“I’m gonna be somebody, someday. One of these days I’m gonna break these chains. I’m gonna be somebody, someday You can bet your hard-earned dollar I will.”
- Travis Tritt, I’m Gonna Be Somebody
No matter your country, religion, “crunchiness” or political leanings every parent wants to help their child to have a positive self-esteem. And while it’s a concern and a challenge for every parent- it’s especially crucial for the parents of a dyslexic student.
Growing up, a dyslexic student will always feel a separation between themselves and their classmates or siblings. Things that their peers breeze through can be difficult for a dyslexic child. I spoke just today with a sweet lady who related a story about her granddaughter’s difficulties reading a birthday card that was easily read by a cousin of the same age.
I remember clearly being ashamed of forgetting concepts and assignments that my classmates seemed to complete with no effort. Only now, long after I’ve graduated High School, am I getting a good grasp on note-taking and organization. I felt anxious constantly throughout my Elementary, Middle and High School years – afraid that I’d forgotten some assignment, missed some crucial detail or be asked to do something that would expose me. However, my harshest criticism was not from teachers or peers but from myself. I struggled with my schoolwork and self-esteem (and they often fed directly into each other.)
If you have a dyslexic student – these are all probably things they struggle with, or at least are a constant possibility. I’m currently reading Dyslexia: The Facts by Mark Selikowitz (I’ll be reviewing it later this week.) and in it he gives some tips and observations on Self-Esteem and the Dyslexic Student:
- First, you should try to accept your child’s weaknesses. He needs love that is not conditional upon his achievement. You also need to accept his feelings, without criticism.
- When Praising your child, give specifics. Make it clear what you are praising him for.
- Children learn self-esteem from their parents’ example. Let your child hear you praise your own accomplishments (for example, ‘I’m very pleased with the way this cake has turned out’, or ‘That was a job well done’).
- Encourage your child to set realistic goals so that she can experience success. Most importantly, help him to evaluate his achievements realistically, so that he is not overly critical of himself.
- [T]each your child to praise himself. If he achieves something, ask him, ‘How do you think you did?’
- Children also need to feel they belong to something. It may be an idea to arrange for your child to join in a hobby group, a scout pack, or some other such unit.
- Children need to feel they have the power to make some of the choices that affect their lives. Whenever possible, let him select things for himself, such as which clothes he wants, in what order he does things, and which books he takes from the library. Admire his choices and praise his self-sufficiency.
Taken from Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties: The Facts by Mark Selkowitz (bold emphasis mine.)
I hope these are helpful! I’ll be reviewing this book in the very near future for you- but in the meantime let me know, do these techniques work for you? What does Work for You?