This is article three of four sharing the data gained from a collaboration with the British Dyslexia Association to survey parents about the emotional or ‘Human Cost’ of dyslexia. The aim was to gain an understanding about how a child having dyslexia affected not only them but also their families in terms of anxiety, interactions with education, family dynamics and the actual monetary cost of having a child with dyslexia. This article reveals what you told us in the survey which was ultimately used to inform politicians at the All Party Parliamentary Group For Dyslexia on the 24th April 2019. Dr Helen Ross (who presented the data in Parliament) and myself will share with you our thoughts about what we discovered.
The survey covered four topics:
Exploring The ‘Human Cost’ Of A Child Having Dyslexia
The survey went viral, parents all over the UK shared the survey to other parents and we gained more than 1300 responses and collected more than 2500 supporting comments from parents.
It was clear that you really wanted to get a message to MP’s in Parliament and we took that data and we gave an overview via Helen’s presentation and the resultant APPG Report which was sent to all MPs. You can get a copy of that report by clicking here.
In this article, I am going to show you the results of the yes/no questions that you answered on the topic of “exploring the human cost of a child having dyslexia” . With those results Helen Ross and myself will make comments from an educational perspective (Helen) and from a parental perspective (John).
Read on to find out what you reported about your experiences with exploring the cost of a child having dyslexia.
What Parents Think: Exploring the human cost of a child having dyslexia.
When a child has dyslexia, the family dynamic is altered. Parents report that they spend more time with their dyslexia children to support them with their homework, bolstering their self-esteem and supporting them with their interactions with school. The survey found that the siblings of dyslexic young people suffered emotionally, as they felt that their parent gave their siblings more resources (both financial and emotional).
Parents reported that they felt schools were unable to meet the needs of young people with dyslexia and so they found it necessary to pay for support for their children. From my point of view as a teacehr, parents shouldn’t feel that they have to pay for appropriate support for their children; indeed many parents cannot pay for such support. I provide some support pro-bono for young learners near where I live but I cannot do as much as I want to. However, if policy followed recommendations made to the APPG in April in that each school had a Specialist Dyslexia Teacher, who could advise on classroom practice, I am sure that teachers and young people alike would notice the benefits so that parents would feel less obliged to seek (sometimes costly) support elsewhere.
According to our participants, one in two children with dyslexia are trying to avoid school where 82% of the participants are reporting that the children are trying to hide their struggles with dyslexia. This absolutely makes sense that a proportion of our dyslexic children are trying to avoid school because ultimately our school system makes it hard for a child with dyslexia and even more sense that a higher proportion of the children are trying to hide their struggles. I say it makes sense, of course it doesn’t. If we need help we should be able to ask for it but this can be so hard for a child to stick their neck out and say that they are struggling. In a recent report from GL Assessment, it is estimated that there are thousands of dyslexic girls simply not getting help in school because they are hiding their struggles. These results are further confirmed by 82% of the participants reporting that their children are embarrassed by their dyslexia.
The participants report that roughly 1 in 2 children are bullied because of their dyslexia.
The participants report that their children are frustrated, have poor self-esteem and suffer from anxiety.
We simply need to change the environment in school for our dyslexic kids so that they feel safer about asking for help so that they are able to feel better about themselves and feel like they are developing.
It is easy for me to say this, but the challenge is huge and as I said in Part 3, it requires schools and parents to work together to support our dyslexic children through this time of development.