Socio-Emotional Learning

A wide range of social and emotional characteristics can emerge in dyslexic children as they struggle to read in a traditional setting. Understanding the characteristics that may emerge as a result of dyslexia may help to remediate some of the additional struggles related to the disability, but also may help us understand those who thrive despite (or because of) being identified with dyslexia.

Children with dyslexia face unique socio-emotional challenges as a result of their learning differences. Understanding the socio-emotional profiles of children with dyslexia as well as those traits that are most associated with positive psychosocial adjustment will enable more targeted treatments for overall well-being in this population.

The Dyslexia Center seeks to study a multitude of socio-emotional constructs relevant to children with dyslexia, and to begin to apply this knowledge to curricula and programs in order to achieve improved quality of life and education for individuals with dyslexia.

Some of these constructs include:

  • Resilience: the ability to recover or “bounce back” from adverse events or circumstances
  • Motivation: the process which drives someone towards a particular goal or action
  • Stereotype threat: the belief or fear of confirming a negative perception of a particular social group to which one identifies
  • Grit: passion or determination for a long-term goal; perseverance

The project goals are:

  • Create an online assessment tool called for teachers that comprehensively assesses levels of key socio-emotional traits found to be relevant for middle school students with dyslexia and learning disabilities, considering the social and emotional challenges these specific individuals may face.  
  • Validate the existence of stereotype threat in children with dyslexia, learning disabilities and enrolled in special education using cognitive psychology and neuroscience approaches, and to uncover the cognitive mechanisms of this phenomena in order to determine how to address it.
  • Develop and implement school and mentoring programs to address the socio-emotional challenges experienced by those with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and other special needs. The particular focus is on reducing the threat of being stereotype and increasing motivation, improving mindset, and fostering resiliency.

For more information please contact SEL@ucsf.edu.

This project is funded by the Oak Foundation.