U. Gosk, M. Dominiak-Kochanek

The Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University (POLAND)
According to ICD-10 dyslexia is classified as a specific reading disability stemming from deficit in phonological processing which might be also accompanied by the difficulties in writing. Given the nature of dyslexia one can assume that adolescents with dyslexia must face with enormous difficulties in school setting. Reading and spelling skills are at the core of students’ grading. Thus, feelings of inadequacy and distress resulting from the difficulties in matching school requirements may accompany students with dyslexia at school. Considering this fact, the crucial question arises about the frequency and type of support provided by teachers and peers to students with dyslexia. This study focused on social support perceived by students with dyslexia at school and its role in predicting their school achievements. Social support as the multidimensional construct was differentiated in terms of four types provided by teachers and peers. That was informative support relaying on providing student with crucial information enabling to understand a certain problem; instrumental support focused on developing in student procedural knowledge about how to solve a certain problem; emotional support manifested by the expression of care and acceptance toward student; evaluative support aimed at raising self-esteem of student through verbal reinforcements about the self. Each type of social support was measured considering the frequency with which participants perceived it from teachers and peers. The crucial aspect of the research was to define if and which type of support from peers and teachers may contribute positively to participants’ school achievements. Since dyslexia is defined primarily by deficits in reading, grade point average in Polish, history and civic education was taken into account, and then, transformed into one indicator of school achievements by calculating the mean value of the three subjects. The data was collected from 128 students who had been diagnosed as having developmental dyslexia. The age of participants ranged from 13 to 16 years old (M = 14.32; SD = 0.87). The results showed that students with dyslexia perceived to the greatest extent informative support from teachers who offered them this type of help much more frequently than any other type of support. The second most frequently perceived type of support manifested by teachers toward participants was instrumental support while emotional and evaluative support was displayed relatively rarely. Unlike, peers manifested more frequently emotional support as compared to informative, instrumental and evaluative types of support. Two regression analyses were run separately for four types of social support provided by teachers and peers as the potential predictors of school achievements of students with dyslexia. Surprisingly, the results consistently showed that regardless of who provides social support at school setting, evaluative support is the only positive predictor of school grades achieved by students with dyslexia. Thus, the type of social support perceived by participants most frequently in classroom from teachers and peers seemed not to be the type of support which they really need to improve school achievements. The results suggested that teachers perceived students with dyslexia one-sided as youngsters with reading problems exclusively rather than adolescents who need evaluative reinforcements in the course of negotiating the self.