states emphatically. And then came the prestigious Childnet lntemational award instituted by Cable and Vlfireless for Intemet web sites designed by children to benefit other children. Jason's work stood recognized’ and media attention flowed in from all ends. The Los Angeles Times, the BBC, the Times of India presented features of Jason's website. Letters flowed inencotiraging him in his work Special educators started asking him for his advice enhowtetranslateeducation-intoapleasantg meaningful experience for children with leaming disabilities. This April, he will travel to collect the award from the President of Barbados, who was preceded by Tony Blair - who gave away the award last year. Jason doesn't mind all the attention one bit. "It furthers my cause - it spreads my message - and that's what lwant“ He draws your attention to the suicide by Danielle Steele's son - as a-result offrustration with his "Its incidents like that that I want to avert with my web site, with my work pointsout Jason. - An excerpt from a paper he wrote for school enumerating his goals gives the bottom line to his mission - ''I want no LD kid to ever feel the need to hide in shame or disgrace or be unnecessary punished or misunderstood and have to give up education because of lack of public awareness. " At an age when most crib about the eccentricities of our dates, spendhours wondering about what to wear, 16 year old Jason Femandes is designing his own life. In a country where most «children with hiscondition dropout of school and prepare themselves for a life of despair - Jason owns an intemet portal, manages a non profit organisation, sets up lSP's in pa. 'tnerst"p with companies in the United lfingdom, works with learrrg ' itv r-inn! are i . rind: and ma I tnitad Stain: and cum: fracltfiiin
  4. 4. Bedifi‘ Education - Achiever Track P‘-_; : 4 ; : -‘T . ... ... ... ... ., . ... ... .'. ~ . .. . .,. ... ... ... . . ... ... .. ... .. ... ... ... 9.. ... . . ... .. . ... ,.. awakepast functioningas the of thousands with whom he's united by a common disabiiity, be. separated by an uncommon resolve. Qtheimsaryiegs Tell us what ou think of this interview Name: |. T T TN Email: T Post a message: I I I I TOP H0MB| NEW3|BUSINESS| §flTS| M0Vll§I§HAI| lI‘H°ofl:3CHl]J1AVI'l W W i'BOQI§_$HOP YMUSJQAHOP i‘ £; U0NS iEDUCATK_>E SINGLE i l | l file: //K: Red1fl‘l: £ducat1on - Ach1ever'l‘rack. htm 3f28’. "L4;-J