Naia Transforms from C’s to A’s While Learning With Dyslexia!
The story begins when Naia’s Mum, Sharon, was researching the best fit for High School for Naia. The school had to have great access to both Tennis and Academics, as she really believed in his ability to succeed not just in sport, but school as well. The A Team Tuition website caught her eye and after reading the story of Hayden McEvoy and seeing the similarity to Naia’s early years – there was no turning back. The tennis program and school had been found at Palm Beach Currumbin State High School, and now the tutoring company as well. Although Naia was accepted into Geelong’s most prestigious school, there was no turning back.
So the journey began – Naia and Sharon packed their bags and made the move from Victoria to Queensland. Naia’s grades were essentially six months to a year behind prior to beginning school at PBC and once starting, Naia struggled to gain grades higher than a C. The school was very supportive in offering Naia a fantastic maths program, yet Naia was not totally engaged and lacked confidence – despite verging on Mensa level with his IQ.
Then along came Blake, one of A Team’s Gold Coast Academic Personal Trainers. Blake quickly noticed how much Naia’s grades were impacting his approach to school and turned around Naia’s confidence so much that Naia now wants to go to University and enter the Academic Excellence program at school.
“When I first started with Naia, he very much had a ‘what’s the point’, ‘why should I bother’ type attitude. He was struggling academically, and I think he had really typecast himself as someone destined to fail.”
Unfortunately this kind of attitude is all-too-common in children struggling with dyslexia, particularly because their learning needs and learning styles are often at odds with those catered for by the traditional classroom model.
Blake’s approach was simple. He knew that Naia’s grades were not a true reflection of his ability, but that Naia just needed someone to help explain the content in a way he understood, and more importantly, someone to believe in him.
“His parents had been really supportive of Naia,” says Blake, “but I think the biggest thing for him was having someone else, someone outside the family, actually believe in his ability.”
With additional support in place, Naia had a genuine belief in his ability, and the conviction that hard work would pay off; his whole approach to school had altered. He went from strength to strength, and by the middle of Year 8 had achieved a mix of As and Bs, including an A in English – a simply staggering result for a young man with dyslexia!
Sharon has of course been immensely pleased with Naia’s results, but for her that’s only one part of the story. Blake’s influence on her son extends not only to his grades, but more broadly to his attitude towards his future. Fuelled by his new-found belief in his ability, for the first time Naia has expressed a desire to go to university. Blake helped Naia instil a work ethic and used goal setting to set not just academic goals, but in Tennis as well. Since then, Naia has won multiple trophies in Tennis and now has Australian Ranking Points. “Blake completely transformed Naia’s mindset. He has influenced Naia to want to be academic, to want to go to university and chase his future.”
Naia now has the luxury of considering many options for his later life after school. A superstar tennis player who has won numerous regional titles, his first dream is to make it onto the professional tour. Naia has felt extremely supported by Blake, Hayden and his school. He is now studying a year level above as he is up for the extra work at home! After his career has finished, he has his eyes set on studying sports science or physiotherapy. In any case, the world is once again Naia’s oyster.