At a time when teachers and parents nationwide are struggling with diagnosing and knowing how to help children with dyslexia, a programme sponsored by building firm Golden Homes for students at Tauranga Intermediate is proving highly successful.

Golden Homes has been sponsoring 32 students each year for the last five years to do The Cellfield Intervention Programme. The programme works on neuroplasticity; re-wiring the brain by targeting the auditory, visual and motor pathways simultaneously. Tauranga Intermediate is the only school in New Zealand running the programme.

Cellfield clinician, Judith Kramer, says the impact this programme has had on her students is “completely life-changing”.

“Cellfield is a reading intervention designed to clear bottlenecks and create new connections in the brain, which enhance the sensory functions that are critical for reading and comprehension. On average it improves reading skills by one to two years in 10 one-hour sessions,” says Kramer.

And the results have indeed been life changing for Tauranga Intermediate student, Nami Gowan.

Nami wanted to referee a primary school basketball team, but his dyslexia meant he had issues with reading school’s names, kid’s names, helping with the score bench and reading instructions during the referee course.

Once Nami finished the Cellfield Intervention Programme, he became confident enough with his reading to attend a course to become a primary school’s Rippa rugby referee – and required no help with his reading during the course.

Ten percent of the population is affected by dyslexia – which is characterised by difficulty in reading, spelling, writing and eye-tracking. People with dyslexia can skip words, lines and in some cases whole paragraphs.

The difference in children’s confidence, attitude and reading ability is marked, says Kramer.

“The first change is the ability to decode unfamiliar words more automatically; they become more fluent, their reading rate increases. Once that happens, their comprehension continues to improve as long as they keep reading for 10–15 minutes per day. This is important to continue to strengthen the neural pathways stimulated by the programme.”

Golden Homes CEO, Shane Helms, says the family-run company was keen to support the course as a means of helping kids with dyslexia reach their full potential.

“Dyslexia is simply a language processing difficulty and has nothing to do with intelligence. Once students have completed Cellfield Intervention, it makes a huge impact on their whole lives – their confidence increases, their behaviour improves, they can understand the world around them better, and they are less likely to be bullied,” says Helms.

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