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Friday, 12 Jul 2019

The 3 Simple Steps That Will Help Dyslexic Students Feel More Empowered

By Dr Becky Spelman

Contrary to what some people believe when they think of dyslexia, it isn’t an illness, nor does a diagnosis make that person any less capable of leading an incredibly successful life. Figures such as Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison all went on to have distinguished careers within their fields. But then if dyslexia isn’t an illness, how exactly do you define it? The International Dyslexia Association describes the condition as “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” Unfortunately, our current education system is generally not equipped to handle dyslexic students with few schools having the specialist teachers needed to provide proper support. Because of this, dyslexic students often become the odd one out amongst their peers and have a low sense of self-esteem as a result. But it doesn’t need to be this way, students who have dyslexia can not only fit in but flourish in the right environment. What they need above all else, is to feel empowered, which you can support them with by following some of the steps below:

Getting A Proper Diagnosis and Support

Although suggesting a diagnosis might be empowering for a dyslexic student might seem tenuous, unless you have properly identified the condition, you simply can’t respond to their needs in a person-centred way. If your child has been the recipient of additional teaching support but is still struggling to make progress, having them assessed by a qualified educational psychologist and child psychologist will help you gain a better idea of where they lie on the spectrum of dyslexia. From there, you will be able to make a much more informed decision about what kind of specialised support is needed, which includes what schools are appropriate as well as any out of hours tutoring that may be required.  Doing will allow your dyslexic child and/or student to work at their own pace, building their confidence and developing as any other child would into a confident adult.

Show Faith Their Abilities/Stay Positive

If you’re in the care of a dyslexic student who’s struggling with specific tasks or aspects of social etiquette, although you might feel the need to correct them on the spot, doing so isn’t always the best way to guide them. You could instead choose to be the example for them to follow on future occasions rather than reminding them of their inability to perform at every turn. Given that dyslexic students may already be lacking in confidence, hearing those kinds of correcting remarks might cut deeper than you think. You stand a much better chance of having your student respond to you by showing trust in them and acknowledging when they’ve performed well by using positive reinforcement. By teaching in this way and through leading by example, you allow them to keep their dignity, and also make use of their capacity to learn through observation, which through consistent repetition will help boost their self-esteem and their ability to solve increasingly complex tasks.

Give Them The Opportunity To Make Decisions/Act Independently

Enough though a dyslexic student might not have the same academic ability as others, this certainly doesn’t mean they’re incapable of achievement in other areas. It’s often the case that their talents will lie elsewhere, and that they only need a little time for them to surface. Getting them involved in any form of decision-making process or activity that promotes independent thought is a great way to help your student feel empowered by the inclusion it offers, which will turn boost their confidence. This includes giving them the chance to lead by taking charge of organisational tasks, as well as encouraging them to solve their own problems. But possibly the best the way of getting your student to feel more empowered is by involving them in the arts. As these activities generally don’t rely as much on literacy skills, it can serve as a powerful form of self-expression, which can otherwise be lacking.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome the effect of a multitude of mental illness.

If you have any questions, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION for you gain clarity about any issues relating to your child’s mental health.


Van Blarcum, Jan. (2011). Empowering the Dyslexic Student. Retrieved on 9th June, 2019, from: [Link]

National Health Service. (Jul 30th 2017). Retrieved on 9th June, 2019, from: [Link]

British Psychological Society. (June 2001). Retrieved on 9th June, 2019, from: [Link]

Enquire. (Nov 14th 2017). Retrieved on 9th June, 2019, from: [Link]

Learning Ally. (Dec 7th 2015). Retrieved on 9th June, 2019, from: [Link]

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