In October 2016 Samuel saw an ad on TV for Reading Writing Hotline with a phone number for help and realised it was time to make the call. He was at a point in his life where his problems with literacy were taking their toll.
As a boilermaker and welder his career had stalled because the amount of paperwork involved in more senior positions was beyond his ability. As a father, he couldn’t read stories to his kids.
Since then Samuel has met with a tutor every week for 2 hour literacy sessions, often after a 10 hour workday. Although he admits to sometimes just wanting to go home and watch TV, or move back to New Zealand and hide himself away in the bush, he is determined to be a better provider for his family, plus work in a field that he really enjoys rather than being stuck in a job because his low literacy skills keep him there.
Samuel realises that his life up to now has been limited by his literacy issues. He believes he has avoided opportunities that have been presented to him, always thinking that it would be too difficult and that he would be judged, shamed, humiliated. When he started with his tutor he could not recite the complete alphabet, had difficulty recognising letter sounds and did not know the order of the months in the year making it hard to keep track of family birthdays. But he is driven to make big changes.
Samuel has set himself goals that until now have been dreams. He plans to study engineering or marine architecture, both of which are four year degrees but he hopes that by continuing to take small steps he will get there. And he is interested in using technology and tools that will help such as a C-pen reader to help with paperwork and an iPad and laptop computer so he can switch on accessibility features to help him cover the amount of reading required in his future studies.
Samuel is determined and resilient, positive, honest and up-front about what he needs and wants. He has also become an advocate for adult literacy, happy to share his story in the hope of challenging the stigma that surrounds it and to encourage others who struggle to come forward.
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