Dyslexia and Mental Health: Emotional affects of dyslexia in children

Earlier this year, I was shocked to discover quite how much dyslexia can affect children’s mental health despite how far dyslexia awareness had come in the last decade. With the help of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA), the government commissioned a report called ‘The Human Cost of Dyslexia” which looked at the detrimental impact that failing to diagnose dyslexia early and inadequate support (educationally and emotionally) has on dyslexic children’s mental health. Questionnaires from over 1300 parents were analysed and combined with other relevant research to produce the report which made future recommendations for dyslexia provision in schools.

Their main findings:

  • Children and young people who have dyslexia and or literacy related difficulties report higher levels of mental health difficulties.
  • A high number of parents in the study reported that their dyslexic children try to hide their struggles, become frustrated and develop anxiety and poor self esteem.
  • 95% of parents feel exhausted and ill-equipped in terms of knowledge and skills to support their children’s dyslexia difficulties at home.
  • Regarding schools, a significant number of parents felt the school did not value or support their dyslexic child adequately. They reported feeling anxious, disempowered and not taken seriously by the school.

This report and its unarguable findings makes certain what many researchers, teachers and parents of dyslexic children have known for decades. With a society so heavily reliant on the written word, those who struggle to acquire and retain the skills necessary to read and write are sadly, likely to experience mental health effects unless proper support is put in place early on.

These findings aren’t just isolated to the UK, Made By Dyslexia commissioned a survey in which they interviewed 8,425 parents, carers and teachers in the UK and in a number of other countries in order to get insight into the provisions made in schools for children with dyslexia across the world. Their findings reflected those of the BDA, showing that changes need to be made internationally.

The report sets out recommendations to improve staff training, to employ specialist teachers in schools, ensure that appropriate pastoral and mental health provision is in place for all dyslexic children and that parents were given sufficient information and support.

Although these long awaited recommendations are theoretically very appealing and would go along way to ensure dyslexic children are supported academically and emotionally, the shortage of funding in the schools make them, for many, simply unachievable. The recently elected government has said that schools will receive increased finances over the next few years so we shall have to wait and hope.

If you have any concerns about your child’s learning or if they have recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, I can help. Contact me here for a free consultation. I look forward to talking to you.

Author: Zoë Brown

I am a dyslexia specialist, qualified in assessing dyslexia and literacy related difficulties as well as tutoring dyslexic children and those who need additional literacy support. Having been diagnosed as dyslexic at an early age, I have a personal understanding of both the challenges and advantages that dyslexia brings. I feel strongly that when given the right support and positive encouragement, dyslexic people of all ages can excel in confidence and academic attainment.

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