Does Your Child Get Bullied Because of Being Dyslexic?

By Morgan Kimball 

Students with dyslexia or any learning disabilities often get teased and bullied because of their learning differences from their classmates, and they have to get extra help from the teachers. Bullying is a problem for all students with learning disabilities, as their differences make them easy targets. Low self-esteem from simply living with a disability adds to the problem.

According to the article Dyslexia and Bullying – Yale Dyslexia, “As a consequence, dyslexic children, when asked to read aloud in class, are shamed and embarrassed. This frequently leads to bullying. Consider this definition of bullying: “When someone tries to make you feel less about who you are as a person, and you aren’t able to make it stop.” We thought of how applicable that statement is to the many boys and girls with dyslexia we have come to know.”’  Far too often, students with dyslexia are getting bullied.

A good step to prevent bullying for dyslexic students is to get them tested/screened early and get the help they need to succeed in school. This will not only help the bullying in school but will help the students understand their disabilities and get them to read and write like their classmates sooner. 

What can a teacher do to help? According to Cambridge English Qualifications, here are 10 ways to help develop an inclusive learning environment:  

  1. Create a supportive and collaborative classroom culture. Get to know all your students as individuals and encourage them to get to know each other. By doing this, it will help everyone feel comfortable thinking about ways to do tasks and ask for support. 
  2. Use multisensory input and activities. For example, use flashcards, puppets, story videos, and real objects in the classroom. 
  3. Offer learners choice. “For example, learners might ‘draw’ rather than write notes during a listening task or while preparing for a speaking task.”
  4. Have L-shaped cards available. Having L-shaped cards available for your students to frame sections of the textbook pages and this will help them focus their attention. 
  5. Present new language in small and manageable chunks. Don’t overload your students.
  6. Spend some time explicitly teaching exam strategies. 
  7. Use concept-checking questions. “Example CCQs for the adjective quick might be: ‘What things do you know that are quick?’, ‘What’s the opposite of quick?’ or ‘Are snails quick?’. You could also use pictures of objects or gestures to check your learners’ understanding.”
  8. Offer lots of opportunities for learners to recap and review language. “Use varied techniques to help learners memorize new words, including drawing, music or rhythm, movement, gesture, and visualization techniques.”
  9. Try different approaches to giving feedback. 
  10. Remember that assessments should be ongoing. “Remember that assessments should be ongoing and isn’t the end of the learning process.”