A 10-year-old Brackley school boy with learning difficulties has set up a charity to help those less fortunate than himself.
Last week Joseph Macintosh – a year six pupil at Winchester House School in High Street – led an assembly to explain what he was doing as fellow pupils made donations in support of his Beat Dys charity in return for wearing their own clothes.
Beat Dys is a new charity for children with specific learning difficulties – including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Joseph, who wrote a business plan and website with a little help from his parents, is still counting last week’s fundraising but thinks the final count will top £500. Father Jon said: “At age four or five he was just a disaster at school, he couldn’t sit still, was really disruptive and just would not do as he was told, he was quite impulsive.
“His headteacher at the time said we should get him checked out for various learning difficulties.
“We were lucky, we had medical insurance, you can rack up a lot money on all those experts.
“He had occupational therapy for dyspraxia and dysgraphia and that totally nailed it.
“He also saw a professor who put him on medication to help with his attention deficit.
“It had a revolutionary effect on his school work.
“It went from being no point in him turning up, to getting a scholarship to Winchester House.
“When we were looking for secondary schools he said, ‘I’m lucky. If it wasn’t for the fact I could go around seeing these doctors, I wouldn’t be looking at these schools.
“It was one of those moments that just come from nowhere.
“So with a little help from me he wrote a business plan”
In an email to the Advertiser Joseph said: “I was inspired to set up Beat Dys because I realised how lucky I was and how much money it cost my parents to get diagnosis and treatment for my learning difficulties.
“This helped me to do well at school because work stopped feeling so hard – and lots of people with learning difficulties never get that.”
“Helping people sort out their learning difficulties is a big deal because if you don’t, life can be a real struggle.”
Winchester House headteacher Mark Seymour is a trustee for the charity.
He said: “This is an extraordinary example of initiative and leadership in one so young that has been whole-heartedly embraced by the whole school community”
Beat Dys has been registered as a UK Small Charity.
Despite being in its infancy, further details of its work and aims can be found at www.beatdys.wordpress.com