An English teacher working in Russia notices that their student has adequate speaking and listening skills for their level, but really struggles when it comes to writing and reading, both in English and in the student's first language.

How can the said teacher politely tell the student that they have signs of being dyslexic and that they might benefit from visiting a doctor?

For note, I am not the one having this problem, it is happening to my colleague pretty much right now.

The student is 28.

  • 4
    What stops your colleague from just telling the student exactly that ("You have signs from being dyslexic. You might benefit from visiting a doctor about it")? Aug 15, 2018 at 12:40
  • Is this happening to a child? They might not know what to do with that information. In that case, would the parents not also be informed at the same time?
    – user8671
    Aug 15, 2018 at 12:56
  • @Kozaky The student is 28. Aug 15, 2018 at 13:00
  • @XtremeBaumer Good question. Or, probably, a good self-standing answer. :) Aug 15, 2018 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


I would have thought that a teacher would have some kind of training on this kind of matter. If they have been trained how to identify dyslexia with some degree of certainty then surely the correct course of action to follow was part of that training? And if they have not had such training, then how can they be so certain that this student has dyslexia?

I can't speak for Russia, but in many other countries there is protocol to follow both in teacher-student communications and also when it comes to medical matters, which this may or may not be. The problem is that this is an interpersonal skills site, and an "etiquette" answer might sound very reasonable yet go against the proper procedures.

Your colleague needs to know the correct protocol to follow for this situation in your country as their own job is at stake if they say or do the wrong thing. There should be resources available to your colleague to refer to, and if not then they should refer to a senior teacher or the head for advice.

  • 2
    In case the teacher isn't sure about the protocol, there should be resources available to him and if the resources are other teachers (I think that worth noting) Aug 15, 2018 at 13:11
  • @XtremeBaumer Agreed, and added.
    – Astralbee
    Aug 15, 2018 at 13:19
  • 3
    The context is "an English teacher working in Russia". As a former ESL teacher (working in Japan), I can state that many of us had little more than a college degree and minimal training on the course material. Certainly we had zero training in identifying/dealing with things like dyslexia. Moreover, I don't know how Russia deals with this condition, whether public-school teachers have the training or capacity to identify and treat it.
    – Andrew
    Aug 15, 2018 at 16:56

Just speak to the student, 1 on 1 quietly somewhere where there is no one around. Start by bringing up the conversation "Hey I noticed you speak and listen really well, and thats amazing (bring up the strengths of the student), but you seem to struggle in writing and reading a lot more than you should have, and that is fine, but it might be due to a condition known as ...."

And then suggest the course of action. Firstly, I have to applaud the teacher for at least being able to identify the situation and the potential cause, this can go a long way for helping the student. Just kindly suggest a visit to the doctor, after all there is no harm. If the student has no family members around him/her, then it would be great that someone follows the student to the doctor, since it was mentioned he/she struggles in reading and writing.

The teacher can also look online for possible Dyslexia tests, I am not sure how accurate those are but it could help in clearing the situation or give us a better judgement.

We do not want the student to be feared of the doctor or a potential Dyslexia condition, it is important the teacher tries to phrase it in a manner when speaking to the student that it is better for him/her to visit the doctor, just to find out so we can help the student. Whatever the outcome is, we should just accept it and make the best out of it.

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