chalkboard drawing of a smiling cartoon girl with the words "I love your smile" written next to her.

Find the Good in Everybody

~Dolly Parton

There’s no denying it. Every person’s self-esteem is influenced by the feedback they receive from others. This is why it is so important to build confidence in a dyslexic child. You can do this through positive feedback and encouragement from an early age. They struggle more than others to read and match the learning achievements of their peers. Without positive support, their self-esteem suffers and they become unmotivated. Their low-self-esteem can be perceived as laziness and disobedience. This makes them feel angry and embarrassed, especially because of their poor academic performance in the classroom.

This is why it is so important for educators and parents to recognize the signs of dyslexia in  children and make a special effort to build confidence in dyslexic children.

Here are a few strategies to build confidence in a dyslexic child:


Recognize their achievements.

No matter how big or small—the recognition needn’t be costly or related to school. It could be verbal praise or a handwritten note, recognizing a simple task where they have shown responsibility, consistency and teamwork, i.e. tending to the garden, taking the dog for a daily walk, or helping out with the family laundry.


Honour and display your child’s strengths.

Encourage your child to recognize their own strengths and interests. If your dyslexic child likes to draw, ask them to create a collage of their work and pick out a frame to display their creation. Display their art in a prominent place in your home and show it off! If they are skilled in sports, capture pictures of them in action and with their awards. Create special cards celebrating the events or mail them a note of congratulations. Together, build a scrapbook of their achievements and refer to it when they are feeling low.


Remind them how important their contributions are.

Let them know how much you appreciate them doing what they do without being asked!


Be consistent and sincere in your praise.

Every morning and each night find encouraging positive words to say to your child. “That colour looks great on you!” “You are such a good friend.” “We’re so proud to be your parents.”

Remember, a morsel of sincere praise goes a long way toward building a child’s confidence.


Encourage your child to pursue their passions.

If they are good at acting, suggest they join the drama club. If they love animals, encourage them to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Many dyslexic people have exceptional social skills and good emotional intelligence.


Promote a growth mindset.

Encourage your child to see failures as learning opportunities.  Tell them about a time when you experienced failure and how you benefitted from the experience. For tips and ideas on developing a growth mindset in your child, check out This Open Door Book review, Are You Learning the Power of Yet? The author provides excellent recommendations for reframing failure.

Foster a positive self-image and discourage negative self-talk. Check out this Open Door Blog Reading your child’s emotions for more tips.

Encourage social connections and resiliency in your child.


Provide support and accommodations.

Once you have accommodations in place for your child at school, check in with your child and teacher to make sure the accommodations are happening.

Check out these Open Door Blogs on Classroom Accommodations and Approaching your child’s teacher about dyslexia for help.


Understand how dyslexic children see the world differently.

Check out this animated video from the British Dyslexia Association: Understanding dyslexia animated video.

Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is written for parents of children with dyslexia.



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