Resilience is a popular topic among today’s educational leaders, and for good reason. If you grow up with significant academic, social, or socio-economic stress, you’re more likely to still grow up as a happy, successful, and adaptive adult if you are resilient.
Many external factors support resilience, like a supportive family or caregiver and stable home life, but individual factors are also important – and importantly there is substantial evidence that these can be learned.
Studies of dyslexic children and adults almost universally show the significant degrees of stress that dyslexia can have in the school setting. In general, the period leading up to a formal ‘diagnosis’ or identification is especially stressful as individuals don’t know why school tasks are difficult or they are underperforming.
In general, individual temperament differences such as high emotional reactivity and/or lower social engagement can often predict who is more or less likely to have problems at school.
Strategies to help promote resilience include:
1. Encourage a Positive Self-View. Recognize and develop children’s personal strengths and reframe challenges and setbacks. For ideas, check out The Optimistic Child or Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking.
2. Foster Social Supports. Create a family oasis and encourage your student in empathy and friendships. Help your student to focus on the needs of others and gratitude rather than dealing on oneself. Adopt a big picture view of life and relationships.
3. Encourage Self-Advocacy. There can be added challenges for dyslexic students who also may not easily be able to put their challenges into words. Practice ‘scripts’ and do some dry runs of what students can say when they need more time, other accommodations, or modifications in their homework or testing. Problem solve solutions to challenges at school.