Supporting The Dyslexic Community
Compassion, sympathy, empathy, altruism and active listening are all excellent human traits. Developing these skills and adopting them in daily life is a fantastic way to build rapport and connections with other individuals in a variety of situations. Notably, developing these ‘supporting skills’ are of particular importance and usefulness for dyslexics and other members of the wider neurodiverse community.
Within a few previous posts I have discussed the notion of the ‘secondary symptoms’ of dyslexia. These psychological and emotional impacts follow on from the more visible difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, memory and processing. Feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, fear, embarrassment and paranoia over one’s own abilities can all present as an immense psychological burden upon dyslexics. Comparable to the more literacy-based difficulties, these can be much more difficult to see and thus easily overlooked. On a personal note, within my daily life I find these negative emotions the most difficult part or element of dyslexia to manage. Why, I ask myself? After some intense thinking I thought about the power of human emotions. It can be extremely difficult to control and manage our emotions; especially at times when they are so powerful, strong and sometimes even overwhelming. In contrast, when struggling to read and comprehend text a simple solution is to read this aloud, re-read any particularly difficult areas and then to make note any parts I still don’t quite understand.
I have had numerous interesting conversations with fellow dyslexics about their experiences of living with dyslexia. Notably, many also reflected on the psychological effects dyslexia can have. These included lacking motivation (as individuals believed/assumed they would fail at a task), reluctance to try new tasks and skills, significantly reduced self-esteem and self-belief, isolating oneself from others and a fear of individuals ‘finding out’ that they have dyslexia. Overall, this is one of the main reasons why support networks are so important. Individuals can receive help with both their challenging daily tasks and routines and be supported in managing and reducing these negative emotions.
It is absolutely crucial to note that these support networks and groups are out there. Whether it be face-to-face conversations with friends and family, reading posts on websites or joining a neurodiverse online community these can all be excellent support resources. As discussed in one of my previous blog posts outlining the importance of support networks (see useful links below), humans are innately drawn and attracted to those who are similar to themselves. This is particularly prominent within the neurodiverse world where individuals may wish to share and exchange information, advice, tips, questions and experiences. For dyslexics and their family, dyslexia can form one of the many parts of their identity. Therefore, in seeking out fellow dyslexics or those with an interest in dyslexia reciprocal, empathetic and mutually understanding connections can be formed.
Amongst the ‘Useful Links’ section below I have listed several different types of resources I frequently use when reading, writing and researching about dyslexia. All of these have been extremely beneficial in helping me understand more and more about this neurodiversity. In addition to these links, I also hope that these series of blog posts have and continue to be a useful source of support and interest; by using a combination of personal accounts, formal research and humour. Do feel free to share and send any other useful links and resources to others and myself. As sharing and exchanging these resources is an awesome way to continue to support and help the dyslexic community as a whole.
British Dyslexia Association - https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/
An excellent website that contains plenty of information about what dyslexia is, how it effects individuals (ranging from children to adults) and other more specific posts, including what it can be like to live with a dyslexic partner. The British Dyslexia Association have an awesome YouTube channel with some great support content, such as webinars, personal accounts and teaching/learning strategies.
Operation Diversity - https://operationdiversityacademy.co.uk/
Operation Diversity offers access to highly informative webinars and training around many neurodiversities; geared more towards parent and carers. Its Facebook group and online community provides a great space for individuals to share experiences, seek advice, post questions and discuss all elements of the neurodiverse world.
Dyslexia the Gift Blog - https://blog.dyslexia.com/
This awesome blogging site contains a vast selection of blog posts from numerous authors discussing dyslexia and many other neurodiversities. Many of these posts are based upon personal accounts and experiences, allowing lots of different angles of dyslexia to be explored. Moreover, the messages and impacts of these posts emphasise the positive nature and benefits of neurodiversities.
NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dyslexia/
When one considers the NHS we often may think purely of medical conditions; particularly the causes and treatment. However, also stretching further afield, the NHS website gives a highly useful overview into the symptomology, diagnosis and management of dyslexia. This is a great starting point for anyone looking to find out more about the overall workings of dyslexia.
For more information on the impacts of dyslexia on self-esteem check out one of my previous blog posts from February 2019 ‘Dyslexia and Self-esteem’ at:
Further information on support networks and dyslexia can be found within another previous blog post from April 2019 ‘The Importance of Support Networks’ at: