For dyslexic children, what begins as an educational problem can quickly descend into an emotional problem. School reading or writing assignments may serve as triggers for intensely negative emotions of fear, stress, and anxiety, which in turn lead to memory and attention disruptions, which lead to physiological manifestations of that unease—and in some cases, catastrophic thoughts. By considering these cascading effects, we can understand why depression and, sadly, suicide rates for dyslexic children are higher than for the general population.
This sort of cycle is well-known in psychology, with the “anxiety cascade” being taught over many decades, even in basic psychology courses. The diagram included in this article adapts that cycle to specifically address the pattern observed in dyslexic children.
Because of this “Vortex of Dyslexia,” early intervention for children is critical. Dyslexia is in many ways an invisible struggle. If dyslexic children are not properly evaluated and treated what may seem to outsiders as “simple” reading and writing difficulties can grow into far more significant psychological or physiological problems.
Unfortunately, many of the parents we hear from have learned this painful lesson firsthand. Many of them reach out to Lexercise months or years after they first detected signs of dyslexia in their child. Typically, these parents hoped and expected that their child’s public school would address the problem, but it didn’t–even after years of waiting. By then, children have often transitioned from enjoying school to dreading it, from being confident in their abilities to fearing they’re “dumb.” Attention and motivation problems often begin, as well.
That’s why we strongly advise parents whose child has failed the Lexercise Screener to get a professional evaluation done immediately—whether it’s with us or a local provider. Not only is therapy more effective the earlier in life it occurs, but the cost of delaying can be enormous.
Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.