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From Anxiety to Achievement: Overcoming Dyslexia's Teenage Challenges

When Isla came to me, she looked just like many teenagers with dyslexia I've met: very polite but also very anxious inside. At that time, she didn't know she had dyslexia. It would be a few months before she got that diagnosis. But she did know that tests made her extremely anxious. No matter how much she studied, when the test came, her mind felt empty, like everything she learned had just vanished. This cycle of studying hard but failing caused her a lot of stress and even panic attacks. That's why she came for help.

As I got to know Isla, it was clear she was a visual thinker who had been hiding her dyslexia from her teachers, her family, and even herself by working very hard. She didn't read much for fun, had trouble with understanding time, struggled with maths, and yet managed to pass her tests by putting in more effort than her classmates.

Dyslexia is often thought of as just having trouble with reading and writing. And while that's true for young kids, as they grow older, those with dyslexia find ways to cope. For example, a child who couldn't read well might grow into a teenager who can get through homework by focusing on key words and skipping the small words that are confusing.

But then, things change around the age of 13. School isn't just about remembering facts anymore. Now, students are expected to think critically and solve new problems using what they've learned. This can be really tough for someone with dyslexia: their knowledge is usually patchy from trying to memorise information that doesn't stick. Dyslexic people learn best by actively doing and exploring, not just by passive reading or listening.

Suddenly, they're expected to remember everything for an exam, and it's overwhelming. This, along with the normal challenges of going from a child to a teenager, can lead to an identity crisis. They might think, "I can't trust my brain. I try to learn, but it just doesn't stick."

This crisis can lead to different reactions:

  1. They might rebel.

  2. They might disengage from schoolwork.

  3. They might try to ignore the problem.

  4. They might study even harder, but now they're also really anxious about tests.

All these reactions can make them feel worse about themselves.

I've worked with many teenagers with dyslexia who were scared to face their problems, worried about the next test, the next big exam, and what comes after school.

The Davis method is all about active learning that taps into the natural creativity of someone with dyslexia. We're going to showcase some of these techniques in an upcoming webinar. When teenagers with dyslexia find ways of learning that really work for them, they start feeling better about themselves very quickly.

People with dyslexia are naturally innovative. If they can get through school feeling good about themselves, they're ready to make a big positive impact on the world.



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