Article by A. Sargeant:
UNLOCKING THE GIFT OF READING & COMPREHENSION
How one Engineer went from an Anxious Reader to PhD
When Andrew contacted Barbara Hoi of Sydney Dyslexia to help him with his reading, he had no idea where this course would take him. Being dyslexic while studying to be an engineer, Andrew was no stranger to hard work in order to achieve his goals. But even he couldn’t imagine that unlocking his reading potential would lead him to completing his PhD, winning a Global Innovation Award and working in Silicon Valley.
Andrew Babakian is a principal engineer, specialising in networking and security for a major software company in Palo Alto. In preparation to work with Barbara Hoi, Andrew admitted to Barbara that he felt nervous and petrified the week prior to working together, knowing he’d be spending concentrated time looking at words, reading and dealing with comprehension. Andrew realised though that he could no longer ignore his need for solid tools to help him with literacy and numeracy which were causing him so much overwhelm and anxiety.
Working with Barbara, Andrew discovered how to break his old thinking habits and get into a place of receptiveness in order to increase his concentration and ability to learn. Using Barbara’s unique learning system, Andrew found that words and sentences became real and alive which helped with his comprehension. He was able to read and understand exactly what he read and repeat it back with incredible clarity. Andrew explains to Barbara “It’s like you put a key in my head and you turned it for the first time and I can read in the end”.
With an arsenal of tools to help him move forward, Andrew took his newfound confidence, reading and comprehension skills and became unstoppable. Andrew then went on to do his PhD in Engineering and reached another career milestone when he won a prestigious global award for an invention that is now being used by organizations around the world.
Andrew leaves us with this wonderful piece of advice that he would give his 11-year-old-self and anyone who is currently struggling with school: “It’s okay, you’re amazing at what you do. You’ve got an extremely unique learning ability. And you’re going to spend the next couple of years understanding how that works, and then harness it, and use it to your strengths and advantages, because you’re going to be the best at what you do”.
Today, Andrew uses techniques he learned with Barbara, to explain complicated cybersecurity concepts in his work as an engineer for the technology company he works for in Silicon Valley. What next for Andrew Babakian? In his words: “If I focus on what I enjoy all the time, a new door opens. After the PhD, I couldn’t imagine what would be there, but I imagine it’ll be another door.”
Recognizing the power of her dyslexia program, Barbara Hoi has honed her remarkable course into The One Year School. A year long online program to improve literacy and numeracy using a holistic approach that brings quick results in a supportive environment.
Andrew Babakian endorses this program with his closing thoughts: “It’s a method that’s going to help everyone, dyslexic or not”.