How Extracurriculars Boost Self-Esteem in Dyslexic Learners

Indiana Lee
5 mins
Indiana Lee

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How Extracurriculars Boost Self-Esteem in Dyslexic Learners

Extracurricular activities are beneficial for almost every child and teen. They help teach essential life skills like time management, teamwork, and leadership. For students with dyslexia, however, extracurriculars can provide even greater benefits, boosting self-esteem and social skills, and helping those children feel more confident about other areas of their lives.

Whether your child gravitates toward sports, arts, or other special interest clubs, getting them involved in extracurricular activities can help them thrive outside of the classroom while preparing them for the “real world” from a very early age.

When parents and educators work together to support a student’s involvement in extracurriculars, that student is likely to reap even greater rewards.

Confidence Issues in Dyslexic Learners

A 2022 survey by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Difficulties found that 88% of parents who have children with dyslexia suggested that their child struggled with self-esteem issues. Students with dyslexia can experience a variety of issues that could impact their confidence, including difficulty expressing their knowledge of certain subjects, lower reading and writing skills, and more.

Thankfully, there are many ways to support dyslexic students’ self-confidence, starting with understanding their strengths, which often include:

  • High creativity
  • Great spatial knowledge
  • Big picture ways of thinking
  • Strong reasoning skills
  • Out-of-the-box problem-solving abilities

These strengths can be utilized not only in a classroom setting but in sports, clubs, music lessons, and beyond.

Fostering Skills for the Future

The best way to get your student involved in extracurriculars is simply to cater to their interests. If your child loves watching sports on television or playing in the backyard, consider signing them up for a team. Whether your child plays basketball, baseball, or runs on the track team, there are countless benefits they can pick up from sports, including better focus and organizational skills that they can also use to succeed academically.

Maybe your child doesn’t want to be an athlete, but they’re interested in art or music. According to the British Dyslexia Association, Involvement in music can boost a child’s self-esteem and help them develop skills that they might otherwise find challenging, including memory, concentration, and organization. You could help your child pursue these interests and help them gain valuable experience by enrolling them in an online graphic design course. They can learn about the principles of color, type, and design during summer courses that don’t interfere with their regular schoolwork.

The more confident your child becomes in the extracurricular of their choice, the more you’re likely to see that self-esteem carry over into the classroom and into other interests. They might start sharpening their skills on specific things as they think about the future and who they might want to be. Some of the best careers for dyslexic learners include:

  • Graphic design
  • Marketing
  • Culinary arts
  • Landscape architecture

These are all career paths that can stem from hobbies and extracurricular activities. By the time your child is ready to step out into the world on their own, they could be so self-assured about these specific areas of interest that they excel in their career and their personal life without feeling held back in any way.

Striking a Healthy Balance

Pursuing extracurriculars and hobbies can not only boost self-esteem and social skills for dyslexic students but can become something your child looks forward to every day. Of course, there are still academic and personal demands they’ll need to keep up with. It’s another learning opportunity, as they have to figure out how to balance those responsibilities with their interests.

As a parent, caregiver, or educator, you can help a child with dyslexia learn how to strike a healthy balance between their hobbies and responsibilities by teaching them how to assess their priorities. Extracurriculars can be fun, exciting, and beneficial, but they can only be tackled after academics and personal responsibilities are taken care of. Other strategies that can help balance hobbies include:

  • Helping them let go of activities they’re not interested in
  • Scheduling dedicated time for hobbies and extracurriculars
  • Focusing on one hobby at a time
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Keeping special equipment and gear organized

Even if you have to be the one taking charge of that balance now, you’re teaching your child how to manage their time and keep themselves on a schedule and routine. Again, those are skills they can carry with them into the future – with confidence.

It might take a bit of encouragement to get your child involved in extracurriculars, especially if they already struggle with self-esteem issues. Don’t hesitate to inform them about some of the benefits they might experience, and how certain extracurriculars could help them find their passion.

Additionally, consider reminding them of some successful individuals with dyslexia who made their passions work for them, including John Lennon, Pablo Picasso, and Steven Spielberg. There’s no doubt that these individuals and others, took extra time away from their schoolwork to focus on their extracurricular passions, and the world changed for the better because of it. Your child could be the next person to change the world.

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