Understanding Emotional Impacts Of Dyslexia

Last Updated on October 5, 2023 by Editorial Team


Emotion is one of the most significant and impactful aspects of anyone’s life that works towards shaping their behavioral characteristics. For those with learning or other similar compromises, emotions can be further crucial, as they may need a cut-above stimulus to compete.

These emotional consequences may differ from one person to another, but they follow almost the same predictable trajectory, which represents how children with learning disabilities are affected emotionally when their needs and challenges are not recognized.  

To understand and communicate better, it is important first to understand their emotional sequences and how dyslexia can affect their emotions. Consequently,  contributing to assist them with some of their challenges and forming a more understanding and empathetic society towards all can be occasionally obligatory.

Effects of Dyslexia on Emotions

Effect of dyslexia on emotions

Researchers like Diana Tajik[1] outlined that individuals with dyslexia have a huge impact on emotions. The reasons behind the same can be linked to cognitive abilities or emotional regulations. To comprehend the same in detail, we shall explore areas where Dyslexia plays in emotions.

1. Revved Up Performance Anxiety  

It is an unsaid but very obvious fact that when children struggle to read, It may make them more anxious owing to stress, which can affect their performance. Even in the workplace, they may feel stressed when a ‘simple’ task often seems arduous. 

The word ‘simple’ before the word ‘task’ can have a major impact on how dyslexics process and respond to something. It is possible that when someone says that a task is simple, they perceive it to be done effortlessly. Taking much longer to solve a problem and come up with a solution here may cause significantly more frustration and performance anxiety.

Research by Julia M. Carroll[2] remarked that students with dyslexia showed higher levels of anxiety. These were evident academically and socially. The research suggested that assassinating their emotional well-being before entering higher education can enhance their personality. 

2. Increased Test Anxiety

In conventional education, tests are often preceded by reading, comprehension, phonological awareness, etc. It is a known fact that these are some aspects of education in which kids struggle. These may account for creating a sense of test anxiety. 

Jason M. Nelson[3] studied test anxiety in various college students to evaluate their state of mind. The results outlined that working memory and non-verbal abilities can be emergent predictors of test anxiety measures. Thus, ameliorating these abilities can drastically reduce test anxiety. 

3. Increased Social Anxiety

People often struggle with social anxiety[4] owing to baseless perceptions. When children or adults are unable to process and retrieve the information, they may avoid participating in teamwork or interaction. Consequently, they prefer to keep away from social activities to reduce the risk of exposing what they lack. This, in turn, may lead them to avoid their peers, both in the classroom and in the workplace. 

What can be a more social place for these children than school? With increased anxiety and depression, and lowered self-esteem, kids may start avoiding their peers and school in general. For them, this may be seen as a more recurring issue. The longer they stay at home, the more they may start avoiding school. It is possible that at one point, especially teens may want to drop out of school entirely.

4. Lower Self-Esteem

Many individuals are aware of their need to trust their ability to read and recognize the information. This may result in lower self-esteem[5].

In classrooms and workplaces, reading and writing make a crucial facet of the learning process while also determining the progression of an individual. Realizing the same can lead to amplified confidence and self-esteem in all scenarios. 

5. Depression

Most of us may agree the fact that the education system is rigid in most aspects and the resistance to change and adapt to different kinds of learners. The Resistance to change may lead individuals to get them low. 

Jason M. Nelson[6] studied the reason behind depression in Dyslexics and found that SDR (Socially desirable responding) can play a crucial role. It also outlined that anxiety and depression can have similar reasons.

Dyslexia and Empathy – The Intrinsic Relationship Between the Two

Dyslexia and empathy

Despite the above effects, people can change their views on the scenario to get better. Since individuals may often feel like they are ‘outsiders; or ‘different’ from others, it is possible for them to develop a strong sense of decision, community spirit, or belongingness with others. This may develop a sense of stronger empathy and community spirit.

Such people can show greater emotional reactivity[7]. This implies stronger connectivity in the brain network, supporting self-awareness and emotions. Taking this as a clear edge, these individuals can make better bonding by connecting and assisting similar people.  With the drive to build connections with people alike, and struggling to ‘fit in’, dyslexic people may show higher empathic abilities in combination with altruistic tendencies. 


Dyslexia and other neurodevelopmental issues can have quite emotional and behavioral effects on children and adolescents. However, these outcomes are not inevitable. With adequate help, special needs children can learn how to improve their reading skills and fulfill their potential. This is why it is crucial to recognize dyslexia early on. If you feel that your child may struggle with dyslexia, you can start by sharing your concerns with your child’s teacher or school psychologist.


  1. The role of cognitive control and emotion regulation in predicting mental health problems in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. (2021). Diana Tajik-Parvinchi. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12868
  2. An assessment of anxiety levels in dyslexic students in higher education. (2010, December). Julia M. Carroll. https://doi.org/10.1348/000709905X66233
  3. Test Anxiety Among College Students With Specific Reading Disability (Dyslexia): Nonverbal Ability and Working Memory as Predictors. (2013, October). Jason M. Nelson. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219413507604
  4. The Social and Emotional Effects of Dyslexia – ProQuest. (n.d.). https://www.proquest.com/openview/8bc53de72e15d8b37cfd48f609a64f4a/1.pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=25066
  5. Self-esteem and anxiety in the educational histories of adult dyslexic students. (1999, November). Barbara Riddick. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-0909(199912)
  6. Socially Desirable Responding and College Students with Dyslexia: Implications for the Assessment of Anxiety and Depression. (2017, July). Jason M. Nelson. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1563
  7. University of California San Francisco. (2020, December 1). Children with dyslexia show stronger emotional responses | UC San Francisco. Children With Dyslexia Show Stronger Emotional Responses | UC San Francisco. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/11/419186/children-dyslexia-show-stronger-emotional-responses

Leave a Comment