Dyslexia and its Emotional Effects

Reading disability is a disorder that arises from a biological predisposition; however, the contribution of emotional and environmental factors is also being investigated. In recent studies on its relationship with emotional factors, it has been found that children who are thought to have reading difficulties in the pre-school period draw a happy and harmonious profile, but when they reach the stage of starting to read, they begin to experience emotional problems and their reading difficulty increases. As the process of learning to read gets harder and more complex, it has been determined that the anger increases and it has been observed that this anger is directed towards classmates. As a result of these researches, besides the biological factors of reading disability, its relations with emotional and environmental factors have been started to be examined.

Why does dyslexia cause anger and the onset of emotional problems?

Anger often begins with frustration with the child’s own abilities. The child cannot perform a skill that he thinks can be done like his peers, and therefore begins to see himself below the level of others. Because there is a bright child who is eager to do many things but cannot read and write in front of his family and teacher. The child begins to hear the phrases “he is a very smart, bright student, he does very well when he wants and can concentrate, but it would be better if he fell a little more on reading”.

Have you ever thought about how difficult it is for a child with dyslexia to hear these things all the time?

Not being able to fulfill other people’s expectations, not being able to achieve their own goals, and an avalanche of anger directed at himself and his surroundings behind these failures… and coping with the most common view of recent times, “the worst thing is to make a mistake”…

We should not forget that children with learning difficulties will make many simple mistakes carelessly and will not want to be criticized.

When all these reasons are examined, it is like a miracle that a child with reading difficulties does not have problems in social relations. Here are other factors that can lead to common social skills problems:

  • Children with learning difficulties may not be physically and socially at the level expected for their age.

  • The social skills problems they experience may lead them to behave inappropriately in some social areas.

  • Children with learning disabilities may have trouble reading the facial expression and emotions of the other person. They may not be able to understand how close they should get to the person in front of them, and what is meant by body language.

  • Since children with learning disabilities are not at the level expected for their age, they may not be able to find the right words when describing an event in their social relations, or they may explain it in a confused order and in a way that is difficult to understand. This can put them at a disadvantage and can quickly become bored and distracted.

What and how does the dyslexic child feel?

Anxiety

Worry is the most expressed emotion. The feeling that I can’t do it and that I will fail again and again often causes the child to worry. The confusion that comes with anxiety and the thought that “I will fail this time,” cause the child to enter a vicious circle, and he will perform well below the level he can achieve by worrying about what he can do. Due to intense anxiety, the child starts to avoid or run away from the given task. Along with this behavior, he continues to draw a “lazy” profile in the eyes of his family or teacher.

Anger

Anger starts to lead to anger after a while and more permanent results occur. The target of resentment is often the school and the teacher. However, this anger is often directed at the parents and is sought to be removed from them. Especially mothers often witness and are exposed to these outbursts of anger. Because in general, when children get very angry at school, they prefer to stay passive, sit in a corner and get angry. However, the home environment is a very conducive and safe environment to vent anger, and the only way to deal with this strong emotion is to expose it, and specifically to the mother. This behavior sometimes leads to frustration on parents. She despairs, thinking that she is pushing her child further away from herself while trying to help; however, it is not possible to say this when looking at the general picture.

Depression

Depression is not a very common condition, but attention should be paid to its symptoms and the child’s behavior changes. Because children with learning difficulties experience feelings of worthlessness and low self-confidence very intensely, and these experiences more easily form the infrastructure needed for depression. Unlike depressed adults, children may not have a lethargic appearance and may not express their sadness very often. While this makes it difficult to detect depression, behavioral disorders to mask depression may also occur. To overcome these feelings, they may try to appear more active and happy. However, it is possible to reach a more precise judgment by looking at the following three features.

  1. Tendency to think and feel negative things about oneself, feelings of worthlessness

  2. A negative view of the world and a negative approach to even good memories -which will negatively affect their enjoyment of an enjoyable activity-

  3. thinking negatively about the future

How can you help as a teacher or parent?

  • Be encouraging and supportive

  • Try to uncover an area where it can be successful

  • Listen to your child’s feelings and try to identify their emotional needs

  • Teach him how to express his feelings, as he will have difficulty expressing his feelings.

  • Glorify his effort rather than his grades and make him feel that the grade is a small indicator but the effort to achieve is much more.

  • Steer clear of your “lazy” “useless” labels when confronted with unexpected behavior or a below-desired scorecard

  • Help them set realistic, attainable and functional goals for themselves

Although learning disability is a disorder caused by biological factors, its psychological effects on children can be easily observed. Let’s not lose sight of the psychological effects of coping with learning difficulties and support them on this difficult path.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO PARENTS ABOUT DYSLEXIA

Families are often the first step in struggling with dyslexia. The biggest helpers of children are mothers and fathers. Because the needs of the child, the areas in which they are successful, the things they like and dislike are the mothers and fathers who feel most sincerely. However, there may be confusion about what to do after the needs are determined, and families may not see themselves as sufficient about how to be helped. In this article, I hope that you will be able to learn about the activities you can do, while providing you with some useful tips that you can apply.

For children who are at the beginning of their struggle with dyslexia, playing alphabet games, creating fun activities related to syllables, encouraging them and making them feel that they are always by their side to improve their reading skills are the first steps to take. Our biggest key will be to repeat the activities done in school or special education. During these trainings, you are expected to have a very active and important role. Because the education your child has received from outside will not be enough for the development of some skills and will need to be repeated very often.

You may be confused about what you need to do at the beginning of the process in order to take an active role. Therefore, you will need the support and guidance of an expert. Well, what could be some suggestions and directions on this subject?

  • Read a book to your child

    • Make time each day to read to your child. Point out the words you read so that she can see it too. In his daily life, try to draw attention to the words he encounters while reading.

  • Highlight sounds in words

    • Play audio games. Try to memorize songs with rhyme and repetition of chorus together. Play games of deriving words from the last sound of the word or hearing a specific letter in the word. Relieve stress by saying letters aloud and in funny ways, and help them understand sounds better.

  • Work on the spelling.

    • Go over new words. Make sure that your child’s attention is caught by separating the words into syllables and letters. For this, use colored pencils, cardboard and words written in large font. Encourage him to do the words he has learned slowly and carefully, not skipping or misspelling letters, and reward his success.

  • Share the joy of reading with your child

    • Choose together the books that both your child and you will enjoy reading, and then comment on these books. Increase your child’s excitement for the book by telling each other about the parts of the book that you find interesting. “I think Alice should have told the Hatter that the letter had arrived there,” he says, making certain passages open to discussion. What do you think about this subject?” Keep interest in the book alive by asking questions such as:

  • Don’t be a homework keeper

    • Avoid disrupting relationships by expecting them to do their homework perfectly, or by fighting with your child when they’re not doing their homework. By creating a healthy and reliable environment, you can make your child do homework more easily and protect your relationships.

The key to helping and supporting your children when dyslexia is enough to tire them out and get them going is to make them feel secure and believe they can succeed. Don’t forget to make jokes and have fun while walking on this road with them.

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