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Learning Disabilities

My Learning Disabilities Made Me an Expert Problem Solver

Michelle SteinerApril 8, 2019 Previously published on The Mighty.

My learning disability has made me an expert problem solver. As a child all I could see was the problem. I could not see the solution.

I would study for tests and do poorly on them. I often felt confidence before taking a test. I can recall events that have happened in my life in great detail. The problem was an information processing issue. The solution for test taking was to have someone read me the test in school. I was also given extended test time to help my brain process the questions and my answers.

My hand dexterity and learning disability also cause my handwriting to be atrocious. I can remember getting a W, indicating weakness in handwriting on my report card. The solution was learning how to type in 10th grade.  When I learned to type, it stopped the confusion of trying to decipher my handwriting. Plus as school progressed, more professors required assignments to be typed.

College was considered a problem, because of my difficulties with math and science. I used accommodations such as a note taker, extended test time and tutoring. I was able to earn my Bachelor’s degree.

My job can also create issues for me. I struggle with simple tasks such as using the copier or taking in new information. I ask questions until I understand, and I write down important info. Sometimes I have to dive in and play around with the copier until I understand it.

Transportation is also an issue for me because I can’t drive. My solution is to live in an area that is centrally located. I can take the bus or walk where I need to go. I can also get a ride from friends or family.

My eye-hand coordination causes problems with balance and body awareness. I may not be good at team sports such as basketball or soccer. I enjoy taking non-competitive group fitness classes such as Zumba, boot camp or yoga.

Reading the face of an analog clock is also a problem for me. I have dyscalculia, a math learning disability. It can involve difficulty with telling time, recalling basic math facts and solving math problems. It can also hinder everyday things such as totaling how much you are spending at a grocery store and how much to give for a tip at a restaurant. My solution is to wear my Fit Bit or digital watch at all times. Using a digital watch helps me to know what time it is.

I have also found using cash is better than a card when shopping on my own. I am unable to visualize the money I am spending and how much I have left. Online shopping also helpful. The cart shows how much I am spending, including taxes and shipping and handling if applicable. I can take items away or add items while showing the price.

Many people think learning disabilities are only prevalent in schools, or that you will grow out of them. Learning disabilities affect a large majority of the individual’s life, even in adulthood. I can do things; I simply need to find a way that works. The biggest thing my learning disability has taught me to be is a expert problem solver.

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