Updated: Apr 10
Most people are familiar with the impact Dyslexia can have on a child’s learning. However, Dyslexia can also affect a child’s self-esteem and confidence as it becomes evident that their academic progress is behind their peers.
Parents can help promote confidence and build self-esteem in their child with Dyslexia in the following ways.
Early Identification and Diagnosis: The challenges Dyslexia presents can be easier to cope with if children understand why they are struggling with their learning. Parents can look out for some of the indicators of Dyslexia such as difficulty identifying letter names, reluctance to read, poor word recognition and limited understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds. If there are any signs, have your child professionally assessed by a qualified psychologist to see if they would meet a diagnosis for Dyslexia.
Recognize and Build on Strengths: Whilst they may find reading challenging, many children with Dyslexia have other exceptional skills that need to be recognized. Some children may excel at sport, whilst others may be highly creative or demonstrate artistic talent. Parents can help by recognizing their child’s strengths and providing opportunities for them to develop their skills and to build confidence in areas where they perform well.
Additional Support: Whilst nurturing your child’s strengths are important, supporting them in their areas of difficulty, such as reading, writing and spelling, is also essential for building self-confidence. Although it can be challenging, remediating skills is important to help children with Dyslexia learn to read, spell and write effectively. Seeking a trained professional, such as a tutor, to work with your child can help them to develop their skills in areas where difficulty is experienced.
Provide Positive Feedback: Offering positive feedback can promote confidence if it is targeted at the efforts a child puts in towards their learning rather than their results. Children with Dyslexia often progress at a slower pace than their peers and the learning process is considerably more effortful for them than many of their classmates. Focusing on results, such as overall test scores and grades, can be disheartening for children with Dyslexia. Praising your child for the efforts they have put in and for the individual progress they have made can help them build confidence.
Dyslexia Friendly Tools: Giving your child the right books to read is essential. There are Dyslexia friendly books available for older reluctant readers. There are also decodable books for children which can greatly assist struggling readers. Selecting books appropriate to your child’s reading level can bring fewer struggles and tears to the whole experience.
Reading to Your Child: Many parents read to children when they are very young and as they get older this habit can tend to cease. Regularly reading to your child, even when they are older, can make it become an enjoyable habit, maintain their interest in books and also build their vocabulary skills. This could involve reading a book that may be above their current reading ability and is about a topic of interest to them. The aim is to keep reading a fun and enjoyable process for your child as opposed to something they see as boring or challenging.
Butterfly Psychology for Kids conducts psychological and educational assessments that can diagnose Dyslexia in children. Following a diagnosis, the implications are discussed in a parent meeting and professional recommendations are provided for support and remediation.
Source: The Dyslexia Resource (2020); Five Steps to Boost a Young Dyslexic’s Self-Confidence (2016)