Dyslexia: Maintaining Self-Esteem In Students.

One of the facts of life regarding being a student is that you are always being assessed for your academic capabilities.  Education professionals always need to show what impact their work is having with young students and this is fine but often they are assessing aspects of students that may not be representative of the student's actual ability to learn.
A good example is the current change of delivery for the G.C.S.E system in secondary schools.  For a student to be successful they will need to memorise at least two years worth of content for them to be able to get good grades in their exams.  When they do the exams they will need to be able to write clearly and use good spelling and grammar to express their knowledge.

For students who are dyslexic, who perhaps are undiagnosed or are in schools that have not put reasonable adjustments in place, they are at a disadvantage to those that do not have dyslexia.  This can have a devastating effect on a student's self-esteem when they are in an educational system that compares them to their peers on aspects of learning that the student is weak on.

On the 6th March, I will be delivering a seminar at Aquinas College in Stockport on how to help our dyslexic young people maintain self-esteem through education.  If you can get there, you are welcome to attend and more details can be found below or by emailing the organiser by clicking here.

I wanted to give you an initial glance at the topics that I will be talking about and if you can't make the meeting, some tips that you can use now to support a young student with dyslexia.

Dyslexics & The Big Picture

Dyslexics are famous for their ability to see the 'bigger picture'.  There are some very famous big picture thinkers out there such as Sir Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver and many others who have achieved great things.  They started out going through education at a time when dyslexia really wasn't well understood and somehow they were able to see beyond the challenges, weather them and ultimately become very successful.
They were able to cling to a vision of their future that helped them to realise that their challenges in education were only a small part of a larger story.
Sadly when we are stressed, it is so hard to think in this way.  The 'fight or flight' mechanism kicks in and we are left worrying about what is happening in the moment rather than seeing how it fits in and what choices there are for getting through and realising one's potential.

In my seminar, I will be talking about the 'Career Compass' i.e what we use mentally to help us navigate where we want to go in life.
So often we hear of teachers and parents asking their kids about what they want to do with their lives and whilst some young people know, many struggle to answer because they have simply been asked the wrong question!

If you are a young person and you don't have a vision of your future, how can you answer a 'What do you want to do with your life' type of question?

I believe that we should be looking to ask them about how they want to feel and what will help them to feel it in terms of honouring personal values and enjoying activities that they love.

My seminar will look at this in more detail but essentially if you can get your child to think in this way and be more aware of what is more important to them (not necessarily what we as adults think should be important to them) then we can help them to use those answers to inform their decisions about what they need to do now to get there.
In thinking in this way, we begin to empower our young people to think about what they need and to self-advocate for what they need to be the best that they can be.

Being equipped to be the best that we can be.

A carpenter needs tools to be his best!
Imagine if you will, that you are a carpenter and that you are enormously creative and can conjure up some amazing wooden objects using your skills but there is a problem.  You have been put in a room with lots of wood and told to make something beautiful out of that wood without being given the tools that you need to achieve it.
You would probably feel frustrated that despite having lots of ideas and as to what you could do to express your creative ability, you are at a disadvantage because you are not physically able to be the best that you can be.

Education can be like this for a dyslexic student.  Just because reading and writing is a challenge, it doesn't mean that our young people are not able to be writers, storytellers, scientists, engineers, historians etc.  We just need to give them the tools, that they need, to unlock their creativity and expression.

I will be talking about some of the types of software that is available that can help a dyslexic student in their learning process and I will be demonstrating SprintPlus, software that reads out text and can give access to thousands of textbooks electronically.  Check out the video below:

If you would like to discover ways to maintain and enhance a student's self-esteem and can get to Stockport on the 6th March then my seminar is for you whether you are a teacher, SENCO, tutor or parent.  For more information please contact Marilyn Jones by clicking here or call 0161 670 1767.

Want to update your knowledge about Special Educational Needs and how they affect young people?

Join us on April 21st 2018 in Stoke-on-Trent for our third SEN Jigsaw Conference.  Details below:

Click here to find out more and to book your ticket.