My name is Jan Stead. I am a qualified teacher with over 30 years experience in schools, and across various education sectors.
My youngest son is dyslexic, and so am I.
In my early years of teaching I became concerned with enabling and supporting students who were struggling with the basics of reading, writing and/or maths, and became passionate about helping them overcome their learning difficulties. At the same time I was acutely aware of the poor self esteem and low self confidence so many of these students displayed, and searched for ways to affirm and encourage them.
However, this became personal when our youngest son displayed similar learning difficulties, yet was bright and capable in many areas. Although I must admit I tended to focus on the things he couldn’t do!
While looking for answers, I researched and asked questions, had him tested by various professionals, and worked with his teachers, school counsellors, and departmental special education services, who were all puzzled. His test results simply didn’t make sense.
Then I stumbled upon a book that changed his life. And mine.
When I began to read it, I was astounded. It described our son perfectly!
Doing the Davis program was a turning point for him, or maybe more accurately, a beginning.
Not only was his own personal door to reading unlocked, but he also blossomed before our eyes. And the best thing was his self esteem improved and he became increasingly confident. He began enjoying and succeeding in school, but also in those areas he was strongest – sport, music, dance, drama and art. He also embarked upon creative writing and storytelling, which was to form part of his future career.
As Ron Davis recognises these gifts and talents, the great strengths that are part of dyslexia, so he does not aim to ‘cure’ it, but rather to correct the learning difficulties, and enhance the positives.
This approach resonated with me, so having also seen the positive changes in our son, I began using Ron Davis’ methods outlined in the book in my own teaching and was excited by the results. Working at a university some years later, I found there was a need for support of adult dyslexic students. This was the impetus for a project I developed, which involved writing a professional development curriculum for academics to equip them to recognise these students, so they could support and enable them in their studies.
So when I found training was available to become a Davis facilitator, I jumped at it.
In the course of training, I found that I am also dyslexic. Initially I could not justify giving myself the gift of my own Davis program, but from the moment I did, my life changed.
It made sense of so many things in my life: explained my life long struggle with low self esteem; showed me why I didn’t read for pleasure — I was painstakingly slow, got eye strain headaches or would fall asleep — and if a book didn’t capture my imagination in the first couple of pages, I’d give up; why I found organisation difficult and had always had to work very hard in so many areas.
Despite encouragement from family and friends, I had never really valued the things that came easily to me. I thought I was being lazy or cheating, taking the easy options in study or work. And indulging in my hobbies of photography, art and music was fun, but selfish and simply wasting time.
I have seen the Davis methods transform mine and other people’s lives.
To be able to give the gift of Davis programs to some wonderful gifted people is indeed a privilege and a joy.