Anxiety can be a significant issue for dyslexic students. As a dyslexia tutor, I’ve seen the effects that anxiety can have on dyslexic students in a classroom setting, as well as other areas of life.
For dyslexic children, one of the main types of anxiety can be performance anxiety; they worry that will not be able to read, spell, and write at a certain level when they are required to. For example, reading out loud in class can be a scary event for a dyslexic student. Even if their teacher and classmates understand the challenges of dyslexia, the dyslexic student can still feel nervous and scared at the prospect of reading in front of other people. After reading, they may feel discouraged and humiliated if they didn’t measure up to the reading ability of their classmates. As a result, they may feel even more intimidated the next time they are asked to read out loud.
Testing can also be a difficult and anxious time for dyslexic students. With a test, they again realized that they will be expected to perform at a certain level. This time, if they don’t perform, the evidence is actually going to be recorded in grades, which can make the situation even more stressful.
One of the first steps in helping a dyslexic overcome anxiety is to get them into a program that directly addresses their dyslexia, and helps them begin to make progress. Additionally, efforts should be made to cut down on the situations that cause this anxiety in dyslexics. One way to do this is to speak with the classroom teacher and ask them to exempt the student from having to read out loud. Most teachers are happy to oblige this request, when they hear the reasoning. Another option is to seek more time for when the student takes tests; again, this can usually be arranged.
As mentioned previously, one of the best ways to address the problem is to get the student in a dyslexia tutoring program that addresses their challenges, and helps them start making progress. A good tutoring program not only will help them make progress, but help them understand their dyslexia so that anxious moments seem less intimidating.