He was widely rumoured to be under a spell. He was rejected by classmates and scorned by playmates. He was suffering from Dyslexia, a form of disability that impairs reading, spelling and even writing, in children. And with such disability, he lived his adolescent years with the fear of a bleak future.
“It was tough for me,” Tobi said of his experience before he found solution to his dyslexic condition. “Whenever I saw an alphabet, I mistook it for another.”Tobi, at 14 years of age, had to repeat classes because he could not read or write. No one realised he was suffering from a learning impairment, and it was indeed a complex situation.“Some teachers in the school believed Tobi was under a spell and this was the story I had to believe,” Ishola Abdulkabeer, Tobi’s private teacher, mentor and coach, said.“Fortunately for me, watching the movie ‘Like Stars on Earth’ changed that psyche. It featured a character (Hishan) who also suffered from Dyslexia like Tobi. We sat to watch the movie with Tobi and I asked him what his inference was, then he told me this was exactly what’s wrong with him. The first thing I did was to carry out a background research on his learning history.”
Mr. Ishola also disclosed that he made contact with medical professionals to examine the situation and scheduled personal coaching sessions with the boy using digital flashcards designed with PowerPoint.“We explored the OneNote application for synchronizing exercises via PC and mobile while enjoying the digital inking feature. We gathered videos from YouTube about people who had overcome the dyslexia challenge. The scrabble game was also helpful for letter identification and word formation. We equally watched inspiring movies like Akeelah and the Bee which spurred his dictation to perfection,” he added.The teacher explained further that it was really difficult and frustrating helping Tobi overcome his challenge in the beginning, adding that he almost gave up on him. However, Tobi’s attitude to learning and resilience, Mr. Ishola said, were highly infectious.
“I chased him away one day after explaining a concept to him several times, yet he failed to comprehend. The next day, he came knocking on my door and then I asked: ‘what did you do when you got home yesterday?’ He said: ‘I went to pray to God to touch your heart and accept me back’. That really touched my heart and from that day, I gave my all to see him succeed,” Mr. Ishola disclosed.