Social-Emotional Concerns and the Dyslexia Student


Does your dyslexic student come home from school and yell, or meltdown during family time? Do they become very defiant about the timely completion of class assignments? Do homework sessions become one loud, explosive, dramatic event, one after the other, night after night? As a parent, you may become frustrated and confused. You may wonder if this is common in other dyslexic students. In this blog, we will review areas of social-emotional concerns that could co-occur with students identified with dyslexia, as well as ways to support your student at home and at school.

Social-Emotional Learning, Family Life, and Dyslexia

Individuals with dyslexia are at increased risk of negative outcomes in emotional, social, educational, and even later, in their occupational areas. The behavioral and emotional characteristics associated with dyslexia vary and range in scope because dyslexia is a spectrum disorder that differs in degree in both the severity of impairment (from mild to severe) and the individual’s response to the impairment. According to Jan Hasbrouck, a well-known author, researcher, and leader in the area of dyslexia, adolescents and adults with dyslexia have reported some degree of anger, stress, embarrassment, shame, aggression, guilt, isolation, insecurity, anxiety, low motivation, low self-esteem, and related social problems at one time or another. According to a recent study, adolescents with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, have also been found to be at twice the risk of emotional distress, and this, in turn, can cause long-lasting stress on a person’s life.

Dyslexia can disrupt family life. This can be due to additional educational support that may be needed to educate the dyslexic student, or to the degree of difficulty the dyslexic student experiences during school hours, and then comes home and releases tension and stress upon the family. This could also be due to long marathon homework sessions the dyslexic student could endure in order to keep up with homework/classwork assignments and the frustration that occurs.

And then there’s the guilt. Parents of children with dyslexia have also reported feeling guilt for genetically passing on dyslexia, for having wrongly assumed their child was not trying hard enough, or even guilt over the parent either not recognizing or acting upon the dyslexia identification soon enough.

How To Support Your Dyslexic Student

There are ways you can support your child identified with dyslexia in their social-emotional outcomes.

  • Be transparent regarding their identification. Explain to them what dyslexia is. Explain that it doesn’t change the good traits about them and the things that make them special and unique.
  • Be sure that an appropriate dyslexia intervention is being used. Discuss instructional options with the school counselor, classroom teacher, or dyslexia specialist.
  • Provide them with opportunities to display strengths in other areas. Encourage an athletic child to join a sports team, encourage the artistic student to take art, music, or acting lessons. Whatever their strengths may be, continue to grow and cultivate that area for a self-esteem boost.
  • Demonstrate ways to self-advocate. This is especially helpful as the student grows older and may need additional accommodations/modifications. Teach your child it is ok to ask for help from their teachers. As they grow older, have them attend their 504/ARD meetings to help them navigate further school success.
  • Read books with characters who have dyslexia. Many titles are available through audiobook resources. Some great books to share are:
  • Review and discuss famous people with dyslexia. Some of these people include well-known entertainers, authors, inventors, artists, athletes, and politicians. This list could include, but is not limited to:
  • Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open. You are the person your student will open up to first. Listen to concerns with open ears and an open heart. Help your student work through their anxieties.

Key Take-Aways

  • Dyslexia can disrupt family life and possibly manifest itself in anxiety, depression, guilt, and low motivation in the identified student.
  • Parents can help their dyslexic student by keeping the lines of communication open and making sure the school is providing the best educational support possible. Advocacy between the parent/student and the educational setting is key for creating a successful learning environment.

Closing Thoughts

Reading is a life-long journey for all. Students with dyslexia are usually just as eager to start school as their peers but they can become deeply discouraged as they begin to struggle with reading, writing, and spelling while their classmates excel. Dyslexia can be identified and remediated with effective instruction, by a highly-trained instructor. However, outside of effective instruction, students with dyslexia can develop ongoing bouts of anxiety, depression, doubt, or self-worth, and the nature and degree of these bouts can vary from student to student. Open communication with the parent or educator between the child and the school is crucial to a student’s ongoing success and ultimately can help boost self-worth.

By using the Amplio Special Education Learning Platform, educators can provide evidenced-based practices determined from the science of reading, but also provide the structured literacy, OG-based curricula that are VAKT by design. The curricula contain the components needed for explicit instruction and remediation for students identified with dyslexia. Interested in learning more about Amplio’s Dyslexia Curriculum? Start a conversation with one of our learning experts today.

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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