Mike Jones believes he would have left school illiterate if not for the tenacity and ingenuity of his maths teacher mum.
At 9 years of age he could not even spell his own name and became so disruptive at school he was kicked out.
He appeared bright but it seemed he couldn't learn.
His mother home-schooled Mike and took a different approach using clever strategies and games.
He returned to school, went to the top of his class and graduated from university with a law degree.
As it turned out, Mike had dyslexia.
Pat Jones travelled to the US to retrain as a specialist teacher to support Mike and eventually set up a learning centre at Bristol in the UK.
Her son, so moved by the plight of parents in tears about their children's learning, was to eventually follow in his mother's footsteps.
He set out to develop a program that could reach as many children with dyslexia as possible, no matter where they were.
On Monday Mr Jones, founder of global online learning platform Nessy, was on the Border with his reading specialist wife Tiffany James as part of a visit to Australia to deliver $100,000 in literacy support programs to 15 Victorian schools.
Wodonga's Belvoir Special School and Tawonga Primary School were successful in applying for a 12-month online phonics literacy program form Nessy.
Mr Jones said children with dyslexia or other learning challenges often felt "stupid" and suffered with low self-esteem.
Together with Ms James, he said they felt compelled to offer support to children and schools where access to specialists or resources might be limited.
Ms James said they were impressed by the volunteering efforts being made in Australia to change literacy rates.
The parent-driven members of the Albury-Wodonga Dyslexia Support Group were evidence of that.
"We are so impressed by the schools in Australia," Ms James said.
"To change literacy rates we need a volunteering effort, we need change at a political level and we need teaching staff open to changing the way they deliver learning outcomes.
"But we have changed our approach; we want to connect from a bottoms-up approach - we are connecting with pro-active parent groups and some of the best information is coming from Australia."
Belvoir Special School literacy specialist Mandy Gay said the donation from Nessy was life-changing for students.
"We can't change the child so we have to change how we present things to them," she said.