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Three ways to boost confidence and motivation for dyslexic students.

Diagram for Dyslexia Support using Study Skills Support, Understanding and Awareness of Dyslexia and Assistive Technology Support.

What are the three ways that boost the confidence of a dyslexic student?  This post will explore what I believe dyslexic students should have access to as they pass through the current education system.  I believe that what I am proposing should be made available in KS2 and onwards.

Some background first.

My daughter was diagnosed in year 8 with dyslexia and we were fortunate in that my daughter's secondary college was prepared to meet the recommendations in her diagnosis report.
Once implemented, my daughter achieved some wonderful grades in her G.C.S.E's which lead to her ultimately getting onto her undergraduate course of choice.

Her success was the result of three factors that she experienced:

1) Increased/ extra support study skills,

2) Increased understanding and awareness of her challenges with dyslexia and learning in the classroom,

3) Increased use of technology to support her learning.

I believe that the success came because these three factors were equally experienced.  Let me tell you more...

Study Skills Support.

This is essential for any student as all students require support in developing their study skills with a greater or lesser degree of support required.
In the case of a dyslexic student who thinks differently and works to process information differently, I believe that time spent supporting a dyslexic student in developing strategies that help them to work effectively with the information that they are having to absorb during their studies reaps dividends in their academic achievements.

Understanding & Awareness Of Dyslexia.

To help a child or a young person with dyslexia to be more effective in their studies, all the adults in their 'education network' need to be aware of what dyslexia is, how it can affect study skills and ALSO understand how it affects the self-esteem and confidence of a young person. 
For many dyslexic young people, they will have experienced what it is like to not perform in class as well as their peers and if they do perform well, often they will have worked ten times more to get the same result as someone without dyslexia.  It is extremely common for young people with dyslexia to feel inadequate, have a low self-esteem and have reduced levels of confidence.
Even if you 'fix' their study challenges, whilst it will help, they are still likely to experience problems with self-esteem and confidence.  
So schools and parents need to work together to provide a more comprehensive approach to supporting their dyslexic students which is a mix of helping them to study effectively as well as getting them access to emotional and psychological support so that they can grow a belief and confidence in themselves and see for themselves the progress that they are making.
In my work as a life coach to teenage students who have dyslexia, I have seen how giving them time and space to think and feel their way through processing what dyslexia means to them often empowers them to make positive changes that boosts confidence in themselves.  Equally, this approach on its' own does not last for long if they do not have the study skills development in place or the assistive tools to hand to help them.

Assistive Technology Support.

So what is assistive technology?

Simply put it is technology that helps.  We all use 'assistive technology' whether it is using calendar apps on smartphones to remember meetings, or using apps to write lists for things that we don't want to forget.
The term 'Assistive Technology' is usually attributed to technology that has been designed to support a particular challenge associated with physical or cognitive differences or disabilities.

Personally, I am an advocate of all technologies that can be used to support studying.  For example, I am currently studying part-time.  One of the issues I faced was that I would arrive and the lecturer would have all his teaching content written out on the whiteboard and there was an expectation that the students should copy it down at the start of the lesson.  For me, handwriting is uncomfortable and if rushed illegible.  If I sense that the lecturer is about to clean the board then I am also feeling anxious about time.  My focus then is not about learning but managing my anxiety or getting content written down quickly enough.  Imagine how tiring that is!  Then imagine what it must be like for full-time dyslexic students in a similar position!
So I use technology to get around this.  At the start of the class, I simply take a photo of the board using my Microsoft Surface Go and then I can spend the time not worrying and focus on reading the content in my own time, knowing that I have captured it and it can't be wiped away by a time anxious lecturer!
So that is a great example of technology that assists me in my studies.  But that isn't really classed as assistive technology.

Assistive technology can be software that reads out text, or converts dictation into text, helps with mind mapping or helps with note-taking.  In terms of studying some hardware is useful too such as voice recorders in the way of smartpens or dictaphones.  There is such a range of technology available and it is important to try different types out to see which fits your student's needs.
Once you find the technology that fits with the needs of your student, you will find that their ability to study will improve enormously.  Technology like this makes studying that much easier and helps the student to feel more in control of the quality of their work which leads to better autonomy and the confidence to contribute to class work.
Technology shouldn't just be used for the sake of using it!  So often parents will buy technology for their children with the hope that it will 'fix' their issues with studying.  Chucking money at a problem doesn't always fix it.  Getting the right technology is something that should be considered carefully, certainly it should be tried out first and getting in contact with a dyslexia assessor or tutor for guidance would be very useful.

Final Comments.

A student who is dyslexic is not someone who is 'lazy' or 'not engaged' with education.  They are people who think differently and it is in that difference that there can be a problem with fitting into the education system.  Sadly the education system is not going to start being dyslexia friendly (fully) anytime soon, so we need to be able to empower our dyslexic students as much as possible by helping them to see their own potential by making them aware of strategies and tools that level the playing field whilst they are at school or college.  I believe that we should also be mindful of how dyslexic students feel about themselves and provide the most appropriate emotional support as and when required.

If you have any questions about any aspect of this blog please do comment below or contact me by clicking here.

More information about resources for dyslexia support can be found on the Studying With Dyslexia Blog Resource Page.


  1. Excellent summary, thank you.
    I have just been offering advice and support to a parent of a dyslexic student struggling at secondary school and will send a copy of this to encourage her!

  2. That gives off an impression of being fabulous anyway i am still not very beyond any doubt that I like it. At any rate will look much more into it and choose by and by! blog comments


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