My name is Vicki Squadrito and I live in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. I am married with two teenage children.
My eldest, my daughter, is a very traditional learner and is well suited to our current education system, in fact, she thrives in it. She reads for pleasure, has a great passion for classic novels and aspires to be an author. She has a love of learning and strives to achieve her best.
My youngest, my son, is not a traditional learner and he struggles greatly with text, meaning his school experience has been very, very different to his sisters. He is a bright boy, so it was an unexpected shock when he started school and almost immediately encountered difficulties.
Reading, writing and spelling proved incredibly difficult for him. A hurdle, so large, at times it seemed impossible to clear. It was like he was completely blocked.
This led me on a path of new discoveries.
I started working at his school as a Learning Support Officer, hoping to better understand and educate myself around how to help him and others just like him, all the while searching and researching a solution to this problem.
Over a ten year period and working in different schools, it became apparent to me that schools do not have the funding, time, resources or knowledge to better help these children. These children are “slipping through the cracks” and as a result, are our most vulnerable learners of all.
I also witnessed the confidence and self esteem of these children take an absolute battering. Every child starts school the same way – they believe they will go to school and learn and make their parents proud. So, what happens when they don’t? They, themselves do not understand why they struggle to read, write and spell while their peers seem to be able to pick it up easily and naturally. This can result in a child not wanting to go to school at all, increased sick days, acting out and worst of all, completely giving up.
For parents, feelings include
Worry – “my child’s not learning to read like the other children”.
Frustration – “why can they read a word one day and not the next?”.
Desperation – “who will help my child? No one seems to know what to do”.
Scared – “I am scared for my childs future”.
Heartache – no parent wants to see their child struggle every single day.
I have studied through Direct Learning in the UK, in a Certificate course called “Teaching children with dyslexia and similar reading difficulties”. I am a SPELD NSW Registered Tutor. I have attended countless workshops, webinars and seminars to study ways I can reach and teach these children struggling with text.
I have met and connected with some amazing people along the way. People from all over the world striving for better outcomes for these struggling learners. People who have inspired me to try to make a difference for these students and fill the gaps in the education system. Read more about them here.