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World Mental Health Day: What's happening in schools and with Dyslexia?

Today is World Mental Health Day!

Many people see dyslexia as some kind of educational problem, perhaps a problem with getting letters mixed up or not being able to read.  It is my belief not many people associate dyslexia with issues associated with mental health and whilst the two are not clinically linked i.e Dyslexia is NOT a mental health disorder, the repercussions of having dyslexia can lead a child to experience challenges with self-esteem and motivation which can ultimately lead to a development of mental health issues if support is not provided.

That is why I am thrilled to share with you that today is World Mental Health Day!
What's more I would like to share some statistics with you that could make you think more about how children and young people with dyslexia are being supported.

I am pleased to support the Mental Health Foundation's 'Make It Count' campaign which they are using to raise awareness of mental health issues for children and young people.

In their latest news article they stated that 11% of children between the ages of 10 and 15 say that they have no one to talk to or wouldn't speak to anyone in school if they felt sad or worried.

From a survey of 1323 school children in Britain also explored how feeling worried or sad affected the behaviour and wellbeing of those children.

38% of those surveyed said that feeling worried or sad caused them difficulties with sleep.
27% said that these feelings got them into fights or arguments.
26% reported that these feelings caused them to struggle with homework.
27% shared that they didn't want to be around others.

If this isn't disturbing enough, Public Health England have reported that 10% of children and young people in England (aged 5-16) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem.

If we compare these statistics with the British Dyslexia Association's of 10% of the population being dyslexic with 4% being severely so, then whilst I am not saying that if you have dyslexia then you will have a mental health problem, surely there must be a huge overlap with the sheer numbers of kids reporting issues?

Our children are constantly forced to work in an education system that is simply too competitive and judgemental with too few resources to help our dyslexic students to engage not only on an educational level but also with mental health.
Young people with dyslexia constantly have to experience implied messages about not being good enough or not putting enough effort in or not being engaged enough when the reality is that for many our education system simply saps the strength to motivate a child to study.  What's the point if they are only going to be marked down?

Recently, I spoke with someone in the workplace who told me that they avoided writing reports for fear of judgement and being told to rewrite them when in reality that person was not experiencing that judgement from colleagues.  They realised that they were experiencing thoughts and feelings that  stemmed from childhood experiences in school that had stuck with them all the way into their working life.

Why is this happening for our kids?  It's wrong!

I believe that our education system should strive to be more dyslexic friendly and should rethink how it judges attainment.  There are thousands of dyslexic students out there who are being told that their ability to learn is obvious but when it comes to demonstrating that in exam rooms the exam results tell a different story.  It is the form of testing that is the barrier to attainment, not a dyslexic child's ability to learn!

I believe that there should be more investment in mental health support for children with dyslexia
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using coaching or counselling.  I also believe that the playing field should be levelled for these children with study skills support and the use of assistive technology.  

Lets help our dyslexic kids to feel more motivated and lets give them the tools to be able to express their learning.

Please share this post if you agree with me or tell me what you think in the comments below.

This post is sponsored by Jabbla with their technology for dyslexic students, SprintPlus.


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