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4.5 Other Considerations

"An unwavering commitment to the intrinsic value of a child with dyslexia is essential. … Parents (and teachers, too) of children with reading problems should make their number one goal the preservation of their child’s self-esteem."

— Sally Shaywitz, M.D., in Overcoming Dyslexia


Students with dyslexia face social and emotional challenges in addition to academic challenges. They are reported to have anxiety, depression, and other social, emotional and mental health conditions on the order of two to five times greater than their peers (Wilson et al., 2009).


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The Fairfax County Public Schools’ article Social Emotional Impacts of Dyslexia offers some suggestions and tips about helping students feel confident and successful.


The IDA also has helpful resources that address the social and emotional connection with dyslexia. The following excerpt regarding self-image is taken from IDA’s free, downloadable publication Dyslexia in the Classroom: What Every Teacher Needs to Know:

Dyslexia can also affect a person’s self-image. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling “dumb” and less capable than they actually are. After experiencing a great deal of stress due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged about continuing in school.

If children succeed in school, they will develop positive feelings about themselves and believe that they can succeed in life. If children meet failure and frustration, they learn that they are inferior to others, and that their effort makes very little difference. Instead of feeling powerful and productive, they learn that their environment controls them. They feel powerless and incompetent.

 Researchers have learned that when typical learners succeed, they credit their own efforts for their success. When they fail, they tell themselves to try harder. However, when learners with dyslexia succeed, they are likely to attribute their success to luck. When they fail, they simply see themselves as stupid.

Research also suggests that these feelings of inferiority develop by the age of 10. After this age, it becomes extremely difficult to help the child develop a positive self-image. This is a powerful argument for early intervention.

Resources available through the IDA also address topics such as depression, stress, and anxiety. Among these resources is the IDA fact sheet titled The Dyslexia-Stress-Anxiety Connection.

More Information

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Computer-Based Information

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recently published an informative article titled “Structured Literacy and Typical Literacy Practices: Understanding Differences to Create Instructional Opportunities,” by Louise Spear-Swerling.

The National Center for Improving Literacy Resource Repository has an extensive online resource of recommended websites, downloads, and videos.

The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity (YCDC) offers a variety of helpful information about accommodations and assistive technology on the YCDC Accommodations webpage.

Understood offers a range of information regarding accommodations and assistive technology in the online article titled “Know.” It also has a checklist of “What to Consider When Looking at Assistive Technology”.

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has a comprehensive fact sheet titled Accommodating Students with Dyslexia in All Classrooms, which was prepared by Cecil Mercer, Ed.D., a professor at the University of Florida. The fact sheet is available on the Massachusetts IDA webpage.

Tufts University Center for Reading and Language Research, Articles and Resources webpage offers online access to a number of articles and resources including Naming Speed Deficits: Frequently Asked Questions.

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View Video

Reading Rockets and the National Center for Improving Literacy have produced an extended video interview in 13 brief segments with Dr. Nadine Gaab, a research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, who discusses a range of topics, including early screening for reading risk and the paradox of dyslexia. The video “What is the dyslexia paradox?” is available on the Reading Rockets website.

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Books and Print Information

Essentials of Assessing, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties (2015), David Kilpatrick

Explicit Instruction (2011), Anita Archer and Charles Hughes 

Handbook of Language and Literacy: Development and Disorders (2014), Stone, Stillman, Erhen and Wallach, editors

Language at the Speed of Sight (2017), Mark Seidenberg

Overcoming Dyslexia (2004), Sally Shaywitz, M.D. 

Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, Third Edition (2011), Judith Birsh, editor

Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding and Spelling Instruction, Second Edition (2010), Marcia Henry