For some children, specific reading disabilities have everything to do with letters and sounds, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Others struggle with listening or reading comprehension and some have long histories of word-finding difficulty and poor receptive and expressive vocabulary skills.
Your son likely has a combination of these types of problems and has almost certainly experienced more than a few embarrassing moments when he misheard the teacher, made mistakes while reading aloud in class, or misused a word in conversation. These could have an impact on how he is perceived by his peers and either cause them to pull away or worse, tease him or limit their social interactions with him. For some children with LD, this situation is made worse by their difficulty reading social cues. They may not realize that they are standing too close to the listener during conversation or they may repeat a joke that was just told thinking that they might get a second laugh from the same crowd. Kind but direct feedback, appropriate modeling, and lots of opportunities to practice will often make a tremendous difference in helping children with LD to “fit in” and enjoy satisfying social connections with their peers.
Remember: LD is not one thing…it is a category under which many different types of specific disorders may reside. And social and emotional issues often go hand in hand with academic skill deficits.
Children with dyslexia not only have learning problems but often carry with them other areas of weakness and difficulties. Academic and social ramifications exist with dyslexia. Because a dyslexic has difficulties reading, sometimes this will carry into specific school problems such as the inability to complete reading assignments and difficulties comprehending written material. The social ramifications of this disorder will include the inability to read newspapers, directions, maps, movie subtitles, menus, brochures, and so forth. This can cause so much embarrassment and frustration to a dyslexic, causing them to withdraw and not become outspoken. There is nothing worse than looking "dumb" in front of your friends. On another side though, I know a lot of dyslexics who are incredibly outgoing, popular, and have a gigantic social agenda. The bottom line is that every child is different. Every child carries their unique talents and strengths with them. The trick is to find out what your child's strengths are and then focus on that. Never focus on the weaknesses.
Yes, there can be a connection. Any failure or insecurity will undermine a boy's self-confidence.
But, first, the most important thing is to be sure what the problem is exactly. Schools over-use the term dyslexia every time a child doesn't respond to the prevailing methods and dogmas in a school. Many so-called dyslexics are actually normal kids. As Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld puts it: "Some children give up even before the fourth grade level. Those children become known as ‘dyslexic’--a fancy medical term coined especially to describe the perfectly normal, intelligent youngster who can't learn how to read by the whole-word method." (The New Illiterates, 1971).
Also see video.