Developing Coping Strategies

All dyslexics develop coping strategies to help them deal with difficulties caused by their dyslexia. However, these coping strategies can be either positive or negative in nature. Parents can assist their children to cope with their dyslexia by helping them to develop positive coping strategies and avoid developing negative coping strategies.

Positive Coping Strategies
A positive coping strategy is one which compensates for difficulties of a dyslexic nature in a way which is going to be beneficial for an individual. This means that the coping strategy is going to help them to deal with issues, keep up with their non-dyslexic peers, help maintain and develop self-esteem, and react positively to adversity. Parents can help their children to develop positive coping strategies by providing praise and positive reinforcement when children use these types of strategies. Some examples of positive coping strategies are:

  • Working harder or smarter
  • Getting organised
  • Having a positive attitude towards new challenges
  • Compensating for dyslexic difficulties through the use of appropriate technology (click here for some examples)

Negative Coping Strategies
It is important for parents to try to help their children to avoid developing negative strategies. Negative coping strategies are those which do not assist a dyslexic to deal with difficulties and may in fact make those difficulties worse. Often when children get discouraged they may opt to take the easy negative option and this behaviour can become entrenched over time. Many adult dyslexics with difficulties have them because of negative coping strategies developed as children. Parents can assist their children to avoid negative coping strategies by discouraging them when they notice such behaviour. However it is important that this is combined with positive reinforcement of positive coping strategies. Some examples of negative coping strategies are:

  • Avoidance of problems and difficulties (often leading them to appear devious)
  • Assumption of failure before they begin
  • Development of very poor self esteem
  • Apportioning of blame on other people
  • Saying they understand when they don't really
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Lying