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How Does the Dyslexic Child Feel?

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When a child is diagnosed as having a special learning difficulty, such as dyslexia is a worrying time for parents; what can we do to help our child? What can the teachers do to ensure our child succeeds in school?  We ask a lot of questions; but, one of the most important questions we often overlook is to that concerning the child.  When a child learns that they have a special learning difficulty, it is extremely difficult for them and they can often experience social and emotional stress.

Here, we discuss with DAS expert, Priscillia Shen, two issues, (1) How does the Dyslexic child feel and (2) How can parents/guardians and teachers help the Dyslexic child overcome their stresses?

How does the Dyslexic child feel?

Priscillia confirms to us (that) “Dyslexic children often experience social and emotional stress because of their difficulties in reading, spelling and writing.  This is especially so for those who constantly experience academic failures in school and are unable to achieve their true potential”.

Priscillia tells us (that) “Very often, dyslexic children suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence in their own capabilities.  When this occurs, the dyslexic child may either withdraw from others and make little or no friends, or externalise their frustrations by displaying physical or verbal aggression. As a result, some may become easy targets for bullying in school or develop learned helplessness and refuse to take on new challenges to avoid possible failures”.

Of course, as parents / guardians / caregivers of a dyslexic child, we want to make our child feel better about themselves and we want to allow them to see that they can cope with this special learning difficultly…

How can parents/guardians and teachers help the Dyslexic child overcome their stresses?

If parents and teachers are aware of dyslexia and its symptoms, they can be more sensitive towards the child’s feelings and avoid situations which may cause embarrassment to him or her.

Priscillia advises us that, “for example, dyslexic children can be asked to read aloud with a reading buddy rather than alone in class, and teachers can provide bite-sized instructions for them to follow sequentially and keep up with their peers.

By following some simple steps and showing a more sensitive approach and with a better understanding of their difficulties, academic expectations can be altered so that dyslexic children can attain more realistic goals in class or perform better by using alternatives to the conventional paper-and-pen method to express their understanding of lessons.

Finally, Priscillia tells us that “to help dyslexic children gain greater confidence and assurance of their learning, parents and educators should focus on the process rather than the end results. Offering praises and words of encouragement to dyslexic children for their efforts can motivate them and help them overcome their feelings of fear and anxiety. For example, rather than only praising dyslexic children after they have solved a problem, giving praises such as “you have done well trying to solve this problem on your own” will encourage dyslexic children to work harder.

Thank you to DAS expert Priscillia Shen for assisting BubbaMama with this article.

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Priscillia Shen has a Bachelor of Arts (Merit) in Psychology from the National University of Singapore, and a Master of Arts (Distinction) in Specific Learning Differences from London Metropolitan University. She was trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach and has worked as an Educational Therapist at DAS. She is also a qualified trainer with the Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) by the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ). Her journal article can be found here: Priscillia Shen journal article

UNITE SPLD is a conference organised by DAS and is open for anyone interested to learn more about this special learning difficulty. Please click HERE to see how you can sign up to attend.

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