Dyslexia can affect more than one's ability to read, spell, and write. Many times, because of the fact of not being able to do these things, one's self-esteem can be compromised resulting in behaviors such as anger, frustration, avoidance, to name a few. These behaviors not only challenge the individual, but everyone around them.

Research indicates that dyslexia is caused by biological factors, not emotional or family problems. Recent research funded by the National Institutes of Health has identified many of the neurobiological differences that contribute to dyslexia. The vast majority of these factors appear to be caused by genetics rather than poor parenting or childhood depression or anxiety.

In the 1900s, Samuel T. Orton, M.D. was one of the first researchers to describe the emotional aspects of dyslexia. According to his research, the majority of dyslexic preschoolers are happy and well adjusted. Their emotional problems begin to develop when early reading instruction does not match their learning styles and needs. Over the years, the frustration mounts as classmates surpass the dyslexic student in reading skills.

Treatment of the dyslexic must take into consideration the social-emotional aspects that can accompany the disorder. On the following pages, psychologist Michael Ryan, Ph.D., a dyslexic himself, provides guidance in dealing with social-emotional issues.


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