“There’s just a whole big broad spectrum of things that I didn’t know existed because I kind of hid from them. I made up excuses and lies, to myself, to not move ahead.”
Nathan’s story is one of a life that has taken a very different path since addressing his literacy challenge. What could easily have been a cycle of being at arm’s length from society has instead become an inspiring journey of perseverance and reward. From an early age Nathan struggled with what many would call an unusual problem – small tasks such as filling out forms, writing a birthday card, or comprehending a phone number were all difficult, yet he could read a novel. Not facing up to these issues caused him, in his words, to hide and deny living life.
It wasn’t until undertaking a drug rehabilitation program that Nathan finally sought the help he needed. His first real test was when he needed to get his driver’s licence so he could take his Mum to dialysis treatment three times a week. Applying his newfound skills – and importantly the confidence that came with it – Nathan passed the test, getting every question right along the way. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength, having also obtained his boat licence and now planning to sit for a heavy rigid truck licence.
Even though Nathan has clearly taken a giant leap in his literacy skills, he still looks forward to the weekly, one-on-one lessons with Paula, his literacy tutor. And the benefits of his study have extended far beyond his improved ability to read and write.
“Literacy isn’t just about writing, reading and paper. It means so much more, with every facet of life. …it’s quite amazing to be able to say to someone that I’m more of a person than what I was.”
It’s not just Nathan’s story that’s inspiring. In person, his confidence, calmness and outright pride is a powerful demonstration of the benefits for someone who has turned their life around through literacy.
“I just never expected it to have a snowball effect and affect other facets of my life.”