PEOPLE: Rhea Dalrymple
Rhea Dalrymple has a passion for children, especially those who sometimes “just don’t get it.”
It was this love, and fortified with a bachelor’s in psychology and a Masters in educational psychology that the 26-year-old opened The Rainbow Psychological and Educational Centre in July last year. The company provides specialised educational services to “special needs” children between three and 11.
“I have always wanted to be a psychologist, and not just a psychologist who diagnoses and makes recommendations, but one who can implement them,” she explained to EASY.
Rhea was initially attracted to special needs through experiences with one of her nephews who developed his speech later than other children.
“I was very intrigued by his speech and language therapy sessions . . . . After completing my bachelor’s in 2008, I worked briefly at a centre which catered to students with or without special needs. I enjoyed it so much that I decided when I finished, I would complete my certificate in special education at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College so I would be able to know how to work with children who had such learning disorders.”
The former Lodge School student added that the business specifically focused on remedial learning and tutoring – using materials made by Rhea.
“I create everything my students use: worksheets, you name it; I do it. It gives it that personalised touch and you are more able to channel the student in the direction that you want them to go, based on their interests.”
Even though her business is young, the determined, self-described “go-getter” has already started to see the advantages to her work. Rhea has recognised the deficiencies in the local educational system and how ventures like hers could fill a gaping void.
“The problem now is that teachers are expressing that they are not able to cater for the students who I work with,” she said candidly. “I have students at the secondary level who are working at the level of a Class 4 student, some below, and they are being failed by our education system. I have students who sit in classrooms and do nothing because their teacher has no idea how to help, even though I’m sure they want to.
“The harsh reality is, the teacher in the classroom does not have the time to work with a student who needs individualised attention and still focus on the others.”
She hoped future growth and expansion will affect greater change.
“In five or ten years I see myself with a PhD in educational psychology, an expanded business catering to the educational needs of all students. I also want to work with the Ministry of Education to assist those who are currently working below age level and need intense intervention, with regards to educational strategies, so they can succeed.” (LW)