The question should be is it worth doing not can it be done.Alderd K Lowstein
Having a Learning Disability has often forced me to confront my limitations at a young age. Most children have many big dreams and view their potential as unlimited. Many of them have success and think that anything is possible. I spent a great deal doubting myself and my abilities. I struggled to understand basic concepts that my peers seemed to master with ease. I thought that life would always be hard and I couldn’t have success in my life. Thankfully I have found strategies that don’t cure my disability, but help me to compensate with having one. In school some of them have included a note taker, extended test time, having the test read aloud, tutoring and calculator usage. Having these accommodations helped to me be able to process information and learn the content better. Once I found ways to compensate for my disability, it opened up a new world possibilities. I began to relate to the quote by Alderd K Lowstein “The question should be is it worth doing not can it be done.” As I grew it was more of question of not could if it was possible but was it worth my time.
During college I had to make wise choices about what I wanted to study and the type of job I wanted to have in the future. Many people thought that I couldn’t do anything and didn’t think that college was possible. Many professionals thought that my education and job choices would be limited. They didn’t they that college would be possible and suggested trade school. Others thought that there were not limitations and I could be whatever I wanted to be and pressured me to become a certified teacher. I knew that with my poor test taking abilities, that going through the certification tests, needed to even get accepted into certain programs, wouldn’t be the wisest choice. There was a good chance that I wouldn’t be able to pass them. Instead I decided to study Early Childhood Education and work in either a childcare or a school setting. Some people thought that this was taking the easy way out, but it was far from simple. I struggled to get through many of my classes. Much of the struggle was because I wasn’t using the accommodations because of the stigma that they created. It was difficult but I was able to get my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.
I also had to use wisdom when I went to university. I had people who thought that I should try to get a job after I lost my job at a school to downsizing. People told me that I already had a degree and didn’t need any more education. I found a program that interested me and had the least amount of math and Science possible. Most importantly it had disability accommodations that I used. Using disability services were effective in helping me be able to learn and process information. At university I had people who once again thought that being a teacher was what I supposed to do. I remember a person saying that if I just got it together I could do it. Hearing this frustrated me and saddened me. I knew that this wouldn’t be a possibility and chose to a program that focused on the service end of disabilities, rather than teaching. Studying this program helped me to thrive. My grades improved and I found a renewed sense of purpose. I also had a greater understanding of my disability and other types of disabilities. I was able to get my Bachelors Degree.
It was also important when I got jobs that I carefully took my abilities and the job itself into consideration. Many people took my fears about performing at a job as not wanting to work. I had well-meaning individuals suggest unskilled labor jobs such as fast food, stocking shelves, or assembly positions. People thought that they would be easy and couldn’t understand why some of them wouldn’t work out for me. I knew that my slow processing speed couldn’t keep up in a fast-paced environment of retail or a fast food restaurant. My mechanical reasoning and hand dexterity skills made assembly jobs impossible. I can also remember jobs that didn’t work out because I couldn’t pick up on the job fast enough or not having the right accommodations at the job. It took a long time to find one that is the right fit for me as a paraeducator in a school.
Another wise choice that I had to make was transportation. I’m unable to drive because of my visual perception. Many people thought that I could drive if I really wanted to. People would ask me if I was driving yet and said that I would want my independence. The issue isn’t in my eyes but in my brain. My brain has trouble coordinating movements and my reaction time is delayed. If I drove I would be worried that I could not only hurt myself but others as well. It wasn’t worth putting my safety and the well-being of others at risk, simply to have a license. Instead of driving I can get rides from people or walk where I need to go.
Choosing to live in a central location was another decision that I had to make. I knew that by not driving, being in a rural area wouldn’t be a wise choice. I’m blessed to have rides to where I need to go, but at times when my ride is unable to take me, I may be without transportation. I need to have another plan when I can’t get a ride. Living in a central location helps me be able to walk to the store, the gym, or wherever else I need to go.
Having a disability has caused me to have to make choices in all areas of my life school, work, and home. Despite having success in many things some things are simply not possible. It’s not worth the time and effort to invest time and effort into things that can’t do. Dwelling on what I can’t do is frustrating and defeating. When I focus and put my energy into what I can do I feel accomplished. It can be scary to try something new with a disability. The fear of failure always looms in the back of my head. The best way for me to confront this is to remember that I have the choice to decide if it’s worth it or not. If I decide to pursue the task at hand, I know that I will put all my effort into it. My Learning Disability was good for creating a strong, hardworking person. I just need to seek what is worth doing and find a way to do it.