Dyslexia, a language processing disorder that affects up to 20% of the population, occurs on a continuum. That means that some people with dyslexia may only experience mild effects of their neurological difference, while others’ dyslexia may affect all areas of their lives.
People with mild dyslexia may choose to rely on technology to help them with their reading and spelling and be able to navigate successfully in the world. Others, with moderate or severe dyslexia, require remediation with specialized instruction in reading and spelling, and sometimes even math, in order to learn and thrive in school and in life.
Without this explicit instruction, often referred to as Structured Literacy, people with dyslexia cannot learn to read and spell as successfully as their peers.
By third grade students are expected to know how to read grade-level material. It is at this point that instruction shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. Students are now being presented with printed materials and are expected to read and comprehend in order to learn new content such as science or social studies. Additionally, they are expected to be able to accurately spell over a hundred ‘grade level’ words.
As this happens, we often see students' grades decline not just in reading and writing, but across the curriculum because reading is a critical part of learning all of the new material being presented to them. Reading is everywhere…especially in school! From math word problems to science labs and music class, poor reading and spelling skills will affect every area.
Shame & Declining Self-Esteem
Even children who are very young are able to recognize when they cannot do what their peers can do. That recognition quickly becomes shame and embarrassment for the child. They no longer want to play rhyming games or read with friends in class, causing them to withdraw from their peer group and develop declining self-esteem.
Not understanding their learning disability, they believe they are “stupid” instead of recognizing that their brain just works differently.
This shame often follows them into adulthood where their slow reading and poor spelling skills separate them from their coworkers and friends. Simple tasks, like writing a grocery list, can lead to embarrassment if someone sees the misspelled words.
Shame can also affect the families of the person with dyslexia. Those who don’t know much about this most common learning difference may believe that it is a sign of low intelligence. They may not realize that there can be dyslexic strengths that come with a dyslexic mind! Instead, they are embarrassed by their family member’s learning differences ~ which can cause even more heartache for the dyslexic person.
Mental Health Disorders
60% of individuals with dyslexia struggle with their mental health. That is a staggering rate! Declining self-esteem, coupled with the traumatic experiences many dyslexic individuals have at home, in school, and in the workplace lead to mental health concerns. We encourage you to view the video below to learn more.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, learning disabilities and substance abuse overlap “significantly.” Current research finds that learning disabilities can lead to substance abuse by increasing the risk factors and behaviors associated with drug or alcohol addiction, such as:
Problems at school
Unhealthy desires for peer acceptance
Dyslexia is often associated with a diagnosis of ADHD as well. Up to 40% of people with a dyslexia diagnosis also suffer from ADHD. Individuals with both diagnoses are at a higher risk of addiction if their disabilities are not identified and addressed with effective interventions.
Drop Out Of School
Nationally, 5.2% of students drop out of high school. Let’s compare that to the dyslexic population.
35% of students with dyslexia never graduate high school.
In 2022 LinkedIn added “Dyslexic Thinking” to its recognized skill list. Dictionary.com has confirmed it will add “Dyslexic Thinking” as an official term, describing its “strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills”. Yet without high school diplomas, it will be difficult for these creative, outside-the-box thinkers to enter the job market and lend their much-needed skills to our economy.
Higher Incarceration Rate
48% of the prison population has been found to have dyslexia. As we’ve discussed, people who struggle to read have low self-esteem and are left out of a society so heavily based on printed language. Read more about the correlation between dyslexia and the prison population here.
Having dyslexia can make it challenging for prisoners to access education and training programs, which can hinder their chances of rehabilitation and successful reintegration into society after release. Therefore, it is important for prisons to identify and support prisoners with dyslexia, providing appropriate education and training programs to help them develop their skills and improve their chances of success.
It’s never too late!
Structured Literacy interventions work for all individuals with dyslexia! Even adults who may have experienced some of these bleak effects of dyslexia CAN learn to read and spell with more confidence and fluency.
While we encourage parents to look for the signs of dyslexia and take action while their children are young to avoid these negative effects, it is never too late to get the help needed and change their lives!
We have helped countless children with dyslexia receive the structured literacy interventions they need and the support they deserve. Let’s talk about how we can help your child!
As an educational advocate with over a decade of experience, Lorraine and her team are here to answer your tough questions and share the possibilities that exist when you hire a team of Certified Dyslexia Advocates to help your child.
Are you worried that your dyslexic child is falling behind in school?
Are you ready to see your child learn and thrive?
If so, let's start with a consultation where we will provide you with personalized and professional recommendations. Click the link below to schedule your consultation today!