When I first met David, he was working as a forklift driver in a factory warehouse. He had left school at age 16 with no qualifications whatsoever, and since then had drifted into low-paying, menial jobs. That's all he thought he was worth.
David was thirty years of age, and very serious about wanting to change, to break out of the rut that he seemed to be in. He had never read a book in his life and he felt accutely embarrassed about the fact that he could neither read nor write. He knew that this inability to read had held him back in so many areas of his life, not just his career. When I asked him to write me a short statement describing how this problem had affected his school and working life, I was surprised by what he came back with. Read for yourself his own words about exactly where he was when we started working on this together.
His father worked in the Computer industry and had recently given David his old PC, having replaced it with a new model. David's father had heard about what I was doing, and arranged for the two of us to meet to see if there was something we could do to get him reading and thereby enable him to use the computer more, with a view to taking on some learning to improve his position in life.
We worked out a lesson plan based on the time David had available, that covered the next six weeks of two one-to-one sessions per week. The goal was that at the end of this period David would be reasonably self-sufficient, able to work on this on his own without supervision.
David turned out to be a very quick learner, and within four weeks was happily working on his own. He was starting to read independently and only needed my help to learn any of the extended features I had planned to cover in the later topics of our agreed plan. After six weeks, any issues he had were the kind of thing we could deal with over the phone, so we agreed to meet again in another six weeks to cover off any further material that he would need, and to measure the progress that he had made.
At the end of 12 weeks David had got to the stage where not only was he working independently on the computer using the software and techniques we had gone over, he was now reading independently as well. He started with Grimm's Fairy Tales, as they had been read to him as a child, and he had always wanted to read them for himself, but never been able to. We reviewed his progress at this point, and we decided that he should carry on doing exactly what he was doing now, and if there was anything more he needed, he would call or email. I would check back once a month just to see how he was progressing.
David and I spoke regularly over the next year, and it wasn't until a year and a half went by that we actually got the chance to catch up in person. I'm used to seeing changes in people with dyslexia, changes that happen when they discover the wonders of reading, when they come to realise that they are in fact just as intelligent as everyone else. I have to say that in David's case I was "blown away" by the difference in the man.
So many changes were happening in his life that it is hard to know where to start.
That was a few years ago now. David is now married with three wonderful children, has bought a larger house for his growing family, and is now the National Operations Manager for a logistics company.
Marie was 27 years old when I came to work at the company she was working in. As the daughter of reasonably well off parents who had spared no expense while she was growing up, she had been enrolled to try out any number of the latest and greatest techniques and therapies to help children cope with dyslexia. None of these had ever produced any meaningful results, to the point where at 27 years of age she still could not read. In fact she readily admitted later that she now had both a mental and an emotional block, which made her very sceptical of anyone who offered to help read the full story
Conrad talking about his schooling, and his early working experiences.