How does diagnosis of dyslexia impact on identity, self-belief and reading progress in children and adults?


Funded PhD project, Coventry University


Katherine Blundell with supervision from Prof. Julia Carroll, Dr. Georgia Niolaki and Dr. Helen Johnson


This study aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the impact of identifying dyslexia in children and adults.  Of specific interest is the effect on identity, self-belief and reading progress in light of the age at which a learner is identified as dyslexic. It is hoped that this study will lead to:

  • Improvements in dyslexic experience following diagnosis.
  • Raised awareness amongst educational professionals as to the impact of diagnosis.
  • An extension of support and services in place for dyslexic children and adults following diagnosis.


This study will build upon the existing/emerging body of research into the effect of diagnosis of dyslexia in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.  Specifically, whether the impact of diagnosis is wholly positive and beneficial for skills such as reading, and the potential implications are for identify and self-belief.  The study may provide further justification for the recommendation for learners, once identified as dyslexic, to be offered an “assessment of emotional wellbeing” (Carroll and Iles, 2006:659) in addition to assessment of cognitive and academic achievement.

Additionally, a better understanding of any causal relationship between literacy difficulties and mental health difficulties is sought.  The individual coping strategies used by dyslexic learners, and how / when strategies were developed is of interest, to better inform appropriate intervention and support.  Effective strategies can be promoted and reinforced, whilst potentially less effective strategies can be challenged.  The study may reinforce the need for appropriate counselling to “bridge the gap” filled by emotional avoidance (Alexander-Passe, 2006).

The study is likely to be of interest to the dyslexia and literacy research community, as well as those involved in assessment and support services for dyslexic individuals.  This may include Special Educational Need Co-ordinators, and Learning Support Managers, Educational Psychologists, Specialist (SpLD) Teacher/Assessor, Needs Assessors and Non-Medical Helpers, as well as teaching and support staff.

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