University of Stavanger: In the book "Reading difficulties and life difficulties" it is shown that there is a clear connection between reading and writing difficulties and mental problems.

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The connection between reading difficulties and mental health is not a new discovery. Nevertheless, Reading Difficulties and Difficulties in Life is the first book in Scandinavia that connects these two topics. 

This is what the University of Stavanger writes in a news item about the book.

 

Reading difficulties cause mental difficulties

The book presents a study in Bergen which shows that there is a clear connection between difficulties with reading and mental problems at the primary school level in the Norwegian school.

The study showed that the children who had early and persistent reading difficulties also struggled most mentally, and for this group the difficulties increased over time. The study also showed that the mental difficulties decreased when the student's reading skills improved.

It turns out that those who had managed to get out of the reading difficulties that they had in the first years of primary school, had also improved their mental health. And those who still had reading difficulties at the end of primary school, struggled more with anxiety and depression. This may indicate that early extra efforts to improve reading skills can also lead to the children showing less anxiety and behavioral difficulties at school, says Heiervang. 
It is also important to help students with reading and writing difficulties to compensate for their difficulties by helping them to develop good learning strategies and to see that they can be resourceful even if they do not have a flawless spelling or do not read as fast as others, says Edvin Bru at the Center for Behavioral Research at the University of Stavanger.

  

Early help prevents mental health problems

Several authors in the book emphasize that early diagnosis, preferably in preschool age, and that early help helps. 

Getting adequate help is important. Children can feel better mentally, and this in turn will lead to better mastery of reading and writing. Of an sample of 15 per cent of the pupils with the worst reading skills in first grade, after intensive and structured teaching in small groups, it will be possible to get the sample of pupils with poor reading skills down to 2 per cent, says Torleiv Høien, former head of the Reading Center. 

Høien emphasizes the importance of an intensive teaching offer early on, and preferably an offer that allows for a one-to-one relationship between teacher and student.  

This increases the chance of intensity, endurance and frequency in the work. Intensive, structured teaching 3-4 hours a week may be enough. It is also important to stimulate the individual child's belief that he or she can do it, says Høien and points out the importance of the teaching being set up so that the student experiences success. 

 

Useful information for teachers and parents 

With this book, the editors and article authors want to show the latest on the international research front when it comes to dyslexia and mental health. The target group for the book is students in special education, pedagogy and psychology, as well as teachers and employees in the pedagogical-psychological service and the health service. The material is adapted in a way that will also provide parents with useful information. 

Through more knowledge, we want to make everyday life easier for people who have reading and writing difficulties. The last part of the book is devoted to learning and mastering strategies and as such suitable for teachers and people who work in the PP service, says Edvin Bru.

 

The first book published by Hertervig Akademisk

Reading difficulties and life difficulties - about dyslexia and mental health is the first book to be published by the new publisher Hertervig Akademisk. 

From publishing small brochures on mental health, the publisher in the nineties took the step to become a publisher of books, primarily in the fields of mental health. We have now taken a third step and moved into the academic world. We therefore want close contact with professionals at the University of Stavanger. We will primarily publish books related to health and social sciences, but also pedagogy and cultural sciences, says publishing director Per A. Thorbjørnsen.

 

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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