Dyslexia is a difficulty with reading and writing that is unexpected given an individual’s cognitive abilities and education. It is also one of the most widespread learning disabilities. According to the International Dyslexia Association, as many as 15-20% of people may have symptoms of dyslexia, such as poor spelling, slow reading, poor writing, or mixing up words.
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding dyslexia. If you’re considering a career as a counsellor, you can help dispel some of these myths and help people with dyslexia reach their personal and professional goals. Here’s how.
Dyslexia Is a Neurological Condition That Has Nothing to Do With Intelligence
Many people confuse dyslexia with a lack of intelligence. However, dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. Instead, it is a neurobiological condition that makes it difficult for people to interpret written words. Studies have found that brain activity differs substantially in those with dyslexia and that such differences may be present at birth (Raschle et al., 2011). This is considered a form of neurodiversity and does not reflect how smart a person is. In fact, many extremely accomplished people have dyslexia, such as Steven Spielberg, Anderson Cooper, and Whoopi Goldberg. Even the writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Agatha Christie are suspected of having had dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition and often hereditary. Trained professionals like speech-language pathologists, neuropsychologists, and reading specialists use special techniques to help people with dyslexia with their reading and writing skills. In addition, the counselling skills you learn in therapist college can help people with dyslexia tackle various life challenges, such as improving their emotional and mental wellbeing and overcoming issues that may arise at work or in relationships.
Use Your Counselling Skills to Help Instill Confidence in People With Dyslexia
Because many people confuse dyslexia with a lack of intelligence, those with dyslexia often experience low self-esteem. Studies have shown that children with dyslexia are more likely to suffer from bullying and to receive unfair treatment from teachers (Leseyane 2018). Individuals with dyslexia themselves can even internalize these attitudes, which can result in lower self-esteem and self-confidence (Glazzard 2012). Even when children who have dyslexia go on to higher education, the emotional effects of living with dyslexia follow them. For example, one study found that dyslexic students in higher education have significantly higher rates of anxiety both when performing academic tasks and in social situations (Carol & Iles 2006).
If you attend counselling therapist college you will be well positioned to help individuals with dyslexia tackle some of the self-esteem issues they may be facing. This can in turn help them thrive in various areas of their lives.
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Carroll, J.M., & Iles, J.E. (2006). An assessment of anxiety levels in dyslexic students in higher education. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(3), 651-62. doi: 10.1348/000709905X66233
Glazzard, J. (2012). Dyslexia and Self-Esteem: Stories of Resilience, Dyslexia – A Comprehensive and International Approach, Prof. Taeko Wydell (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0517-6, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/dyslexia-a-comprehensive-and-international-approach/dyslexia-and-selfesteem-stories-of-resilience
International Dyslexia Association (n.d.). Dyslexia Basics. Retrieved from: https://dyslexiaida.org/dyslexia-basics-2/
Leseyane, M., Mandende, P., Makgato, M., & Cekiso, M. (2018). Dyslexic learners’ experiences with their peers and teachers in special and mainstream primary schools in North-West Province. African journal of disability, 7(0), 363. doi:10.4102/ajod.v7i0.363
Raschle, N. M., Chang, M., & Gaab, N. (2011). Structural brain alterations associated with dyslexia predate reading onset. NeuroImage, 57(3), 742–749. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.09.055