Tafe Course for Dyslexics

Hi Dawn I recently purchased your book and I just love it it is so user friendly and I just want to keep reading it. I am a teacher assistant at a secondary school and have been working with a year 8 girl who is dyslexic your book was mentioned to me in the holidays and after purchasing it can see that it is going to be very useful. So thank you. I would lke to know more about the course that is running at Tafe in WA, is it available on line what age or year level is it aimed at. Look forward to hearing from you Marisa

Dyslexic Centre Australia School for Dyslexics.


Having recently set up Dyslexic Centre Australia (www.dyslexiccentreaustralia.org.au) we are now looking for premises and a school.

If we can prove that there is a need for a specific school for dyslexics in Australia, and currently there is no such school (no one can tell me of one despite my asking for 3 years and none are listed), then we can claim a commonwealth grant to start one. I am contacted all the time by parents desperate for such as school and it is parental pressure that is forcing me to open one. Families are actually moving away from Australia in order to educate their dyslexic kids. (see comments on this blog).

The school would be called:

Dyslexic Centre Australia School for kids too unique for mainstream education

We would hope to offer scholarships to disadvantaged and gifted dyslexics.

Our school would offer the following:

  • Day and boarding facilities
  • Summer camp, for families and teenagers by themselves, for those who did not want full-time boarding
  • Assessment and individual learning programs set up for out of town or interstate kids.
  • Seminars for teachers and parents
  • Seminars and courses for teachers
  • Accredited Personal development courses for learning support and class teachers and teachers aids
  • Student based teaching programs based on individual needs following the Dawn Matthews teaching methods
  • Fully trained dyslexic teachers – trained by us
  • Continuous assessment and retraining for teachers
  • Pupil based teachers assessment
  • Individual learning program and outcomes for each pupil reviewed every term
  • Integrated use of technology
  • Spelling, reading and maths is taught by structured, hands-on, multi-sensory phonics based learning
  • Concentration on painting, drawing, film, creation, technical skills, sport, respect for others, design as well as excellence in writing, reading and math concepts
  • A school where kids are encouraged to be themselves and do things the way they feel happiest doing them
  • A teaching program based on a pupils strengths
  • Teaching that concentrates upon making the kids confident and self assured and equipped for the world after school.
  • A school where the pupils have a say in the everyday running and decisions
  • A school open every day for any parent or kids anywhere needing help or reassurance
  • A school which would showcase just how very smart dyslexics are when taught properly

If you think you would be interested in such a school please do add your name (as a comment below) thus showing your interest in such a school, so that we can give numbers to the people considering our proposal – we can also keep you notified of progress.

Tafe Course for Dyslexics


Hi Dawn I recently purchased your book and I just love it it is so user friendly and I just want to keep reading it. I am a teacher assistant at a secondary school and have been working with a year 8 girl who is dyslexic your book was mentioned to me in the holidays and after purchasing it can see that it is going to be very useful. So thank you. I would lke to know more about the course that is running at Tafe in WA, is it available on line what age or year level is it aimed at. Look forward to hearing from you Marisa



Can you recommend schools for Dyslexia in Brisbane?…

Hi My son is 8 years old and has recently been tested as dyslexic and I was enquiring if you have any schools you could recommend in the Brisbane area and any programs or software that may assit

I do not know of any schools that in way cater dyslexics in Australia. I am trying to set one up but it takes time, and anyway I am in Perth.
I am writing materials all the time and my new complete Dead Easy Phonics course in coming out next month, hopefully. In the meantime the best programs are the Nessy program from the Uk www.nessy.co.uk

My book Dyslexia – How to Win tells you a lot of things that are helpful. the rest of the material i sell will soon become a part of the new Dead Easy Phonics program. Mathletics is also the best I can suggest and can be found online at a cost of about $100 per year.
hope this helps

Alternative approach in NYC

Perhaps this story will provide some ideas for my Aussie compatriots. I am the parent of a nine year old classic dyslexic (visual and aural) here in NYC. I am from Melbourne and had always hoped to return home before my daughter went to High School. She struggled in the public school system here from age 4.5 to 7.5 yrs, receiving extra services (Speech and Language/ O.T. about 9 ‘pull-outs’ a week), in addition I was taking her to a learning disability program and reading program after school 3 days a week. Since age 5 she has done 2 hours of Homework a night. Yet she still lagged behind academically. I was advised by a psychologist who tested her that she needed full immersion in a multi-sensory teaching program, specialising in the Orton Gilliam method. Fortunately, here in NYC there are about 5 private schools for dyslexics and speech/language disabled students. Although enrollment is highly competitive, she was accepted into the top four and we chose the The Churchill School, with the best reputation. The school is k-12 and has been in operation for 35 years and was named for dyslexic Winston. Each class has 12 kids with 2 teachers who masters in special education. The school has state of the art smart boards and computers in each room and the curriculum is structured so that every topic is reiterated throughout each subject. An example from 3rd grade: if the kids are studying immigration in social studies then in Library, computer, art and science the theme is also reiterated, as it is in an excursion to Ellis Island, now an immigration museum Of course the cost of such a school is astronomically high at $40,000 a year. Other such schools in the city are closer to $60,000. However, there is a law in NY state stating that every child is entitled to “a free and appropriate education”. It seems that approximately 90% of the Churchill families sue the state each year and receive a reimbursement of the tuition fee. (The fees are so high because of the teacher to student ratio. All parents are expected to help with fund raising events throughout the year.) Within 6 weeks of starting at Churchill my nearly 8 year old read me a bedtime story for the for the first time in her life. She has gone from strength to strength and, although she still operates below her age level the change in her is enormous. For the last 5 weeks straight she has received perfect scores on her weekly spelling test. On top of her academic achievements, her esteem has skyrocketed being around kids with similar learning differences. My daughter is adopted, my same-sex partner and I were at her birth, now get this: 4 of the 12 kids in her class are from same-sex households. So the school has also, quite unexpectedly, provided further emotional support simply by its commitment to diversity. If you would like to see my daughter in action in a video school report go to Youtube and search for ‘Grace & Equality’ and marvel at how an academically frustrated child has blossomed through an appropriate education. Perhaps this will inspire you in you quest to start your own schools in Oz. Google the Churchill School, Stephen Gaynor School and the Gateway School and see how these schools are functioning. Good luck, continued perseverance and bottomless patience to all of you who are touched by dyslexia.
- Sean

Hi Sean,
I am sorry for the wait you had in receiving an answer but they messed big time in fitting a new modem here!
Thank you for your insight. Would a school like that be willing to help us do you think?
In the school I helped set up in the UK most parents sued the local education authority for funding to send their kids there also. Although the cost was lot less. None is doing this in Australia because there is simply not anywhere to ask for your child to be sent to.
Thank You

That is an interesting way to look at it Dawn. My understanding, and I only have the experience of my 9 year old daughter and everything I have read in the last 5 years, is that dyslexics are in fact visual thinkers, who lack the internal monolgue or ‘voice of God’ or whatever you want to call it that the majority of us have. Instead the think in pictures. Which makes them great creatives. By which I mean that dyslexics associate visual imagery to words, except for those 250 or so words in English that that have no obvious visual reference( “that” is one of them). These, is, often, as, the, of, etc. illicit a blank screen in the mind of the visual thinker. With a diminished short term memory the dyslexic then has trouble recalling exactly what may have preceded the “blank Screen” word, thus causing reading and comprehension problems. I taught my daughter phonetics, yet her first impulse is to guess the word from it’s shape, or the first syllable as you suggest. Simply remembering to employ the phonetic sounding out of words has taken a good four years for her to incorporate. It’s still not her tool of choice. Since she started at The Chuchill School here in Manhattan a year ago, she has had great success remembering how to spell words. Yet I dont known for certain if it’s through the visualisation of the whole word ( Most American schools teach the ‘whole word’ approach having abandoned ohonetics 50 years ago, sadly), learning spelling rules by rote or phonetic practices. Or a combination of all. Probably a combination. Also she worked through a year of eye exercises , as you suggest, at an LD program run by the State Uni of NY, when she was six to help her track, horizontally, vertically and to recognize letters shapes, numbers etc. and also with lenses that exercized her focus transitioning from up close to a metre away.

Hi again Sean,
Now it is definitely true that dyslexics are visual thinkers and make excellent artists directors, film designers etc.
People think that visual thinking means visualizing but in fact people who are not able to visualize or “see” the image of a word projected in their vsiual memory ( and remember that your visual memory is outside of your head not inside it) in fact think much more visually in many ways than those who can do this. This would seem to be hard to belive but I have assess so many creative people during my 40 years in this area that it has to be true.
If you cannot recall what a word looks like then you have to learn phonics and rules and games and tricks to overcome this. This is how I teach.
Once it is understood that the kid has to actually learn how to spell turning the kid around academically can be done sometimes very quickly.
good Luck

New School

Hi there,
I would be extremely interested in your school. Has there been any further developments with this? When do you envisage it to be up and running? Lastly, would it be a school that caters for all ages (primary and secondary?)
Sounds absolutely brilliant. Please keep me informed!

There is so much forms filling etc involved in setting things up here. Much simpler in the UK. But we do intend to have it for all ages, and we intend to set up a pre school in which we teach basic phonics, so that kids are ready to learn to read when getting to the main school. If there is anyone out there who can help with finding out how to fill in forms etc. please do contact me.
Thanks. dawn

Looking for a school focussing on Dyslexia

This came through to us but I wanted to share, just incase anyone else can assist.

Hi, my son has quite severe learning diffulculties in reading,writing and maths. He has been tested for dyslexia and the report shows he is dyslexic.
He is going to high school next year on the Gold Coast. Does anyone know of a school that would be good for him. We have found some schools so far don’t want to take on children with dyslexia and can’t offer any support.

thanks for your email. sorry, i do not know individual schools there. it has been my experience that you have t educate the teachers yourself. this is why i wrote the books in plain english to make it easy for them to understand.
let us know if you find a god one and we can then pass that information on to others.