Chathurika Kannangara’s Paper Proposal

Possible Positive Psychology Intervention for Dyslexia

The purpose of this research is to identify strengths among individuals with Dyslexia and to design a Positive Psychology intervention to support such individuals. Positive Psychology can be explained as a scientific field that focuses to study the strengths and virtues which enable individuals as well as communities to flourish. Dyslexia is a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process in areas as such reading, spelling and writing. It is a persistent condition. This research aims to adapt positive psychology techniques (such as using signature strengths of an individual, resilience, etc) to support individuals with dyslexia. Participants will be undergraduate and college level students with dyslexia. The first phase of the study will be conducted on a sample of undergraduate and college level students with dyslexia in Bolton, UK. The second phase will extend the work nationally and internationally. Positive Psychology is not about fixing what is wrong with individuals, instead it is about developing and building what is work well for individuals.
This research aims to enhance the strengths of individuals with dyslexia. The approach we are adopting is conceptually similar to the cybernetic process model of Self-Regulation which was adapted to the positive psychology (Carver & Scheier, 1982; Gross, 1998; Gross & Thompson, 2007). The self-regulation model proposes that control of behavior may be achieved by applying one of the following methods, or any combination of them: (a) situation selection, (b) situation modification (c) attention deployment, (d) cognitive change, or (e) response modulation. The cybernetic process model of self-regulation is the concept that behavior is motivated by the difference between how things are (one’s perceived environment) and how one would like things to be (one’s goals). The impulse to behave in a certain way represents an attempt to change the way things are, so that they would become more similar to the way one would like things to be. Therefore the reaction towards one’s own challenges can be avoided and alternative strengths found which would help in the development of self. Similarly the concept of positive and negative feedback can be utilized in order to further understand the proposed system. The research is aiming to enable the individual in a re-conceptualization for enable them to develop a positive self-concept. One of the objectives of this research is to help individuals identify such self-regulation goals.
The first phase of the research aims to identify the signature strengths among individuals with dyslexia using the Virtues in Action (VIA) Strengths Survey. In order to conduct the survey for individuals with dyslexia, the VIA survey has been hosted on a website which has been developed in the form of dyslexia friendly context, ie. the ability for respondents to change fonts, font sizes, background colors and text to speech option to hear the statements in the survey. The website has been designed following the British Dyslexia Association guidelines. Similarly, some other surveys which will help in identifying positive strengths of dyslexia will also be posted on the webpage and participants will be encouraged to try them as well. The findings of the first phase will be utilized for the second phase of the research, which is to develop positive psychology intervention for adults with dyslexia.

Authors: ​Chathurika Sewwandi Kannangara ,PhD student, Education and Psychology Academic Group, University of Bolton.
​Jerome Carson, Professor, Education and Psychology Academic Group, University of Bolton.
Samurdhi Kaushalye Munasinghe, Software Developer, Parker Sandford Pvt Ltd, Wigan.

Cybernetic traditions:

  • 5) Education and conversation
  • 9) Social sciences

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