Samuel T. Orton, M.D., was one of the first researchers to describe the emotional aspects of dyslexia (learning disabilities). According to his research, it turned out that most preschool children who were later diagnosed with dyslexia were happy and compatible. Emotional problems begin to develop in these children when their first reading education and learning needs do not match. Children with dyslexia (learning difficulties) experience a great deal of frustration because they lag behind their classmates for years.
Stress and Anxiety
Jerome J. Schultz’s IDA informative note “Dyslexia-Stress-Anxiety Connection” must be read for those who seek guidance in understanding the relationship between dyslexia and emotional and social difficulties, as well as to understand the effects of academic performance and social relationships. Dr. Schultz explains the DE-STRESS model in a step-by-step guide, addressing stress, anxiety and dyslexia (learning difficulty).
Stress and anxiety increase when we have little or no control (for example, in a car driving off the road, falling down stairs, or reading in public). All young and old people can experience great stress and exhibit symptoms of anxiety, but children, adolescents and adults with dyslexia (learning difficulties) are particularly vulnerable. This is because many people do not fully understand the nature of the learning disorder and, as a result, tend to blame themselves for the difficulties they experience. Over the years, self-doubt and self-blame lead to a loss of self-esteem. Consequently, this person will become unable to tolerate the difficulties brought about by school, work or social interactions, and this may cause them to be more stressed and anxious.
Many individuals with dyslexia (learning disabilities) have experienced years of frustration and limited success, despite countless hours spent in special programs or working with experts. Their progress may be painfully slow and frustrating, making them emotionally fragile and vulnerable. Some have been under extreme pressure to succeed (or be the best) without proper support or training. Others have become shy, cautious, and defensive individuals as they are constantly compared to their siblings, classmates or colleagues.
Individuals with dyslexia (learning difficulties) have learned that being with others risks making public mistakes and inevitable negative reactions that may occur. Perhaps that is why many people with dyslexia (learning difficulties) have socially abstract themselves by throwing themselves into the background. (Schultz, 2013, p.2).
Dyslexia (learning disability) can also affect a person’s self-esteem. Students with dyslexia (learning disabilities) often feel “stupid” and think they are less capable than they really are. After experiencing great stress due to academic problems, a student may even stop attending school.
If children are successful at school, they will develop positive feelings about themselves and believe they can be successful in life. When faced with failure and frustration, they think they are less than others and their efforts don’t make much of a difference. Instead of feeling strong and productive, they feel powerless and incompetent when they learn that their environment controls them.
Researchers have learned that those who learn and succeed in a normal way, their own efforts are only directly proportional to their own success. When they fail, they tell themselves to try harder. However, when students with dyslexia are successful, they will attribute their success to luck. When they fail, they just see themselves as stupid.
Researchers have found that when normal learners are successful, they model their own efforts for these achievements. When they fail, they say they have to work harder. On the other hand, when students with dyslexia (learning difficulties) are successful, they tend to attribute their success to luck. When they fail, they only see themselves as stupid.
Research shows that this feeling of inferiority continues until the age of 10. After this age, it is extremely difficult to help the child develop a positive self-esteem, and this is a strong argument for early intervention.
Depression is also a common complication of dyslexia (learning difficulties). Depressed children and adolescents often have different symptoms than depressed adults. It is not possible for a depressed child to be lethargic or to talk about feeling sad. Instead, it may act in more active or wrong ways to cover up painful emotions. In the case of latent depression, the child may not seem obviously unhappy. Children and adults who are depressed have three similar characteristics:
• They tend to have negative thoughts about themselves, ie a negative self-esteem.
• They tend to see the world negatively. They are less and more difficult to enjoy and enjoy the positive experiences in life.
• Most depressed teenagers have great trouble imagining something positive about the future. A dyslexic (learning disability) child who is depressed not only suffers greatly in his present experiences, but continued failure also predicts his life.
So how can you help?
Children will undoubtedly be more successful when the people around them early in their lives have been extremely supportive and encouraging, and when they find an area to succeed. Teachers can create an amazing support system:
• Listening to children’s feelings and thoughts. For children with dyslexia (learning difficulties), anxiety, anger, and depression can be an ongoing condition. However, language problems often make it difficult for them to express their feelings. Therefore, adults should help them learn to talk about their emotions.
• By rewarding not only the “product” but also the effort. For students with dyslexia (learning difficulties), the grades the teacher gives to the student should be less important than their progress and development.
• Do not inadvertently discourage the child with dyslexia (learning difficulties) while resisting unacceptable behavior. Expressions like “lazy” or “no man from this” can seriously damage the child’s self-esteem.
• By helping students set realistic goals for themselves. Most students with dyslexia (learning disabilities) set perfectionist and unattainable goals. Teachers can change the cycle of failure by helping the child set an attainable goal.
Above all, it is critical that school staff, parents and outside professionals constantly communicate with each other to provide the support the child with dyslexia (learning difficulties) needs. In this way, the child can become a happy and successful student and ultimately a happy and successful adult.