How to help your dyslexic child build self-esteem

Little Boys Assembling Toys Pieces

A guide to helping your dyslexic child boost their levels of self-esteem.

As a parent of a dyslexic child, coming to terms with and gaining a full understanding of the condition is crucial in order to successfully support your child’s development – both socially and academically.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that primarily affects the way in which an individual reads and spells words. The degree of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe. However, the condition only affects some abilities and skills, and is not related to a person’s general level of intelligence.

According to the NHS, one in every ten people in the UK have dyslexia to some degree, with symptoms including particular difficulty with verbal memory and processing speed, phonological awareness, and rapid serial naming.

When you enrol your youngster in school, be it a mainstream or special institution, you may begin to notice differences in their behaviour, mood and attitude. If your child attends an inclusive school, it’s likely they will start to become more aware of their typically-developing peers, which will make their dyslexia appear more apparent.

As a result, they may start to feel self-conscious, which will create a knock-on effect on their levels of self-esteem. Because you can’t accompany your child in the classroom or playground, it is your role as a parent to look out for any unusual behaviour at home. For example, your child might become less talkative, seem unhappy or be less willing to partake in activities that they previously enjoyed.

You may consider taking your offspring to see a therapist and although that could be the best option, there are a number of ways in which you too can contribute towards improving their levels of self-esteem.

Why not follow some of these tips?

Firstly, make sure you have a solid relationship with your child’s teachers and other members of staff who they interact with. It may not always be obvious at home if your youngster is struggling socially, but speaking to their school may bring any issues to light.

For example, your child’s teacher could inform you that they are shying away from group discussions or have a tendency to sit alone in the playground or dining room. Having an awareness of this will set you off on the right foot to take appropriate intervention.

It may also be a good idea to speak to other parents of children in your child’s class and organise a play-date. Knowing how to initiate and maintain relationships with peers is crucial in child development, with or without a learning difficulty. Regular play-dates or enrolling your youngster in an after-school club will help them to gain confidence, which in turn will boost their self-esteem.

Give your child a chance to contribute to family discussions, chores or planning an activity. With this given sense of responsibility, it’s likely they won’t want to disappoint you and so will strive to carry out any task to the best of their ability. It is your role to acknowledge what they have achieved – no matter how big or small – and provide praise.

But a child’s ego isn’t only affected socially – academic skills can play a part too.

Some dyslexics have a short attention span, which can cause them to fall behind in particular subjects in school. Having difficulty with homework could create frustration and feelings of failure, which can be harmful to a child’s ego.

When your young one receives homework, take some time to sit and work through it with them. If they struggle to read or spell a word, explain it and provide positive reinforcement when they get something right. This will contribute towards increasing their self-esteem and will give them the encouragement to work independently or a willingness to approach more challenging tasks.

Using assistive technologies that are specially designed for children with dyslexia can prove useful as an additional support tool. These work to boost a child’s academic skills in a range of subjects, including maths and English.

A child’s self-esteem will be a strong determiner of their success and happiness throughout life, with children with dyslexia more vulnerable than those without the condition. Creating an effective and meaningful support system together with other family members, teachers, friends and caregivers, will contribute to your child’s long-term wellbeing.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/IPGGutenbergUKLtd)

How to help your dyslexic child build self-esteem

A guide to helping your dyslexic child boost their levels of self-esteem.

As a parent of a dyslexic child, coming to terms with and gaining a full understanding of the condition is crucial in order to successfully support your child’s development – both socially and academically.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that primarily affects the way in which an individual reads and spells words. The degree of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe. However, the condition only affects some abilities and skills, and is not related to a person’s general level of intelligence.

Little Boys Assembling Toys Pieces

According to the NHS, one in every ten people in the UK have dyslexia to some degree, with symptoms including particular difficulty with verbal memory and processing speed, phonological awareness, and rapid serial naming.

When you enrol your youngster in school, be it a mainstream or special institution, you may begin to notice differences in their behaviour, mood and attitude. If your child attends an inclusive school, it’s likely they will start to become more aware of their typically-developing peers, which will make their dyslexia appear more apparent.

As a result, they may start to feel self-conscious, which will create a knock-on effect on their levels of self-esteem. Because you can’t accompany your child in the classroom or playground, it is your role as a parent to look out for any unusual behaviour at home. For example, your child might become less talkative, seem unhappy or be less willing to partake in activities that they previously enjoyed.

You may consider taking your offspring to see a therapist and although that could be the best option, there are a number of ways in which you too can contribute towards improving their levels of self-esteem.

Why not follow some of these tips?

Firstly, make sure you have a solid relationship with your child’s teachers and other members of staff who they interact with. It may not always be obvious at home if your youngster is struggling socially, but speaking to their school may bring any issues to light.

For example, your child’s teacher could inform you that they are shying away from group discussions or have a tendency to sit alone in the playground or dining room. Having an awareness of this will set you off on the right foot to take appropriate intervention.

It may also be a good idea to speak to other parents of children in your child’s class and organise a play-date. Knowing how to initiate and maintain relationships with peers is crucial in child development, with or without a learning difficulty. Regular play-dates or enrolling your youngster in an after-school club will help them to gain confidence, which in turn will boost their self-esteem.

Give your child a chance to contribute to family discussions, chores or planning an activity. With this given sense of responsibility, it’s likely they won’t want to disappoint you and so will strive to carry out any task to the best of their ability. It is your role to acknowledge what they have achieved – no matter how big or small – and provide praise.

But a child’s ego isn’t only affected socially – academic skills can play a part too.

Some dyslexics have a short attention span, which can cause them to fall behind in particular subjects in school. Having difficulty with homework could create frustration and feelings of failure, which can be harmful to a child’s ego.

When your young one receives homework, take some time to sit and work through it with them. If they struggle to read or spell a word, explain it and provide positive reinforcement when they get something right. This will contribute towards increasing their self-esteem and will give them the encouragement to work independently or a willingness to approach more challenging tasks.

Using assistive technologies that are specially designed for children with dyslexia can prove useful as an additional support tool. These work to boost a child’s academic skills in a range of subjects, including maths and English.

A child’s self-esteem will be a strong determiner of their success and happiness throughout life, with children with dyslexia more vulnerable than those without the condition. Creating an effective and meaningful support system together with other family members, teachers, friends and caregivers, will contribute to your child’s long-term wellbeing.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/IPGGutenbergUKLtd)

Haverhill optician helping dyslexic children

dyslexic-childrenAn optician in Haverhill is helping to raise awareness of dyslexia.

With Dyslexia Awareness Week taking placefrom November 3rd to 9th, an optician in Haverhill is partaking in a seven-day event to show support to those with the condition.

Wardale Williams optician practice on Camps Road will be providing locals with useful information and advice in a bid to raise awareness of dyslexia, the Haverhill Echo reports.

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the way people read and spell words. According to the NHS, one in every ten people in the UK have a certain degree of dyslexia.

This year, the awareness week theme is Dyslexia Matters, with a focus on encouraging and helping those who have the learning difficulty.

During the seven-day event, Wardale Williams will be offering patients a free coloured overlays assessment and showcasing the new intuitive colorimeter – both of which can determine the specific colour that will help dyslexic people to significantly improve their reading skills.

Joanna Williams, senior optometrist at Wardale Williams, said: “Many people with dyslexia find reading difficult because they experience peculiar visual symptoms when looking at a printed page – words may move, blur in and out of focus or run into each other.

“However, for some people with dyslexia these symptoms can be reduced by the use of carefully applied colour and are treated by using either coloured overlays on text, or by wearing specially tinted glasses.”

But despite colorimetry having the potential to enhance the reading skills, learning ability and future prospects of some dyslexic people, the method can be less beneficial for children.

When youngsters with dyslexia experience strange visual symptoms on a printed page, they often don’t complain because they believe that what they see is normal. Subsequently, this can lead to them performing poorly in school, which will affect their ability to progress.

Therefore, if you think your child may have dyslexia, it’s worth speaking to their school to arrange an assessment.
There are many ways schools and parents can support a dyslexic child, including using assistive technologies. For example, the Nessy Learning Programme is a digital software tool comprising a series of interactive games and activities designed to boost the reading and writing skills of children with learning difficulties.

(Credit image: Thinkstock)

Brain structure could be different in dyslexic children

T476983311 (1)he brain structure of a dyslexic child could be different to that of a youngster without the condition.

The structural connectivity of a dyslexic child’s brain could be different to that of a typically developed child, a new study has suggested.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in the reading and spelling of words. This includes struggling to recognise and decode words, and problems with comprehension. According to the NHS, an estimated one in ten people have dyslexia to some degree, with the condition affecting individuals from all walks of life.

Over the years, scientists have conducted copious amounts of research into discovering the exact cause of dyslexia. Specialist brain scans, in particular functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, have shed light onto reduced functioning of an area near the back of the brain called the occipito-temporal cortex.

However, little research has been performed on the sub-cortical brain regions that involve processes such as short and long-term memory, decision making and emotional reactions – all of which are affected in someone with dyslexia.

Researchers at Vanderbilt Peabody College in the US set out to examine the structural differences in the brain connectivity of 20 children with developmental dyslexia, compared to 20 typically developing readers. All participants were aged between eight and 17.

Focusing on the sub-cortical thalamus brain region, they used a specialised neuroimaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which works by visually mapping the structure of the brain.

The thalamus plays an important role in the brain and has multiple functions: it processes and relays sensory and motor information to different subcortical regions via nerve fibres that make up part of the brain’s white matter; and also regulates states of sleep and wakefulness, including arousal and the level of awareness.

It was hoped that the DTI method would produce a clearer picture of the thalamus and enable the researchers to gain a better understanding of its role in reading behaviour.

The results showed that in the dyslexic group, a different pattern of thalamic connectivity was found in their sensorimotor and lateral prefrontal cortices – in comparison to these brain regions in the typically developing group.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Laurie Cutting said: “These results suggest that the thalamus may play a key role in reading behaviour by mediating the functions of task-specific cortical regions.

“Such findings lay the foundation for future studies to investigate further neurobiological anomalies in the development of thalamo-cortical connectivity in individuals with dyslexia.”

In a related study, the scientists decided to investigate the structural connectivity patterns in the left occipito-temporal region of the brain, which is important for reading.

Although past research has shown this area to have reduced functioning in people with dyslexia, few studies have focused on its visual word form functionalities.

The team set out to do so by performing diffusion MRI on the occipito-temporal region and surrounding area in 55 dyslexic and typically developing children.

Again, the brain structure differed between the two groups; those with dyslexia displayed greater connectivity to the regions involved with memory and vision, while the typically developing readers displayed increased connectivity to linguistic regions.

These studies reinforce the need to provide dyslexic children with additional help and support – both in school and at home.
One way in which teachers and parents can do so is by making use of assistive technologies. These digital software programs are interactive learning tools designed for people with learning difficulties. They involve a series of games and activities, which are a fun way of enhancing a child’s literacy and numeracy skills.