Reading and spelling not the only measures of success

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An international dyslexia expert wants Queenstown schools to rethink the way they gauge success. 

United Kingdom-based Neil MacKay will speak at a Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand conference at Mill­brook this Saturday that is aimed at helping find different ways to educate dyslexic kids. 

“We’ve just got to try and get the schools to see beyond accurate reading and spelling as being the only measure of a well-educated person,” he says. 

A student MacKay worked with – who struggled through school – is now a fashion designer with a first-class honours degree. 

Another dyslexia success story is a boy who hated school but who’s now being put through university by his aerospace employers after he found a way of reorgan­-ising computer servers. 

“Many of these guys have had their self-esteem damaged by the system and it’s about proving to them that if you work slightly differently, you can be very effective.” 

MacKay says people such as famous dyslexic Kiwis Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop and the late John Britten, a Christchurch engineer, motivate him. 

“They have all said, ‘We had to leave school to become respected … we had to leave school to become successful.’”