10 Aug 2022
After a 15 year career in aviation, Amanda Hornby found herself without a childminder and needed to find a position that worked around her children.
Amanda opted for a role in a school to fit her needs, which is where she supported a student who was showing signs of dyslexia – which is where her fascination and interest began.
Amanda explained: “The first student I supported was a young man who was clearly intelligent, as the conversations we had were engaging and lively, debating many current affairs and school gossip! However, he could not read or write, and so he refused to contribute to the lessons other than verbally. He spent many hours in detention, preferred to be the class clown and was a persistent refuser to engage in lessons.
“The school didn’t know what to do with him. Unfortunately, the student was later removed from the school due to persistent refusal to engage in lessons. But I thought how can this young man who is clearly intelligent not be able to read and write? I had heard of dyslexia but knew nothing about it.”
This interaction stayed with Amanda, who aspired to become a SENCO or specialist dyslexia tutor but found that her current school couldn’t support this. Therefore, she worked hard over a number of years to complete a range of qualifications and work towards becoming a specialist tutor.
Amanda commented: “I had no qualifications at that point apart from my GCSEs from school. Hence, my road to qualifying to being a dyslexia tutor. I felt determined to reach my goal!”
“It has been a long and expensive road, but I am now proud to say I am qualified to tutor dyslexic students and assess for Access Arrangements. I have plans to provide assessments for Visual Stress by the end of the summer, and by then of next summer, have a licence to diagnose dyslexia and dyscalculia.”
Amanda works closely with many students with Dyslexia and helps them to learn and develop in a way that is accessible to them.
Amanda is constantly learning and developing to benefit her students and uses The Dyslexia Action Learning Programme (DALP), which picks out what it is the dyslexic student is struggling with and creates lessons specific to those difficulties – making learning more accessible.
Amanda added: “In addition, I have qualified to become a service provider for Zing Performance. This is an American based company that caught my attention as the founder’s daughter attempted to take her own life because she couldn’t read and write.
“The Zing Programme focusses on identifying the development of the brain that has been ‘missed’ in normal childhood development stages. It truly is fascinating how his exercise programme can develop new skills and help with reading, and behavioural problems. I loved it so much I wanted to provide the services myself!”
Before setting up her business, Amanda approached the Business Start Up team at St Helens Chamber through the “How to Start a Business” event and accessed a range of support to get her business idea off the ground.
Amanda commented: “I wanted to start my own business for the earning potential and to be able to be in charge of my own destiny. A teaching assistant earns very low wages and has zero responsibilities, and this was the opposite of what I wanted. I had very little opportunity for growth in my position.
St Helens Chamber’s Business Start Up programme provides a range of support including one to one mentoring, access to free short training courses, help to access funding and much more.
The start-up team help people to make their business dream a reality and can also help them to grow their business after the initial start-up stages supporting them through their first three years.
Amanda added: “The big vision for my business is to have everything dyslexia-related under one roof.
“Working with The Chamber has given me that confidence to not only talk about my ideas, but they are slowly being put into practice now, and the future is very exciting. I can’t wait to be able to be able to hand in my resignation because the waiting list is so long I’ll need to work full time in my own offices! But honestly, I would not have believed it was possible without the support from St Helens Chamber!”
To find out more about St Helens Chamber’s Start Up support call 01744 742089 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Amanda’s Business The Dyslexic Word Bank visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheDyslexicWordBank