How to be the Best Apple
We use the analogy of comparing an Apple device with a Microsoft computer when helping students and their parents to understand what is going on. “Our school system is like the Microsoft PC (non-dyslexic,) and these Apples (dyslexic students) are expected to run and work like a Microsoft —but they are Apples. They are wired differently and have a different operating system. It is this mismatch that causes so many of the problems for teachers and students alike.
When apples are asked to do a task, they start using the method an apple would use, for example looking for a word when reading, we review many of the possibilities that could relate to that word, Mircosofts only find one word, and say it quickly so it is deemed that an apple is slow to process. The reality is we had so many more thoughts and have to sift through until we find the one we think the teacher is asking for. This all happens so quickly we are often not even aware of it.
“Show your working” the new catch cry of modern exams is where this thinking becomes so difficult, we have processed it so quickly we struggle to work out what steps were used to the get answer. So these apples are often very clever, but will never work the same way a Microsoft does”. Schools are entrenched “Mircosoft institutions”
When the kids realise they are actually an Apple,and not a broken microsoft it is such a relief because most believe they are dumb, as they have had that message subliminally re-enforced every day.
“We tell them what they need is an Apple technician to show them how an Apple learns, and then we show them how to learn from a Microsoft teacher. Then if there are any problems we use an Apple solution to fix that, but as we know Apples are clever, smart machines, and seldom breakdown. These kids just think and process differently, they are not broken.”
Apple = Dyslexic Thinking
Children who have dyslexia are like Apples working and trying to learn from a system that is designed, taught and delivered by Microsoft.
They will never be Microsoft PC, they will not perform the tasks in the same way, or articulate information in testing the way that is easy for a Microsoft to do.
They are fundamentally wired differently and when they are taught to understand this wiring and use it, they will be able to compete in a Microsoft world. They will be seen as bright, intelligent, motivated students. They will discover their true potential.
“Dyslexic children are like apples working in a Microsoft world, they are not broken, sick or disabled, they are wired differently and DO NOT need rewiring”
– Helen Wildbore
More creative niche market
Sought after product
Seldom breaks down
Needs specialist Apple technicians to fix them
Has market dominance
A general machine great for average user
Plenty of software/hardware developers
Lots of technicians
The programme is designed for primary, intermediate and high school students. What makes the programme so different is the way it’s been put together — it is for dyslexic students, created from a dyslexic perspective based on an eclectic mix of methods, current research and varied teaching strategies.
The focus is on teaching students to understand how they work best, rather than requiring teachers to spend hours working out how to cater for their different needs. However, for teachers who are interested we share simple, quick adaptations that make a world of difference for these students. It is not a remedial intervention or a long term support programme, rather it helps students to understand how their brain is wired and learn how to use it that way.
The programme is run in the school in a purpose built mobile classroom. The students come out of their class for four one week sessions over 2 terms. There are no requirements of the school except access to power and to mark the children as present with an “attending special programme” code.
The programme has been designed to teach students to understand how they learn, how to adapt to any classroom teacher, and how to excel in the school environment, using their dyslexically wired brain.
For this reason we teach for a full week, and then the student returns to the classroom to practice what they have been taught – in subsequent weeks they then have another opportunity to refine their techniques and bounce new issues around as they eventually come up with what learning and studying looks like for them. We work with individual schools to find the most suitable, least disruptive time to run the programme, i.e. tournament week, school camp (alternative week not instead of) etc.
The programme is designed to lighten the load for teachers and schools rather than increasing it. It does not require teachers to modify course content, re-train, or spend more time planning for these students. It minimises the need for a parent to constantly be overly involved in the child’s education. It empowers the student to control their own learning and create their own destiny.
We will work alongside teachers who wish to up skill and show them how small adaptations can make a huge difference for students. We will help those teachers identify the strengths and weaknesses of each dyslexic student, and which strategies are best, as different things work for different people. Most teachers already naturally make adaptations for students, this just takes some of the guess work out of it and allows the teacher to support dyslexic students in the class as they do any other student.
The first step to access the programme is to contact us through the website or contact phone number listed at the bottom of the page.
I am very aware of the socio-economic impact for students and their families in accessing services. Currently higher income families can access external services, including dyslexic testing and diagnosis etc, where lower socio-economic families have little or no access to services even if the need is severe.
Our aim is to work with Government agencies to make this programme available to all students regardless of the decile area they come from.
in the meantime, the cost of attending the programme, needs to be met by each individual students family.
The cost of the single assessment to even gain a diagnosis (through Speld and an Educational Psychologist) is more than a quarter of the cost of this complete programme.
For current costs please contact us.
Research clearly shows the link between dyslexia, low achievement at school, youth justice, a fast track into the corrections system, as well as the impact on our social welfare and mental health system. If you want to read more just do a google search for “dyslexia and crime, or dyslexia and mental health”. Sadly there are loads of articles and research about the link between these things. (Jane Kirk and Gavin Reid, University of Edinburgh, UK is a good article.)
We also know that low self esteem and dyslexia can be a fast track into the DPB system, and while these are just statistics, behind every statistic is a child who began school full of hopes and dreams and has found themselves in a place they never intended to be.
The link to mental health issues are also well documented, www.dyslexia-research.com. This DOES NOT mean that every young person with dyslexia will have any of these issues, rather that they are more at risk. The MPOWERED programme is designed to reduce the risk and the associated cost, but far more importantly restore self confidence and self-esteem to each student.
As this programme has gone public I have had enquiries from both workers within Youth Justice and agencies who contract to Work and Income New Zealand. Together we will look at the programme as it currently stands and alongside these and other agencies to see what we offer may help these people who have moved past our education system and into other systems. This will be a new phase of the programme, however, workers within these industries have already identified the need and have seen in this programme a possible solution.
We will keep you updated with any developments through this website.
The final part of this programme is the entrepreneurial component. It is well known that people who are dyslexic are more likely to be entrepreneurial, and this programme is going to address this with students. We will teach them skills and give them experiences that will bring their natural abilities to the forefront.
We will also establish a mentoring programme with dyslexic business owners within a range of industries.