Theo Paphitis makes an appeal on behalf of bibic (the British Institute for Brain Injured Children), a charity that helps children with a range of developmental problems.
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I'm more used to being in the Dragons' Den,
but today, I've come to my old primary school.
Somewhere I've not been for over 40 years.
I've mixed memories of my time here.
PUPILS: Hello, Theo!
Oh, how good are you!
-Right, see you later.
I had fun here, but school was really tough.
I found it really difficult to keep up with my friends in the classroom.
Reading, writing, spelling - it baffled me, and it was only when I had kids of my own
and they were diagnosed with dyslexia
that I realised it was my issue, too.
Maia also found school difficult.
Spelling was very bad, my handwriting was a big problem.
I'd spend twice as long on work than other students would
and the marking would come back and they would say
"this is nice work, Maia, but you could easily try harder."
And I was trying so, so hard.
She was enormously unhappy, just enormously unhappy
and every day was a struggle to get through that day
or to get her to go into school.
I felt quite inadequate. I felt like I was stupid.
It was a constant battle, which took its toll on everybody.
It's sort of death by small degrees,
it's just small things just constantly, kind of...
When she was 12 years old, Maia was diagnosed with dyslexia.
At that point the question really was,
we're armed with this information now, well, what do we do about it?
My experience of dyslexia has led me to get involved with bibic,
a small charity that works to help children with a range
of developmental problems such as autism, cerebral palsy and dyslexia.
Robert seemed like a perfectly healthy little boy,
but as he grew up, his parents realised he wasn't developing as he should.
Wave hello to Daddy!
He was diagnosed as partially deaf
but there seemed to be other problems.
We started to realise there was something else going on.
He was finding it very difficult to speak, he was finding it difficult
especially to read, to do simple puzzles.
Robert's problems communicating meant he could only express his frustration through violence.
By the time he was 8, he was regularly being excluded from class.
He would hit out at anyone or anything.
He would get really angry with things
and at one point he did make a hole in his wall.
He could not stop touching people, pushing people.
It was just impossible for him.
We were just in this black hole and we couldn't get help.
Conditions that affect a child's brain
can affect not just their schoolwork and learning
but also their social, physical and communication skills.
Bibic offers these children a tailored therapy program,
to be implemented by their families at home,
which aims to tackle all aspects of their condition.
Ben is 10 years old.
He has a number of developmental delays
which have made him lack confidence,
and he is selectively mute.
Rough and scratchy.
When he first came to bibic, he was only able to talk to family
and whisper to a couple of school friends.
I was very worried about him, about his future
and even at the age of seven, he was very concerned himself,
saying "what's going to happen to me? I won't be able to get a job,
"I won't be able to get married and have a family
"if I can't speak to anybody."
And his self-esteem and his self-confidence was just so low.
After an initial assessment his bibic therapist, Jeanette,
recognised his brain had difficulties processing sounds,
including that of his own voice.
Ben, I'd like you to just copy these shapes for me.
Ben also had problems with short-term memory and coordination,
which further dented his confidence.
Under the bibic programme, the child is given exercises and techniques
to take away with them and do at home with their family.
They're designed to stimulate and open new brain pathways.
Nice and strong.
The programme can make life-changing differences to families.
You can have a very different child,
quite unrecognisable in the way they interact with people,
compared to how they were when they first came.
He just seems to be on the up now. His confidence is so much higher.
He goes to a school of 130 pupils and speaks to all of them,
speaks to all the teachers now,
and he's like a totally different boy.
I'm just so proud of him, really.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the bibic programme
is how it can help parents understand their child
and become aware of their frustrations.
For many parents, it can be the turning point,
enabling them to support their child more effectively,
and face the challenges together.
Robert had his first bibic assessment a year ago
and the therapists established that his brain was having
a lot of difficulty processing touch and pain.
His parents were given a set of massaging exercises to do at home.
The massaging was supposed to stimulate all your muscles,
get your body to recognise all the different feelings.
And he now does, for better or worse, he now feels pain.
-Mr Tongue sees an even bigger hole.
The therapy also tackles Robert's difficulty forming words.
He's also talking a lot more.
A dog and a rectangle.
He's starting to read now.
Very small quantities, but he's starting,
we're seeing the progress, again.
I feel like we're starting to enjoy life.
In the space of a year, I guess it's fair to say
that we've got a new son.
After Maia was diagnosed with dyslexia aged 12,
her parents found out about bibic
and went along for their first assessment
I love the place, bibic is brilliant.
It was such a warm welcome.
The therapists suggested that Maia use coloured filters
to help her read, and gave her techniques to boost her memory.
You get this feeling that you're not going to be judged.
You're not going to be thought of as stupid or as lazy.
Maia's come to meet me so I can find out how she's doing now.
I'm dyslexic, and you're absolutely right.
Early on, when nobody realises what your issues are,
it's incredibly, incredibly tough.
Frustrating. I didn't think I was going to finish school.
-Once I'd been through the programme,
I left school with 10 GCSEs, A-stars in them,
I went on to do my A-Levels so I have 3 A-Levels now.
-I'd kind of given up before then, even though I knew
I was dyslexic before I went to bibic.
It was only after I went to bibic
that I felt like it was worth trying, like I was worth trying.
It's changed my life completely.
The bibic programme can help families
unlock their child's full potential.
But to change the lives of more children,
the charity needs your support.
Please go to the website where you can donate.
If you don't have access to the internet,
then call 0800 011 011.
And if you can't get through, please, please, please keep trying.
You can also donate £10 by texting GIVE to 70121.
Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge,
and the whole £10 goes to bibic.
Telephone calls are free from most landlines.
Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.
Or, if you'd like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to bibic
and send it to Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal.
Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,
the charity can collect Gift Aid on your donation, worth another 25%.
Just send in a note to say you want your donation
to be subject to Gift Aid,
and include the date, your full name and address.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Dragon Theo Paphitis makes an appeal on behalf of bibic (the British Institute for Brain Injured Children), a charity that helps children with a range of developmental problems such as autism, cerebral palsy or dyslexia. As a dyslexic himself, Theo found school hard. He goes back to his primary school in North London to revisit his childhood memories and meets 19-year-old Maia, who is also dyslexic, but with the help of the charity has realised her potential and started a successful dance business.