by Brenda Sue Graves, East Tennessee State University
"The Society for Neuroscience (2004) pointed out that youth with untreated dyslexia are more likely than their nondyslexic peers are to drop out of high school and become unemployed, underemployed, or incarcerated.
Many social and emotional problems directly relate to dyslexia. Barbara Bush, former first lady and the parent of a child with dyslexia, noted that learning disabilities can destroy lives (as cited in Audiblox 2000, 2006). Ryan (2004) stated that dyslexia obviously affects self-image because dyslexic people frequently feel “dumb and less capable than they really are" (p. 1). These feelings of inadequacy begin to develop in students when reading instruction does not match their learning style. Over the years, the frustration builds and centers on their ability to meet the expectations of others; this is only surpassed by their inability to achieve their own goals. According to Ryan:
The development of perfectionist expectations, to deal with anxiety, often stems from this frustration because dyslexic children grow up believing that it is ‘terrible to make a mistake,’ yet the nature of dyslexia will cause them to make careless and stupid mistakes which makes them feel chronically inadequate. (p.1)
Although dyslexia certainly causes difficulties for children, many of them are bright and capable. According to Marshall (2004), dyslexia also seems to be associated with many strengths and talents. Dyslexic children tend to be creative thinkers; they are also highly imaginative and frequently excel in art, music, or drama. They are often good problem solvers with a knack for thinking outside the box. Adult dyslexics usually do well in careers like engineering, design, and architecture (Marshall). According to Shaywitz (2003), dyslexics appear to be excessively represented in the upper echelons of creativity. They include people in all career fields who have broken through a boundary to make a real difference in society.
Unfortunately, some people with dyslexia do not have stories of success. The question that needs to be asked is why?