GROWING UP WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY 👯
My public school journey and how I learned to cope.
- •I have spatial dysgraphiaPeople with spatial dysgraphia have a defect in the understanding of space. They will have illegible spontaneously written work, illegible copied work, and problems with drawing abilities. (From Wikipedia).
- •Basically...My handwriting is shit, I have a hard time keeping my place when I read, and my coordination is all out of whack. So hobbies like playing sports, playing instruments, and drawing are kind of out of the question for me.
- •It's something I deal with everyday.
- •It's hard to "diagnose" and is often mistaken as being lazy or unmotivated.I struggled everyday to keep up with my peers and many of my "teachers" simply thought I wasn't trying hard enough. You can imagine how difficult that is for a little kid.
- •I was always separated from my friends. Put into "special" reading and writing classes.I was also constantly being pulled out of school to meet with specialists, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists. Again as a kid, you don't know why you're different. You just know that you're different. And that can be a hard thing for a kid to grasp.
- •I was literally anxious all the time and would go to extreme lengths to miss school or put off assignments.
- •Eventually my parents caught on and worked hard to make sure I got the help I needed.I was given an individualized education plan (IEP) to help accommodate my disability. I could type any assignment, I had extended times on all tests, and never had to read out loud in class.
- •But I still struggled.You can't cure a learning disability. All school work was laborious for me, and it seemed like all my efforts were futile. So I stopped trying.
- •I spent my whole childhood having other people tell me what I was capable of, and as I got older I realized something...
- •FUCK THAT.
- •I can do whatever I set my mind to.I began to put my heart and soul into creative extra curricular activities. I lived in the editing bay and the dark room. I took directing and screen writing classes on the weekend. I may not have been great at academics but I loved to tell stories. That was my strength.
- •When college came around I had the option to continue my IEP and decided not to.While my IEP helped me cope. I think I used it as a crutch more often than not.
- •...I ended up excelling in college way more than I ever did in school.
- •My education was now on my own terms.I was free to play to my strong suits, passions, and interests without administrators breathing down my neck.
- •Now my disability is an after thought.Sure it affects me on a daily basis but it doesn't hinder me in any way. I'm a well rounded adult living my dream of working in entertainment. I couldn't have asked for more even without a disability.
- •And to those struggling with disabilities I give you this advice.Your learning "disability" is not a disability at all. It's a learning difference. Our differences are not our weaknesses, rather they are our strength. Let you differences motivate you. You are capable of anything.