Dyslexia is a specific language-based difficult which impacts on individuals in different domains. Although dyslexic individuals are intelligent, they often have difficulties with: reading, writing, spelling, memory, spatial awareness, mathematics, sequencing, organisation and concentration. These on their own can be a great source of distress to individuals with the condition. Nevertheless, the secondary social, emotional and psychological impacts of dyslexia are equally detrimental.
Secondary impacts of dyslexia
The reading, writing and spelling difficulties experienced by the dyslexic students who rarely understand the reason for their condition increase the social, emotional and psychological impacts of their dyslexia. Particularly in the context of the African education where the prevailing situation is that greater number of dyslexic students is undiagnosed.
Furthermore, the actual education systems where teachers hold an authoritarian position and fail to see their ineffective teaching approach with dyslexic students, in general, these students’ poor academic performance is comfortably blamed on their ‘lack of willingness to work harder’. Hence, in addition to be humiliated by teachers and their peers, dyslexic students also suffer similar attitude from their family and their community. It is sad to imagine students going through continuous humiliation, teasing, name calling, insults and sometime corporal punishment throughout their school years from school and from home for having dyslexia. However, what makes the situation more heartbreaking is the dyslexic students’ own failure to comprehend the ‘why’ of their condition coupled with the feeling of rejection from the overall society. Consequently, they are more likely to:
Feel stupid or unintelligent Be self-critical and negative Be extremely anxious Feel depressed Fail to imagine positive future prospects Feel helpless and hopeless Feel stressed Feel marginalised and excluded Feel angry Feel frustrated Become a drug addict Become alcoholic Lack self-esteem Lack confidence Lack motivation
Behavioural manifestations of dyslexic students
Further to the psychological and the emotional scars endured by dyslexic students, they display behavioural instabilities in the classroom by:
Stopping their peers from learning by playing the class clown or disrupting the sessions intentionally Disliking other students who are not quick in their performance Being dislike by peers owing to own unpleasant attitude Being easily bored, frustrated or challenging Being uncooperative Being impatient and lack of diplomacy Asking indiscrete questions Using insensitivity to hide own feelings
Enjoying time wasting Preferring to work in isolation Appearing to be preoccupied Communicating less with peers and teachers Taking longer to finish tasks Equating dyslexia with foolishness
The above consequences produce, usually, adolescents and adults dyslexic who:
Drop out of education Have little or no qualifications Are in low pay jobs or jobless Have poor career progression Are into criminal activities
Dyslexia is a serious matter that needs urgent attention because it is not only detrimental to individuals suffering from it, but it is harming the entire society that is failing to raise potential geniuses and contributors to economical growth.
--- Delali Idrissou, Dyslexia Specialist MA Inclusive Education, MA FE Practitioner Postg SpLD Dyslexia - AMBDA Dip. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Dip. Adult Numeracy Member of PATOSS Member of Institute for Learning (MIfL) - QTLS [email protected]