Words of wisdom
As a nine-year-old, Tom Mullally had a ‘superior’ IQ, but could never understand why he still could not read or write.
He watched on as his classmates moved on to the next year level while he was left to repeat and spend years in remediation and special education.
At the age of seven he was told by his teacher that he would never amount to anything.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Tom, 25, is a confident public speaker who openly discusses his own struggles with dyslexia to help parents better understand what their child is going through if they struggle to read or write.
Tomorrow night at 7 pm, Tom will speak at a free seminar at Cobram Barooga Golf Club. Parents of children struggling with reading and writing are encouraged to attend the session.
Tom said constantly being told he had no great future made him feel inadequate and destroyed his confidence to the point that he labelled himself ‘‘dumb and stupid’’ and would purposely use avoidance to sit out of classroom activities.
‘‘I was a functionally illiterate nine-year-old. I couldn’t read or write my own name,’’ Tom said.
‘‘I struggled with reading, comprehension, spelling and getting my ideas on to paper, and for a while I spent a long time in remediation and special ed classes.
‘‘It affected my confidence. I had withdrawn and didn’t want to participate in activities at school because I didn’t want my weaknesses to be shown to the classroom.
‘‘I knew something was going on but I just wrote myself off as dumb and stupid because I was struggling to do the reading other kids found easy.’’
Tom’s mum Marianne took him to undergo tests and assessments that showed he had a superior IQ, but still didn’t understand what was happening.
So she travelled to and from the US, where she studied dyslexia for three years. Within five days of Marianne returning to Australia, Tom said he was finally able read and comprehend.
Marianne now educates and empowers parents across Australia who have children struggling with the disorder and teaches the techniques she has built on for the past 15 years of working with more than 400 dyslexic adults and children.
The seminar follows the journey to understand what is really happening for these creative thinkers.
This mother-and-son team has first-hand experience of the education struggle and will cut through the jargon and confusion around the learning difficulty.
‘‘Her teaching changed my life,’’ Tom said of his mother.
‘‘I was school captain in Year 12 where I graduated with dux in two subjects and went on to do a double degree at university in Sydney.’’
Tom now runs his own social media business in Sydney.
Ten to 15 per cent of Australians have dyslexia, a disorder that involves difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters and other symbols.
If you are interested in attending the free seminar, it is not too late to register. You can book at www.dyslexia.com.au/register or phone (02) 9436 3766.
Help is at hand: Tom Mullally speaking at a dyslexia seminar in Warrnambool.