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home : columns : dear harriette April 29, 2016

6/5/2014 11:06:00 AM
Daughter getting bullied about dyslexia

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has been getting bullied in school. She just turned 11. She is a bit slow in school because she has dyslexia, but she is able to function well in a normal classroom setting. The other girls in her class often make fun of her because she is a slow reader and writer; they do not understand that she is learning impaired. The teachers have not been involved, and I am hurt that my daughter is so upset when she comes home from school. I have tried calling the school, but it has not been helpful at all. Should I go directly to the parents of these children? -- Upset and Worried, Manhattan, New York

DEAR UPSET AND WORRIED: Schedule an appointment with your daughter's teacher, guidance counselor and the principal. Get someone to respond. At the meeting, explain what your daughter's condition is and what support you need the school to offer her. Let the officials know that other children are ridiculing her and crushing her feelings. Ask them to be more observant so that they can support her during moments of bullying.

Find out if you can get an educational adjustment program (EAP) for your daughter that will provide additional help for her special needs.  

If the school remains unwilling to help you, consider changing schools. Your daughter deserves to attend a school that will pay attention to her needs and help other students to be mindful. As far as going to the other parents, that is often tricky. Without the backup of the educators to help reinforce good behavior, it could easily turn into your daughter's word against their children's.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just finished my freshman year of college, which I found to be very academically and socially challenging. I had difficulty managing my heavy workload in all my subjects and often found myself finishing assignments at the last minute. I didn't do as well as I would have liked. I also found it difficult to balance my workload and social life. There were situations where I knew I should stay in and finish my work, but I went out to party with my friends anyway. I don't want to miss out on opportunities to hang out with my friends. For the rest of my college experience, how can I make sure I'm on top of my schoolwork, but also make the most of my social life? -- Work Hard, Play Hard, Tucson, Arizona  

DEAR WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: As in school, so in life. You cannot do everything well if you do it all at the same time; it's all about scheduling and balance. Keep a carefully crafted calendar of your responsibilities. Write in studying time, especially for exams. Give yourself times that you can socialize as well. Then honor your schedule. While it may be fun to go to a spontaneous party, resist the temptation when you haven't finished your homework or you have a big test the next day. Reward yourself with playtime only when you deserve it. Yes, you will miss out on some activities, but in the end, you will be successful, responsible and happy.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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