Children with dyslexia face daily battles to just try to keep up with their peers. For some, it can become a little too much. Children's anxiety linked to dyslexia is a real concern, and one which we must learn more about.
Almost a staggering 29% of children with dyslexia face anxiety issues. This is not surprising, when you take into account the causes or triggers - reading aloud in class, taking notes, copying down spellings accurately, writing that story or book report, to name but a few. In most cases, the anxious feelings are in the present moment and will pass, but some children develop a real fear of tackling these and many other tasks in the future and worry almost constantly - the 'what ifs' quickly escalate and so does the stress.
Many children with dyslexia have a poor self-image. Even though they can be as bright as their peers, they believe that they 'can't do it because something is 'wrong' with them...and some just stop trying. The fear of failure just becomes too great a risk and the effort is just not worth it, in their eyes. So why bother?
How You Can Help
If you have a concern about your child's reading ability, talk to their teacher. It may or may not be dyslexia, but it is always a good idea to highlight your concerns with the teacher, who will also be able to look out for signs. Click here for Understood.org's Checklist of Signs of Dyslexia at Different Ages.
Explain dyslexia to your child. Help them to understand that they just have a different way of learning than most other people. They can still get there, but just need a different route, or indeed a different map! They will learn best through a multisensory approach.
Remember that assistive technologies are readily available to your child. If he needs to plan a piece of writing, why not record it, or use speech-to-text apps to help? If she has to do a presentation, can she use video instead of handing in a written report? Audio books are also widely available, so if the class reading book is available in this format, help to ease the burden by allowing them to listen or read along.
Find their strengths and let them shine. It may be music or sport, or perhaps art in which your child excels. It is very important for their self esteem to find 'their thing' and feel the emotions of success. This helps to cement the belief that they are not 'a failure' just because they struggle with reading or writing. Discovering a little bit of confidence can work wonders for self esteem.
The more support your child has, the less anxious they will feel about work. Help them by providing this support, so they can see that they have support both in and out of school. And be patient!
Emerald Education Centre provides in-centre lessons and online Maths and English tuition, and help many children with SLDs such as Dyslexia. We can carry out Dyslexia Screening, both at the centre or online. Contact Elaine Lingard on 0838 550210 for more details, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.