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Negative emotions can exacerbate academic struggles, and school climate can also be a significant factor. When students don’t feel a sense of safety or belonging, they are less likely to attend school and are more likely to engage in negative behavior.

Studies show that dyslexia^—which is the most common and most studied learning disability^—increases the risk of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and peer rejection.1 It’s unclear whether social-emotional difficulties are caused by the same deficits that affect information processing or if these difficulties arise as a consequence of the stress of repeated failure.2

New research on bullying underscores the importance of addressing the social and emotional needs of students with disabilities. One study found that when students with disabilities are bullied, they are more likely to respond aggressively—not only to their bullies but to other children as well.4

Another study looked at bullying rates from grade school through high school and found that the bullying rates for students with disabilities remained consistently higher than the rates for students who were not identified with disabilities.5