The other day I posted a blog about being able to write a book in a week. Some people are born to write and I was one of them, but it wasn’t always apparent that I would be a writer. Before I had this ambitious dream to not go to college and be an author, I was a fifth grader reading at a third grade level.
I would like to say that I was horrible at everything. I loved loved loved learning, but when I was tested on a subject it seemed like I wasn’t learning at all. It bummed me out when I never had a sticker on my paper. My teachers, even in third grade, were asking for me to stay after to re think things. On projects I always got high marks because I had a creative mind. I was always looking for a way to take a project to the next level. I remember having a project on animals and I video taped an interview with a giraffe or my project on “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William Mckinley and Me, Elizabeth” I made a quilt to show the stages of the book. My way of showing what I was learning was different from everyone else.
Different. I don’t think teachers were trained to have different kids in their class. I had teachers that were older and they were set in their ways. It was as if they didn’t see that kids could have different ways of going about things. I don’t know whether they didn’t have time to help or didn’t think the extra help would work. One of my teachers told my mom that I just need to work harder, but they didn’t understand that I was frustrated because I was giving them 110%.
Finally in fourth grade I had a younger teacher, who paid attention to detail. She saw that I was writing letters backwards and even forgetting whole words. Looking back I can remember one time when she asked me to write with her. I talked and she wrote everything I said. I had always been a great talker and I think she realized that I could talk well, but something was happening when I tried to write. She talked to my mom and I got tested. It makes me so happy that I’m almost in tears that she got me tested. Being tested was a turning point in my life.
They found that I had auditory processing disorder. My brain couldn’t process things like other people. I was getting the message, but when it came to spitting it back out on a test I couldn’t do it. Fifth grade was a learning year. I was placed in the special small classes and given many different ways to complete test. I absolutely loved the small classes. I really felt cared for in those classes. I was still a bit shy when asking questions about things I didn’t understand, but my confidence started to build.
My first A in math in fifth grade was one of the happiest moments for me and my mom. I was dancing around in the kitchen singing the I’ve got an A song. My butt was shaking. I didn’t care I was on top of the world. From that moment on I’ve always had the attitude that practicing and working hard I can do anything. I used to think that I was just horrible at everything, but I wasn’t. I just had different way of seeing things and finally I was being taught the way my brain needed.
I remember riding in the car with my mom and her explaining that I have a learning disability. She was explaining everything that was going to happen and the meetings I would have to attend with her. After she explained everything to me, I quickly told her that I don’t have a disability I have a difference. Learning disability to says that I have thing that’s disabling me from learning. No, I’m not limited on things I can learn. I only learn differently from everyone else. The Individual Education Plan or I.E.P that I got explained why I learned differently. I think this made my mom happy to know that I didn’t look down on myself.
By high school I was caught up to a normal reading and writing level. I still had trouble with a few things and I went into small classes for certain subjects. I was good with asking questions and making sure that my teachers taught in ways that I could understand. My counselor wasn’t the easiest person to talk to. To me, she was lazy. I would tell her that a teacher doesn’t pay me any attention and I needed extra help, but wasn’t receiving it. She would tell me to just put up with it. I skipped over talking to her. I went straight to my LD office and they would say this is what your IEP says and you aren’t receiving it, so we will get you into another class. I spoke up and got what I needed.
Aside from teachers there were also students in and outside of classes that seemed to look down on the LD program. I had many classmates see me alk into my small class room and say are you in a stupid class? why is your class so small? You know the small special classes are for stupid people? Then there were people in my own small classes that would say to people, we’re in small classes. we are stupid. I HATED THIS! Of course I stood up for the classes and I stood up for people in that class. We aren’t stupid. We learn differently and we learn at a different pace. We are learning the same thing as everyone else and we take the same standard state test. I don’t let people talk bad about a program that has helped me succeed.
The learning disabilities/ difference program helped me plan out my thoughts that I could see in my mind. The planning that I used for small projects when I was in elementary school helped me and continues to help me. I believe that the LD program turned me into the fast writer that I am today. I am a success story. I’m so grateful to all the teachers and parents that supported me and taught me to be a better me.
I’m always explaining to new kids in the program that they aren’t stupid. Don’t let anyone tell you that. You pay attention in your classes, you do your work and you will see that what these teachers in this program are teaching you will help you in the future. So many people are surprised with what happens after they are put into a program where teachers work with them and care for them individual.
Sometimes I think I should be a motivational speakers as well. (: