The emotional needs of the dyslexic child
About four years ago I went to the University of Southampton for a year and learned about dyslexia. During that time I learnt about children with dyslexia, their teaching requirements and their needs. I discovered one common problem these children seemed to suffer—low self-esteem, in some cases NIL.
As I tried to teach them, discussing with their parents how they could help, it seemed to me that very little could be done for these children that would be effective and lasting until they learned to believe in themselves and value their own worth.
A teacher for pupils with dyslexia has many problems, no matter how sympathetic or how great her expertise is. Children do not like to be different from their peers. Withdrawing a child from the class leaves him/her wide open to comments and even ridicule from his peers. Help in class can sometimes cause even worse problems. This may and can even result in the child saying, “There is nothing wrong with me” and retiring even further into his shell and/or being disruptive. Only careful teaching, continual counseling of parent and child together seemed to work. Total trust between parents, teacher and child seemed to be the only recipe which brought success. After so many years of teaching, I am even more convinced that the child’s feeling of self-esteem come first. We tend to underestimate their level of understanding the situation.
Dyslexia is on-going all day and night. It is not just an educational problem. Who sees the child most? The family. So who better to take a leading part in the rehabilitation of the child?
Parents often suffer feelings of guilt and anger and a feeling of total helplessness. Sometimes they wish to vent their anger on a teacher. This is not the best way to approach the problem. The child for whom the help is being sought can be stuck in the middle of a situation that he feels he has caused, feeling totally bewildered.
With all these thoughts and experiences in mind, I strongly feel that there is a need for a Goa Dyslexia Association on the lines of the British Dyslexia Association, a place where parents, teachers can try and sort out in a positive and meaningful way, how best to help a pupil with dyslexia.
- Mrs. Remediana Dias