Back to School Anxiety and the Student with Dyslexia


Summer vacation is coming to a close for many of our students. With the start of a new school year comes a possible hectic morning routine, new classroom expectations, and sometimes even new friendships. Some changes can be met with acceptance and excitement. Other times, it can cause anticipation, anxiety, and dread.

How can you help support your student identified with dyslexia during a transitional period such as back to school? Read on to find out more.

Be the Sounding Board

Meet your student’s concerns head-on. Let them know that a new school year is about to begin. Ask them to discuss what their possible concerns are. Is it dealing with a new teacher and procedures, academics, or students in the classroom? Allow them to discuss their concerns and as the listening adult, don’t trivialize their apprehension, but acknowledge their feelings. Help the student to find ways to talk through the problem.

Mistakes Are Normal and Important

Remind the student that the problem is usually temporary. Frustration can cause students to place too much emphasis on the completion of a task. Parents and teachers should remind their students that frustrations usually pass. Remaining positive is key to overcoming possible difficulties. Let your student know it’s normal to feel frustrated from extensive homework, reading, or spelling assignments. It’s okay to make mistakes, and as we know, everyone progresses through their academics differently. Mistakes are a way that we learn.

Accommodations vs. Modifications

Allow your student to talk through fears and concerns. Support them as they progress through the new school year.


Confidence is Key

Third, support the student by building up their confidence. Have your student do something they’re good at so they can feel more capable and confident again. This may be a task or activity they have a passion for. Ideas could include music, video gaming, Lego set construction, or art. The sky’s the limit!

Plan on Planning

Lastly, a student identified with dyslexia thrives on routine. Make sure there are alarms set for the school morning. Be sure the student has eaten breakfast and is well-organized with needed materials to complete the school day as successfully as possible. While at school, make sure the student has a planner, so they can jot down homework that needs completion and understand the classes and times they occur. Be sure to foster a parent/teacher relationship and stay on top of any accommodations and modifications that may be included as part of the student’s IEP.


Back-to-school can be an exciting time for many. However, for our students with dyslexia, the uncertainty of situations and expectations can be overwhelming. Allow your student to talk through fears and concerns. Support them as they progress through the new school year. You’ll find that over time, new starts will become less anxiety-provoking and more thrilling if these are provided with consistency.

Aimee Rodenroth

Aimee Rodenroth

Aimee Rodenroth is the Subject Matter Expert on Dyslexia for Amplio. She has 30 years of experience in public education in Texas, 27 of those years were spent in some form of dyslexia education. She received her CALT (Certified Academic Language Therapist) certification in 2006 from LEAD, and later obtained her QI (Qualified Instructor) certification in 2018 from Southern Methodist University. Aimee is trained in multiple dyslexia curricula.

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