People with dyslexia often have to work harder than others to accomplish necessary tasks in school and in adult life. Dyslexia is not a simple reading problem. It is a disorder that affects how information is processed. There is no cure for dyslexia, so it is essential that people with dyslexia develop grit and tenacity in order to stick with necessary tasks and continue to create positive outcomes despite the many challenges they face. Inspiration plays a large role in the development of grit and tenacity in people with dyslexia. Maybe a young dyslexic learner that you know could use a little dyslexia inspiration intervention. What are some ways to help dyslexic learners find the inspiration that speaks to them?
Perhaps it sounds unoriginal, but one way to help a person to find their inspiration is through the use of inspirational quotes. They have been found to boost brain functioning and feelings of well-being. Using inspirational music, quotes, or stories can also give a boost to a person’s motivation, confidence, perseverance, and resilience.
In an article titled “From Languishing Dyslexia to Thriving Dyslexia: Developing a New Conceptual Approach to Working with People with Dyslexia,” Chathurika S. Kannagara describes how some dyslexic learners implemented specific strategies that positively changed their lives. Many of these strategies involves shifts in perspective about their situation. These shifts in perspective allowed the dyslexic learners to embrace hope, self-acceptance, and often ambition. Finding the right kind of inspiration can jump-start a positive shift in perspective for a dyslexic learner.
Quotes—that is, words—are not the only sources of inspiration. The use of inspirational music in schools is also a way for students to channel their emotions in a positive way. Studies have shown that listening to motivational music can reduce anxiety and improve mood. Music has been used effectively in hospitals to calm patients and help them cope with pain and other medical situations and procedures. It can be a comforting and powerful way to help students connect with their emotions and develop a more positive outlook on life.
Tobias Bashevkin of the University of Bergen studied the effects of different types of music on listeners. He stated that “while previous research has supported music as a strong modulator of emotion, our study uncovered that music also influences the content of thoughts. We found thoughts to be more positive, active, motivated, and constructive when listening to heroic music.”
Dyslexic learners can be very hard on themselves if they choose to focus on negative aspects of their differences. Imagine the benefits to young dyslexic students if their thoughts could regularly be refreshed in the direction of feeling more “positive, active, motivated, and constructive”!
With lifelong issues like dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and ASD, inspirational interventions can help children and teens develop the coping skills they need to face life’s challenges with a positive attitude. Never underestimate the power of inspiration as a way for non-neurotypical people to uplevel their life.
The music and/or inspirational quotes that will speak to your child all depends on your child. We are all different. Be observant of your child’s struggles as well as their strengths and help them find the music and/or inspirational words that speak to them. You may be surprised at the results.
(Side note: A dyslexia inspiration intervention is a term I made up to convey the idea of helping often-discouraged dyslexic learners find a little extra encouragement and motivation to keep going through the use of either inspirational quotes or music. As far as I know, it’s not a formal form of intervention.)
As an example, an inspirational poem that spoke to me when I was a young man is by Edmund Vance Cooke. To me, it resonated with empowering ideas about the grit and tenacity that many of us dyslexics have no choice but to develop. It gave me the courage to choose to keep going, no matter what life and my brain threw at me.
Please don’t be put off by its references to death; it’s really a poem about living and our daily opportunities to make choices. Remember that every person is different; this poem may not provide inspiration for your child or student, but I promise you there is something out there that will both touch their hearts and inspire them.
How Did You Die?
Edmund Vance Cooke (1866–1932)
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there—that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight—and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
Thank you for reading this article about ideas for a dyslexia inspiration intervention. For a thorough discussion of dyslexia, you may enjoy the second edition of my award-winning book Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio. In addition to facts on testing and accommodation, my book gives you the tools to provide the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require.
And to learn more about how every student best learns to read, you may also enjoy Failing Students or Failing Schools? A Parent’s Guide to Reading Instruction and Intervention, by reading specialist and shortlisted World Literacy Award nominee Faith Borkowsky.
Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Amazon author page for more information.
- The Role of the Visual Arts in Enhancing the Learning Process (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3274761/)
- Study finds heroic music stimulates empowering and motivating thoughts (https://www.psypost.org/2019/08/study-finds-heroic-music-stimulates-empowering-and-motivating-thoughts-54308)
- Positive Emotions and Academic Achievement (https://wp.nyu.edu/steinhardt-appsych_opus/positive-emotions-and-academic-achievement/)
- The Connection Between Mental Health and Academic Success (https://www.groveslearning.org/connection-between-mental-health-academic-success/)
- The Power of Music to Reduce Stress (https://psychcentral.com/stress/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress)
- Broderick, Patricia C., and Stacie Metz. “Learning to BREATHE: A Pilot Trial of a Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents.” Advances in School Mental Health Promotion 2, no. 1 (22 December 2001): 35-46. https://doi.org/10.1080/1754730X.2009.9715696
- Kannagara, Chathurika S. “From Languishing Dyslexia to Thriving Dyslexia: Developing a New Conceptual Approach to Working with People with Dyslexia.” Frontiers in Psychology, no. 6 (24 December 2015): https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01976