Dyslexia counselling and support

Therapists can provide counselling and coaching to assist clients with adult dyslexia. In this article we'll look at what dyslexia is, how it can affect you and how a counsellor can support.

What is dyslexia?

In basic terms dyslexia affects the way in which the person with dyslexia processes information. A specific area of the brain is normally affected, and this results in problems with processing information from a range of inputs.

It is not just reading and writing that are commonly affected, often delays in information processing affect sufferers in verbal conversation as well. Classically pauses while "processing", difficulty with spelling, difficulty with comprehension while reading, problems with "proof" reading, and difficulties with essay writing are all commonplace.

It should be noted that there are different types of dyslexia, some complex, some severe and some which affect mathematics, memory or speech more than other types. Not all dyslexia cases are the same.

What other effects does dyslexia have?

There are a range of knock on effects that are often seen in cases of adult dyslexia. As a result of problems during childhood and adolescence there can often be issues with:

  • Fear of failure.
  • Negative self image because of difficulties in study and learning.
  • History of bullying because of "pauses" in speech or listening.
  • Internalised negative things that have been said, classically "stupid", "slow", "lazy".
  • Higher levels of stress. This is caused by the added strain of processing information generally, and the fears of looking "stupid".
  • Anger management. Repeated negative comments, difficult challenges and fear of failure result in defensive or offensive strategies of behaviour.
  • Some sufferers are unable to measure the passage of time and are often very late or early. Even the thought of managing time can be stressful.
  • Some adult sufferers are over keen to revisit academic areas in a desperate attempt to gain success, often without the resources they need.
  • Numbers and mathematics are often affected, as is short-term memory. Thus a sufferer may be unable to remember facts, dates, numbers or read material. It can be hard to commit facts to memory during study.
  • Post traumatic stress effect. Often sufferers are more likely to have symptoms of traumatic stress, abuse, relationship difficulties, study issues or work issues. Sufferers often have involvement with legal or social difficulties as a knock on effect of the condition.

What can help difficulties with dyslexia as an adult?

There are two main reasons people tend to seek assistance through counselling or life coaching for dyslexia.

1. Dealing with the negative things from the past. These can involve unpicking learned negative behaviours, fear of failure, hurt from negative comments, abuse or bullying.

2. Creating new strategies for the present and future. These can involve learning anger and stress management techniques, study methods, goal setting, calm time management, memory skills and other personal strategies.

Whether you choose counselling or coaching will depend on what you'd like support with. Typically counsellors are equipped to help with past concerns while coaching for dyslexia is more focused on the present and future. 

Getting a diagnosis

You may already have had an educational psychology assessment and be aware that you have dyslexia. If you have not, then it is highly recommended that you seek a referral for such an assessment as soon as possible.

Therapists can assist with non-specific learning difficulties, but it is a major step forward to have a clear diagnosis not only of dyslexia, but of the type and nature of your condition. This helps you to design new strategies for learning and study much easier.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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