Maintaining Self Esteem

Schools and other institutions are good at dealing with the educational impacts of dyslexia. However, what is often forgotten is the emotional impact dyslexia can have on a person.

Unfortunately schools can often be poor at supporting children emotionally and difficulties caused by dyslexia can have an impact on a child's self esteem. Children inevitably compare themselves with their peers and wonder why they can't do the things their friends are doing. They may wonder why seemingly simple tasks that their friends master with ease, are so difficult for them. Failure in tests, or poor marks at school can lead children to think they are "thick or stupid". Thus it is crucial that parents work hard to assist their children to develop and maintain good self esteem.

Positive Reinforcement
It is important to praise your dyslexic child when they succeed and to let them know when they have done well. Constant praise and positive reinforcement is important in building self esteem. Children need to be encouraged to keep trying in a positive manner and a child is far more likely to keep trying at tasks they are struggling with if they know they will receive praise and encouragement. It is important to realise the positive impact that praise and reinforcement can have.

Extra-curricular Activities
If a child is continually struggling or failing at school, an extra-curricular activity that they enjoy can be a good way to develop self esteem. Things like sport, art classes, or some other type of hobby can have a very positive effect. Physical activities like football, karate or gymnastics can also help coordination, release frustration, and allow children to develop confidence in their own abilities. Regardless of what it is, some form of activity away from school that a child can enjoy and succeed at can be very beneficial.

Be Realistic
Often parents put pressure on their children to do things which are perhaps unrealistic. Parents always want the best for their children and this might lead them to put pressure on their children to succeed. This is not necessarily a bad thing but for dyslexic children sometimes this pressure can become overwhelming. For example, a dyslexic person may never want to read for pleasure because reading is so unpleasant for them. So a parental expectation that a child will develop the skills to read for pleasure may be unrealistic. Thus it is important for parents to put the right type of pressure on their children so that they develop the skills they need to function effectively in society. But by the same token parents need to be realistic about what their dyslexic child can reasonably achieve.