Social and Emotional Impacts of Dyslexia

While we tend to think of dyslexia as a reading disorder, it also has an effect on a child’s social and communication skills. Since it can interfere with being able to retrieve words quickly, dyslexia can hinder a child’s ability to interact with peers in a typical way, and respond appropriately in social situations. “A dyslexic person who has word-finding difficulties can have trouble with their expressive language,” explains Scott Bezsylko, the executive director of Winston Preparatory School, which specializes in teaching kids with learning disorders. “That has a social impact, in addition to your difficulties with reading and writing, that make you feel not so good about yourself.”

Children who are dyslexic, at least until they are diagnosed, often become frustrated and ashamed at their inability to learn to read, and the implication that they are either lazy or stupid. “A lot of our work with dyslexic kids is to help them rediscover that they are smart and capable,” notes Beszylko, “because they’ve stopped believing in themselves.”