When I was young, I remember a large rock in my front yard. My cousin and I used to climb it and pretend we were She-RA. I also loved to climb up the large driveway that lead to our house on the hill, and imagine that it was a mountain. Another significant part of my life was having a Learning Disability. Learning to live with it was much bigger than the rock in the yard. At times I felt like I was climbing a mountain.
I began the journey on this mountain as a young child. I didn’t come into this adventure with enthusiasm. I approached this kicking and screaming. The mountain seemed so big and steep. Nevertheless it was my mountain to climb. I was amazed that despite the height, my peers were scaling it with such ease. The route that we were on previously worked for other students, but not me. I needed a different approach. The school staff knew that the journey will be difficult and some things wouldn’t be possible.
I was given extra tools that I was going to need to assist me. I needed to have specaility instruction in reading, and math. I began to receive speech therapy, because my ears frequently clogged and I had trouble hearing how words sounded. I also began to receive accomodations such as extended test time, preferintal seating in the front of the room, and having the test read aloud to me.
Many of peers were jealous of me receiving them. I remember them saying that it wasn’t fair that I got easy work or got the answers. What my peers didn’t realize is the work that they thought was easy, was difficult for me and took me longer to accomplish for what came so much easier for them. I also didn’t receive answers but extra support. At times the strategies weren’t always effective in helping me. Using a calculator does little to help with my Dyscalculia. Having one is great for recalling basic math facts, that despite flash cards and drills I still don’t know all of them from memory. I can put the numbers in the calculator, but my brain gets lost in the steps.
I also had peers who wanted to have a disability to receive services. Ironically I wanted to not have a disability and not to be different.
The terrain was rough and rocky. I often stumbled and fell on the hard ground. It was frustrating to put in effort only to struggle again. It felt like I would get back up and then get knocked the ground again. I wanted to give up and not get back up. Thankfully I had a wonderful support system that encouraged me to get back up and try again.
There were also happy moments on the journey. Sometimes taking the slower route gave me the chance to see the beautiful flowers. I also had the chance to meet amazing people who I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet unless I took this route. I also found that everyone faces a mountain at some point in their lives.
Just when I thought I would never reach the mountain top I did! The joy of finally learning, getting good grades, and achieving other accomplishments. The feeling of victory on the mountain was short lived. It wasn’t long before I had another mountain to climb and faced different struggles.
The rock that I used to play on is still in my parents yard. The mountain of my Learning Disability still remains as well. I can’t move the mountain or that rock from my life. I have learned different strategies to climb. The difficulties in my life haven’t weakened me, but rather strengthened me and have given me the encouragement to keep on going.