'People thought I was dumb' - school established to encourage children with dyslexia to thrive

Source: Seven Sharp

A teacher who started her own school for children with dyslexia is asking why it was her responsibility to establish it when countries all over the world have similar specialised schools set up.

Seven Sharp reported Summit Point School on Auckland's North Shore is the brain child of Rebecca Elias, a teacher with a Masters degree in Education focusing on dyslexia. 

She visited a specialised school in New York where she had the idea to set one up in New Zealand.

"Countries all over the world have these schools set up for kids who learn in these magical ways. Why do we no have it not here? So I did," Ms Elias said.

Summit Point has only four classrooms, demand is huge and she's frequently asked when she's starting a school in Hawke's Bay, Wellington and Christchurch.

"I work with kids as young as eight who have been talking about taking own lives," Ms Elias revealed.

"Why is it someone like me - why is it my responsibility to create this school?"

Ms Elias began with a holiday programme and had more students than the school could cater for. It's now a fully-fledged school into its second year and a roll of 50.

Summit Point takes students with language-based learning challenges, and exceptional children, because Ms Elias says, they're one and the same.

When it comes to teaching the dyslexic children reading, she said: "We learn the sound and then we learn the visuals or the print."

Teachers use a bell to get attention. 

"No teacher in this school will raise their voice or yell at one of our students."

Student Mark said before starting at the school, "people thought I was dumb and I just got stressed and I had a whole bunch of days off school."

Attending Summit Point costs around $14,000 a year but there are scholarships available, and the school wants more support from the Ministry of Education as well.

As for Mark, his time at the school has clearly paid off.

"I'm not dumb," he said.

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