Lydiard Park Academy pupil Joe Matthews, 13, who has struggled for years with Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia is being given his chance to excel by starting an A level course in computer science.
Joe, who spends some of his time in the school’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Unit, has already gained an A grade in BTec information technology.
His mother Sonia de Blaquiere said Joe has always found school difficult. “He was labelled a naughty child until he was diagnosed with Asperger’s aged ten. Things have to have meaning for Joe otherwise he can easily become disinterested and bored. But computers have always fascinated him. He used to help his primary school teachers with IT problems and last summer built his own computer from scratch.
“Lydiard Park Academy have been very supportive and Joe is part of the gifted and talented programme which means he can be mentored to achieve at the highest level.”
Lydiard Park IT teacher Dermot McLaughlin said: “He has exceptional ability and completed the BTec with a distinction in a quarter of the time other pupils took. Even though he’s in Year 8 Joe is our first pupil to pursue an A level in computer science; he attends Year 10 classes and has a weekly one to one lesson with me. Joe keeps me on my toes by pushing me to produce new work modules.
“Other gifted pupils have seen Joe’s success and he’s inspiring them to be challenged.”
To give Joe a practical aspect to his IT studies he spends two hours a week on work experience at Manor Solutions.
He said: “I’m enjoying school a lot more and see my future in repairing computers and coming up with answers to IT problems.”
Pictured: Joe with IT teacher Dermot McLaughlin