Like Father, Like Son


Eight-year-old Jacob Neary is what you might call a “chip off the old block”.  Like his builder dad Darren, he has a natural flair for thinking visually in 3D and is years ahead of his peers with his Lego Technic creations.

Both father and son have dyslexia and struggled at school.  However unlike his dad, through SPELD NZ Jacob is getting the help he needs to learn differently and succeed in the classroom.  As a result, Darren believes the sky is the limit for his son.

Jacob and Darren Neary

“Jacob has the advantage of the literacy support I never had.  His future will be endless with having spatial awareness PLUS the literacy I missed out on.”

“I was good at maths but terrible at reading and writing. I was put at the back of the classroom.  Nobody knew anything about dyslexia.  I was always skipping school and left the day I turned 15, barely able to read, and have been self-employed in the building industry ever since.

“I think if I had my time again now, I would study to be an architect.  If I had the support Jacob has, I could probably have done that.  I think being dyslexic helps.  I wouldn’t give it away.  Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci were very dyslexic.  Without dyslexia we wouldn’t have the wheel.  We’re great inventors.  We see the end result and work backwards –  we ask how do we do that, how do we get there?  I see very successful dyslexic guys in the building industry every day with these great visualisation skills.

Darren says Jacob’s SPELD NZ tutoring has done wonders for him.

“Writing used to throw me into a panic.  Jacob’s tutor takes the panic away and very calmly says “here’s a way you can do that”.  She gives him techniques which I never had.  She’s able to push him to the limit of where he can go.”

Update:  Since this story was published, Jacob  has gone on to high school.  Hear more about Jacob’s journey from his mother Sally in this video interview with the The New Zealand Herald.