Dyslexic guest speaker Tom Mullally gives free seminar in Armidale next Wednesday

Dyslexic guest speaker Tom Mullally will give a free seminar at the Guyra Bowling Club on Wednesday, September 26, at 1pm, for parents of children struggling with reading and writing.

Tom aims to put attendees into the learner’s shoes.

The event will be 90 minutes of tips, insight, and practical knowledge about what dyslexia is, and how parents can help their children get over the reading hump.

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Tom has educated more than 5000 people across Australia about dyslexia.

As a nine-year-old, Tom had a 'superior' IQ, but could never understand why he still couldn't 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, his teacher told him he would never amount to anything.

Tom said it 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,” he said; “I couldn't read or write my own name.

"I struggled with reading, comprehension, spelling, and getting my ideas onto 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"It affected my confidence; I had withdrawn and didn't want to participate in activities at school, because I didn't want my weaknesses to be shown to the classroom.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 mother Marianne took him to undergo tests and assessments that showed he had a superior IQ, but she still didn't quite understand what was happening.

So she travelled to and from America, where she studied dyslexia for three years.

Within five days of Marianne returning to Australia, Tom said he was finally able to read AND comprehend.

Marianne now educates and empowers parents across Australia who have children struggling. She teaches the techniques she has built on for the last 15 years of working with more than 400 dyslexic adults and children.

This seminar shortcuts the journey to understand what is really happening for these creative thinkers.

This mother and son team have 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. “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 is now 25 and runs his own social media business in Sydney - but this April he will be a guest speaker at Marianne's free dyslexia seminars.

10 – 15% of Australians have dyslexia, a disorder that involves difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols.

Dyslexia has become the sleeping giant of learning difficulties, but is often not spoken about in education circles.

“These kids are not lazy, dumb, stupid or naughty. They are smart, articulate learners. They just have to be taught the way they learn,” Tom said.

The free seminar is at the Armidale Services Club, on Wednesday, September 26, at 7pm. To register, visit www.dyslexia.com.au/register, or telephone 02 9436 3766.