Out of the Shadows


After a lifetime of frustration, 62-year-old Hamish Shoebridge has finally learnt how to read and write with confidence. With the growing recognition and understanding of dyslexia, many more adults like Hamish are now seeking help from SPELD NZ – and seeing results!

“I don’t remember school as a positive experience, but I still recall the way it made me feel,” Hamish tells us. “The difficulties I faced began on my first day of school. Nobody seemed to get the fact that I couldn’t do my homework because I couldn’t read or understand it. At high school, I continually failed written tests and exams.”

Hamish and his SPELD NZ teacher, Kim Morris, who says Hamish is a true hero.

When Hamish was 15, his mother saw an advertisement in the paper for an apprentice car painter. She helped with his application and he got the position. When he told the school he was leaving, he was handed a form to fill in. “I still remember the shocked look on the office lady’s face when I told her that I couldn’t fill it in because I was unable to read it!

It seemed like my life began at 15 years old on the day I started work as an apprentice car painter,” says Hamish. “Everything from then on didn’t involve reading or writing, but it did involve reading numbers, which I could do.”

Many years later, Hamish felt the need to discover why he found reading and writing so difficult. He chose SPELD NZ because we could thoroughly assess his reading ability and offered qualified teachers who would understand his specific learning needs.

“I now work with a wonderful teacher, Kim Morris, who appreciates that my learning needs are different from a child. She is willing and able to adapt her teaching style to accommodate this. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been letting go of past feelings I had about school. However this time the learning experience feels different.

My successes include feeling more confident about writing and reading. I can now read for pleasure. I am also now able to write my thoughts down in story form and share them with others. My family tell me that my handwriting has improved and they can read it!”

“My wife, Heather now gets birthday cards written by me – this has never happened before in the 40 years of our married life, and that brings great joy to us both.”

Hamish’s teacher, Kim Morris, reports that he has thrived as a SPELD NZ student. “Hamish has been a wonderful student. He works hard while his beloved dog, Charlie, waits patiently for him in the car.

“His literacy skills were limited at the start of tutoring but Hamish showed great perseverance and determination to improve his ability. His regular practice has undoubtedly facilitated rapid progress and Hamish has gained confidence and skill in his ability.

“It has been heart-warming to witness this very brave man learn to read and write. He’s a true hero and I am very proud of him!”