Dyslexia and The School Counselor




Behl, Malvika
Denton, Kenneth
Simmons, Michelle
Coneway, Betty
Shin, Mikyung

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Dyslexia affects about 15 to 20 percent of people within the United States. Most of the time dyslexia is diagnosed within the school system. The researchers reviewed the parent perspective of the diagnosis of young people before, during, and after the diagnosis. Analysis of the collected data helped identify the different emotional and mental health concerns parents have for children either diagnosed with or suspected to have dyslexia. Since there are limited studies that review the school counselor’s experience working with children suspected or diagnosed with dyslexia, the findings from this study help understand the different problems school counselors can focus on to help the mental health concerns of children suspected or diagnosed with dyslexia. Using the research data, the poster will address the different concomitant mental health needs of children suspected or diagnosed with dyslexia in schools and suggest ways in which school counselors can help them with the challenges.


Data Collection Methodology: A pilot study was first conducted through a panel of experts in the field to receive feedback and ensure understanding and relevance of the survey and data. Once the panel approved the survey, the information was then provided through links posted online and through emails to different professional organizations, school agencies, and dyslexia and parent support groups. Recruitment for the mixed methodology study was completed electronically through a Qualtrics survey link which was shared on different platforms with parents and educators. Screener questions including informed consent were used to qualify parents of children with dyslexia and/or suspected dyslexia. | Expected Findings: The parents in the study reported their children being diagnosed with or suspected of having the following alongside dyslexia: Diagnosis - Percentage Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - 40.1% Auditory or Hearing Impairment - 5.3% Autism - 3.9% Emotional Disturbance - 4.7% Intellectual Disability - .5% The findings of the study helped recognize some mental health issues that parents feel their children have faced. The qualitative results could be divided into three categorical concepts which include the concerns parents have, the techniques used, and the suspected diagnosis leading to a dyslexia diagnosis. The secondary diagnosis might have been received before or after the diagnosis of dyslexia and/or could still be a concern for parents. CONCERNS: Some of the concerns parents shared included confidence/self-esteem issues, trauma from school, misdiagnosis as behavioral problems, bullying, emotional issues, frustration, pain, anxiety, mental breakdown, social stigma, burn out, learned helplessness, and being beaten down. One of the parents in the study reported that “One year of Kindergarten completely ruined his self esteem and confidence level. I never understood the severity of the teasing he received until I removed him from the public school system. I never plan putting him back into that toxic environment. He still has anxiety talking about his "old" school.” SUSPECTED DIAGNOSIS LEADING TO DYSLEXIA: Some parents reported that they suspected their children to have a diagnosis of anxiety disorder or attention deficit or hyperactivity, but after the testing, the parents received a diagnosis of dyslexia. TECHNIQUES: Common helpful techniques that the parents reported using to help their children with the diagnosis included using strengths, developing positive self-esteem, and meeting with psychologists and counselors. One of the parent’s reported: “I see amazing dyslexic thinkers, and know to look for those strengths within my own child and encourage him to find what he excels at and go after his strengths”



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