5 Ways Dyslexia Can Affect Social Skills

By The Understood Team
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Dyslexia makes reading and spelling hard, but it can also affect social skills. Here are five common social challenges people with dyslexia may face—and ways you can help.

1. Not Getting the Joke

The dyslexia link: Struggling readers might not read as much as other people. So they might not get exposed to as many words, and the different ways people use them. As a result they may have a tougher time understanding idioms or puns.

How you can help: Look for ways to improve vocabulary and word play.

2. Trouble Finding the Right Words

The dyslexia link: People with dyslexia can’t always find the words they want to say—especially if they feel strongly about the topic or need to respond quickly.

How you can help: Leave time to think and process. Slow down the overall pace of the conversation.

3. Missing Social Cues

The dyslexia link: People with dyslexia can have a harder time reading body language, facial expressions, and other social cues.

How you can help: Watch a favorite show with the volume off. Talk about how characters are feeling based on their body language.

4. Trouble Messaging Friends

The dyslexia link: People with dyslexia may shy away from texting because they have trouble understanding the abbreviations.

How you can help: Explain how the abbreviations work. Point out that some are based on spelling (“idk” for “I don’t know”) and others on how letters and numbers sound (“l8r” for “later”).

5. Remembering Things Wrong

The dyslexia link: Dyslexia can make it hard to remember specific words or details. This can lead to confusion about what friends said.

How you can help: Play games that can help strengthen memory. For example, name the different kinds of cars on the street and then say those names again a few minutes later.

About the Author

About the Author

The Understood Team 

is made up of passionate writers, editors, and community moderators. Many of them learn and think differently, or have kids who do.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Sheldon H. Horowitz, EdD 

is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

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