When spring doesn’t seem to come

Photo by Alena Koval on Pexels.com

As we approach Easter it has finally begun to feel more like spring in my area. The flowers are starting to bloom, the sun is out and the days are getting longer. Hopefully we are finally done with the snow and look to warmer days ahead. This year the winter has gone on forever, and the harsh weather went well into spring. So many of us have wondered if spring weather would ever come. Much like the never ending winter, having a Learning Disability has made me often wonder, if success would ever happen.

I can remember feeling doubtful of my abilities as a young child. Most children have confidence and think that anything is possible. I could feel the freezing cold winter that wouldn’t leave, while others where having their season of spring. I can recall always being frustrated when we had motivational speakers that said we could do whatever we could put our minds to. I would start every year thinking this would be the year that I would be able to get straight A’s and become popular. I would get disappointed when I would put in the effort and wouldn’t be successful. Having dreams and goals is important. What has changed is how I have expanded my view on success and failure.

I was well aware of things that there were certain things that were difficult for me such as math, tying my shoes, and writing my name. I thought that it would always be hard and I was doomed to fail. The winter almost froze my heart and my motivation to try. Thankfully I had a support system who didn’t give up on me. My parents told me I was smart, and that I learned differently. The school worked to provide accommodations and specialty instruction.

Slowly winter began to fade, and I saw signs of spring. My grades improved and I began to find areas that I was good at. The progress may have been slower than I wanted, but it happened. I learned to tie my shoes and write my name. Even though I can write, you may not be able to read my handwriting, and my shoes always seemed to be untied.

Despite it being a new season a slight chill may always be in the air, even if I’m the only one who feels it. Some things I simply can’t do such as math, or driving, reminds me that I have limitations. A common myth is that people with Learning Disabilities out grow them once school is over. My disability didn’t leave when I graduated high school, went to college and got my Bachelor’s Degree. It wasn’t over when I fell in love, got married and a bought a house. My disability didn’t disappear when I got a job, or had articles published.

Even with all of these challenges, I have had success in my life. Much like the weather, I can’t control or change my disability. The only thing I can change is are my actions, and how I handle the situation. I will always have one, but I can chose how I view it. It’s more empowering for me to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t

Now when I am faced with a challenge, I try to think of a different way to solve the problem. I may have to try and fail, then try again a different way. Sometimes it seems like the winter will never end and the situation will never improve. However slowly the winter turns to spring on it’s own time. A slight touch of winter may always remain, but I know how to handle it. The harsh winter will end and spring will finally come!

The Bouquet of Neurodiversity

Photo by Helen on Pexels.com

Flowers have been used throughout history to commemorate an occasion. They are used to express sympathy at a funeral, love on Valentine’s Day, and celebrations at weddings or birthdays. A flower bouquet is also a beautiful example of how Neurodiversity can work. Neurodiversity is defined how people interact with each other in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to learn. Each flower in the bouquet of neurodiversity is different .

I was handed my bouquet of Neurodiversity as a young child. I didn’t receive this flower arrangement with happiness. I wanted to throw it away and have the blooms that my peers had. The flowers they had seemed to bloom faster, and had more vibrant beautiful petals. I often thought my flowers were weeds, and the flowers that bloomed were not as vibrant.

Each flower may be different but they all are flowers. Flowers all need the same things: air, water, soil, and sunlight to grow. The same concept exists for humans. People with and without disabilities have the same basic needs of food, shelter, water, and air to live. We are more alike than different.

However differences do occur in flowers and with people with disabilities. Some flowers need more sunlight, while others need more shade. Individuals who are neurodivergent need different things to learn, grow and live in school and the community. Accommodations are not an unfair advantage, it’s providing what the individual needs to thrive.

Even if a flower is the same type, it doesn’t mean that it will be the exact same. There are variations in color, shape, and sizes. The same concept applies to people with disabilities. A person who shares the same diagnosis will experience the disability differently. Many people don’t understand why I struggle with math, when most associate Learning Disabilities with Dyslexia and other reading based disabilities. I can’t drive because of my visual perception, but some people with Learning Disabilities can drive, do math, or read well. The diagnosis is the same, but everyone experiences it differently. The judgement and comparison of my disability creates shame.

Flowers also have different seasons that they bloom. The spring is filled with tulips, daffodils, and lilacs. The summer brings Peonies, Hydrangeas and Geraniums. . Fall brings colorful mums and sunflowers. In the winter holly and vivid red Poinsettias brighten the cold gray days of winter. I had to be patient in waiting to bloom. I can remember being so frustrated during the early years of learning. For most people the elementary school years are considered the easiest of academics. School got easier for me as the years progressed. The memory needed for math, and other subjects was difficult for me. When I got to the application of concepts, I did much better, unless it was math or science.

Each flower also has a different smell. Some of the scents are subtle while others have a stronger scent. Certain types of flowers may be too overwhelming for people with allergies. At times having a disability may be too overwhelming for other people too. I have had others tell me that they didn’t want to be in a relationship with me because my disability was too much for them to handle. I have also not been able to meet the expectations that other people wanted. When I don’t measure up to someone, I feel like they are trampling my flower in the dirt. I may not always be everyone’s choice of a bouquet.

Another important part of gardening is pulling the weeds. Setting boundaries and limiting my interactions with difficult people has helped me grow.

Every flower is different but not less. Together each type makes a lovely display. The same concept goes for Neurodiversity. The world needs a variety of minds. I may not be able to do math , but I can read and speak well. I may not be able to drive, but I can get where I need to go. It’s not about being the best, but about using our unique gifts to help each other.

A Lilly can’t turn into a rose. I can’t turn myself into a mathematician. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of flowers to make a beautiful bouquet of neurodiversity.

The Garden of having a Learning Disability

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of the biggest passions in my life is flowers. I love to take pictures of flowers, and visit botanical gardens. I also love to grow my own flowers and plants. Another significant part of my life is having a Learning Disability. Living with this type of disability is like living in a garden. Much like the flowers I grow, I had to tend and care for. All flowers and plants go through the same process to grow.

A plant or a flower begins with a seed. How I enjoy picking out seeds to plant! Much care and thought goes into the types of seeds I wish to plant. I think of the vegetables we like to eat and the types of flowers I like. Unlike the packets of seeds, I plant each spring, I didn’t get to chose the seed of having a disability. I was officially diagnosed with a Learning Disability as a young seedling in kindergarten.

Despite my resistance to having this I was planted into the ground. When you plant a flower it is important to plant in the best soil for it grow. My disability made the soil I was planted in rocky and tough. From the very beginning people thought I wouldn’t flourish because of my learning difficulties. I struggled with math, eye hand coordination, and hand writing. I also struggled socially. My peers seemed to have an easier time in the same ground.

Location is also important for a plant or flower to grow. Some blooms need sunlight, while others thrive in the shade. The small town I grew up in was not the ideal location to be different. Differences were feared not celebrated.  My peers knew that I went to the Learning Support room, but knew little of what went on there. Many of my peers thought that I got the answers and did easy work.

Plants and flowers also need water and air to grow. I needed to have specialty instruction and accommodations to learn. I received specially instruction, and had accommodations. I had to have the test read aloud to me and extra time to complete a test. The supports worked in all areas except math and eye hand ordination. To my surprise I began to see the roots and stems began to develop. My grades improved and found things I was good at, such as reading and writing.  School got easier for me academically as I progressed. In high school I was in all general education classes except for math and resource room. 

Socially school got harder for me. The groups became more defined and I felt like I didn’t fit in any group. I had difficulty relating to my learning support peers. Most of them struggled with reading disabilities, not math. Some of them came from rough backgrounds and had behavior issues. The regular education peers lumped me with the other learning support students and didn’t view me as smart.

My improvement continued and I went through the next step of developing leaves. I knew that I wanted to go to college but was hesitant because of learning difficulties. I had a teacher who encouraged me to go to a vocational training program even though none of the programs offered interested me. Thankfully I found a program that interested me with disability accommodations. When I graduated I had a small bud of hope.

College turned out to be more difficult than I imagined. I had a physiatrist who told me I wouldn’t go beyond community college. I also had a professor who warned that my job choices would be limited, because of my math difficulties. I also didn’t utilize accommodations because of the stigma that was attached to them. I was able to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I worked in a child care, and was able to move out on my own. Despite my success I always wanted more.

When I had to move back in with my parents due to financial reasons, I decided to go to the university. I found a program that I was interested in with the least amount of math possible. Losing my job to downsizing gave me the opportunity to concentrate on school. I utilized the accommodations of extended test time and a note taker. I had a much easier time, and my grades improved. I made Deans list one semester. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and saw that the flower had finally bloomed.

The final step in the process is for a flower to turn to seeds. The seeds spread and help other flowers to grow. I now get to spread the seeds of my success to help others. I work as a teacher’s aide in a school with students with disabilities. I hope that they will be able to bloom to their full potential.

My disability didn’t end when I graduated, got a job, or any other success. I still have to look for different ways to learn and life. I have learned to appreciate the bloom of my disability. Having one may have a life that doesn’t look like the other flowers in the garden. The variety of flowers makes a beautiful display.  Each variety has a unique purpose.

The bloom didn’t happen without a process. I didn’t get to chose the seed or flower that I received, but I have learned to love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

*Here are a few flower pictures, that I took on my walks. I hope to take many more. Happy Spring! Photography by Michelle Steiner

Building the house of success with a disability

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

From the time I was a small child, I have adored Victorian houses. I love the quirky style and the beauty of a different time. The unique style stands apart with modern houses, but has good bones to last for life. Another major part of my life was having a Learning Disability. Much like eccentric style of the houses, having a brain that isn’t neurotypical has caused me to have a brain that learns differently. Once I began to discover things that work, I was able to build the lasting house of knowledge.

The first step to building knowledge is to have a firm foundation. I was diagnosed in Kindergarten and had to repeat the grade in a new school. Along with repeating the grade I began to receive specialty instruction in math and reading. I always had an easier time reading and expressing my ideas. I can remember having a peer who asked my teacher why I was in Learning Support if I was a good reader. The teacher responded that I just need a little extra help. The reading portion of my disability deals with comprehension and identifying the important details. My difficulties with this are slight, and few people are able to tell. Having the extra help gave me the foundation to be placed in all regular education classes except for math.

After the foundation is laid, the processing of adding layers begins. The layers can only be added if their is a strong base knowledge. I can remember a special education teacher who was on a mission to make each of the students in her math class, performing math on the same level as the regular ed peers in my grade. I had the basic math facts and begin to be able to understand how to do some higher level math. It was all going well until I got stuck on on one part of the process. Rather than go backwards, and see where I needed corrected, she forged ahead. I can remember her proudly saying that we’re on the same level as the students in the regular math class.

The scaffolding on my house was crashing. To make matters more difficult she lied that there was no were no Learning Support Classes in the next grade. I was scheduled to take a basic regular education math course. I had much anxiety about not having a class where I would be supported. Much to no one’s surprise, the basic math class was too difficult for me. The teacher told my resource room teacher that she never saw such a severe case and didn’t know what to do with me. Thankfully there was a Learning Support Math class. The teacher who taught this class also wasn’t the most understanding or caring person, and neither were my peers. Many of them thought it wasn’t fair that they had to work so hard, but I had easy work. Completing simple math worksheets in a regular study hall was humbling. I needed to have a math class that was tailored to my needs to fulfill my math credit.

Due to the stigma of disability accommodations I didn’t utilize them initially. My grades suffered and everyone told me that I needed to try harder. It wasn’t until I used them, that my grades improved. When I went back to university I had a note taker, extended test time, and tutoring. Using these supports helped to level the playing field. I got better grades and was able to get my Bachelors Degree.

The misunderstanding of Learning Disabilities goes beyond the the walls of a school. When I tell people I struggle with math, most people want to help me. I have had people recommend tutoring, and adult education classes. None of these things are necessarily bad, but they won’t cure me. So many people want to fix me yet so little try to understand and accept me.

All throughout my life I will have to create a house of knowledge, that is different from the rest. My residence may not look like your typical house in your neighborhood. My house may have unique features. To some people it may not be their dream home, or ideal life. The house may be under much reconstruction, with taking previous layers off, and having to relearn things. The quirkiness gives it character and I have learned to love it. I simply need to create new ways to do things, to build the house of success with a disability.

What is Dyscalculia?

Photo by Black ice on Pexels.com

Dyscalculia is a math disability that affects how a person performs math skills. People with this disability struggle with basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Individuals with dyscalculia take longer to process math and are more prone to calculation errors. Many people also struggle with estimation and recalling math facts. I can remember doing endless flash cards and I I don’t have all of my math facts memorized.

Few people know the term dyscalculia. When they think of learning disabilities they think of dyslexia, the reading based disability, not a math based disability. Most people don’t understand how it effects my every day life.

When you don’t have an understanding on how numbers work, it begins to affect other academic areas as well. A majority of the sciences such as chemistry and physics require a great deal of math. I can remember struggling in even the general science courses as well.

I had teachers and other proffessionals who told me that my job and college choices would be limitied because of my math difficulties. I was also told that I couldn’t go beyond a community college.

The difficulties of dyscalculia go beyond the classroom and affect my every day life. I am unable to read an analog clock. When I see the face of an analog clock I can see the lines, numbers and hands that make little sense. I can tell time to the hour, but am limited to that.

I also struggle with reading a ruler and tape measurer. I can see the numbers and lines but I have little understanding of what they mean. I am unable to measure or draw a straight line.

In the store I struggle to total the items that I am purchasing. I am always surprised when I go to register, because I never know how much I am going to spend. My hand dexterity struggles to handle coins and paper money. I also struggle with putting the debit card in the reader and I often forget my pin. Online shopping makes it easier to see how much I am spending.

Another struggle with Dyscalculia is directions. I am unable to give directions on how to get to my house. I struggle with south, east, north, and west. I usually do better if I have a chance to explore a place myself, rather than have someone explain it to me. Thankfully we can put the destination in our phone and get directions read aloud.

Right and left confusion is another part of having a math disability. I cannot tell me right from my left. I have to hold my hands out to know which way is right or left. I am unable to tell which shoe is for the right or the left foot. I have to see which shoe feels comfortable in the morning.

Often times people want to fix my math difficulties. I have had people recommend adult education classes. Basic math classes or a calculator won’t cure my disability.

I have also had people who tell me that they are terrible at math too or say doesn’t everyone struggle with that? I am not sure if those who tell me they are bad at math have a disability or it’s simply not one of their strengths. I know that my challenges, go beyond being awful at math and it creates more problems for me than the average person.

March 3rd is World Dyscalculia Day, but it is present in my life everyday. Dyscalculia is not being bad at math but a disability. It is just as common as dyslexia affecting 1 out of every 4 people. I simply have to find new ways to do things math related and overcome the difficulties it creates.

Learning to love life with my disability

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

When many people think about disabilities they think of the challenges that a person with a disability faces. Disclosing my disability evokes a variety of responses from people. Some people are surprised because my disability is hidden or compare it to someone else. The most discouraging remark is when people tell me that they are sorry that I have one. The person who is apologizing didn’t cause my disability and pity does little to help me. Learning to accept my disability has been a long process that didn’t begin with me loving it. I once thought if my disability didn’t exist then my life would be amazing. My disability didn’t go away, but I slowly began to love the lessons it taught me.

One of the biggest things I love about having a disability is empathy. I know what it feels like to be frustrated with learning while it came so easier to others. I remember the feeling of failure and disappointment when I would study for a test and fail. I try to put myself in the place of a struggling student that I help, or when connecting with another person with a disability. I know what it’s like to have one and how I want to be treated.

Another thing that I love about my disability is that it has given me a unique way to view the world. I can remember not wanting this and wanted to be able to do all things neurotypical people could do with ease. Having a brain that is different from others has given me the chance to be a creative problem solver. I often don’t learn in a typical fashion. I have to look for new ways to do things, that many people wouldn’t have thought about. Many people also remark that they wouldn’t have thought of certain tasks to be an issue.

Patience has also been one of the other things that I have slowly learned to love with life with a disability. When I am learning a new task or revisiting something that I previously learned but forget, I need to use patience. I can do the job that I am asked, but it may take longer or may have to work to find another way. I have to ask myself what I already know and what I need to know to get the job done. I also have to think of questions that I need to ask to learn how to complete a task. I know when I am struggling but can’t think of questions to ask that I am really on lost on how to do something. Many people have lost patience with me because I couldn’t pick up on a task quick enough or had to relearn something.

Faith has been another thing that I have learned to love with having a disability. I know that when I face a challenge, that I have learned to accomplish difficult things in the past and I can do it again. I can remember one of my teachers being concerned about me developing learned helplessness. She wrote on my report that I was often suprised when I could complete a task correctly. She also said that they had to encouarge me to do more for myself.

Having faith in God has shown me that my Learning Disability can work for good. For so many years I wondered what good could come out of having one. He has blessed me with so much more than I could imagine. I am able to use my story to help others.

Life with a disability hasn’t turned out the way that I imagined it. Thankfully things have turned out so much better than I could have ever dreamed of. I may not love everything that has happened to me or every aspect of having a disability. I love how it has strengthen me and the person that it has turned me into. Not having one would make certain aspects of my life easier, but not necessarily better. I can truly say that loving your life with a disability is very possible.

Don’t carry the weeds of your past into your present or future garden.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Every Tuesday is trash night in my neighborhood. We gather our trash and recycling and sit them on the curb. The next morning the garbage company comes to take our garbage away. If only it could be that simple in life.

People often say to let go of the past and move into the future. When you have a disability, you take the baggage of your past. Some of the trash is disappointments of things that you tried and failed. Other types of baggage include the rejections of others. I can remember thinking if I could just get rid of my disability my life would be perfect. How I wanted to throw out my disability and all the difficulties it brought.

I wasn’t able to bag my disability and throw it into a landfill. I had to sort what was going to be beneficial to take with me and what was better to leave behind. I also had to make peace with the parts I would take into my future.

The beauty is I got to create the space that I wanted to create. I still had my disability and the issues it created. I had to learn how to develop ways to work with my disability, not against it.

The space I chose was a garden filled with colorful flowers. Tending the garden means pulling up the annoying weeds that pop up. I also have to nourish my plants with food, water, sunshine, and tenderness. I wouldn’t want to bring the smelly garbage and trash into my garden. However I have found ways to use the trash to help my garden grow. Much of the junk from the past has turned into compost. Flowers need to have soil to help them grow. I have seen that my experiences have not all been a waste. I can use them to learn from my mistakes and have the empathy to be able to help others in similar situations.

I didn’t choose all of the garbage from my past and some of it may stay with me. I can’t erase the memories, but I can chose what I do with it. I can ensure that I won’t let it trash the beauty of my present and future garden.

How my disability was not always my cup of tea

Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

One of my biggest passions in life is tea. I love collecting tea cups and tea pots. I display many of them in my dinning room. Each piece of the tea service has a story and evokes a loving memory of the person who gave it to me. I also have an overflowing cupboard of assorted teas in my kitchen. My husband and I like to drink tea together in the evenings. I also love having people over for tea parties. Ironically I didn’t like tea the first time I tried it. I can remember my mom having me try a cup of orange peacock black tea. I didn’t care for it and was convinced that I didn’t like tea. Little did I know that there were many other flavors. Another significant part of my life is having a Learning Disability. Much like my first encounter with tea, I didn’t like having one.

When I was first diagnosed with a Learning Disability I wanted to spit it out, but I couldn’t. The tea tasted bitter and stung my tongue. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their cups of tea. I thought that if I could just get rid of this cup, then everything would be perfect.

When I shared how I was struggling with my disability, I have had other people who tried to help me by adding sugar to my tea. People have told me not to complain because other people had it worse or that it wasn’t so bad. Too much sugar started to make my stomach sick and threated to rot me. Positive thinking wasn’t going to cure my disability and made me feel ashamed for expressing my feelings.

Adding too many lemons also soured my tea. Many people have felt sorry for me for having a disability. I have also spent time mourning over having one. I almost let the acid of the lemon corrode me.

Thankfully I found that there were many different types of tea. I can remember finding herbal teas and giving them a try. I found out that I really did love tea! I still love herbal teas, especially berry or mint green. I like to drink tea plain and let the natural flavors come through.

Socially I had to learn that I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea Not everyone was going to like me and I would face rejection with my disability. I also had to learn that not everyone was going to be my cup of tea as well. I have also learned that other people like their tea differently. I have friends who will only drink black tea. Other friends like milk and sugar while other people don’t mind it plain.

I’ve learned to tolerate black tea if it is my only choice. Much like drinking black tea, I have learned to live with my disability. I found that the challenges it gave me didn’t break like a fragile tea cup. I was able to endure failures, disappointments and challenges. I didn’t get to chose my disability, but I can chose how to deal with it. I simply have to find new ways to do things and make the cup of tea my own.

The hidden climb

January brings a new year and most people hope for a better year. Many people set resolutions to lose weight, save money, and to make other improvements. Few people keep their resolutions because they get discouraged by set backs and don’t make it part of their lifestyle. Many people have been surprised when they hear of my success with having a Learning Disability. People will say “But your so smart or “You don’t look like you have a disability. Few people understand that having a disability is a journey not a destination. Most people see the success but not the failures and the hidden climb it took to get me there.

Going on adventures is a favorite activity that my husband and I like to do. We like to find interesting places to visit and share them with people. Recently we chose to visit a road side attraction near us called the fountain of youth. We looked at the spring house and the steep hill with a creek. My husband asked me “Do you still want to do this?” A part of me wanted to go back to the butterfly bench that we went to before this. The path that the bench was on was smoother and more predictable. I decided to go ahead and go on with our journey.

The journey to get to the spring house reminded me of my journey with having a disability. The path was muddy and steep. I started out being able to put my hand on my husbands shoulder as we made our way down the steep path. Eventually though I had to walk by myself as the path got more treacherous. At times having a disability has made me stand alone. Many times people didn’t want to be my friend because I was different. Other times I had to stand alone and make choices that didn’t make sense to others. People couldn’t understand why certain classes or job choices were hard for me. Often jobs or classes that came easy to other people were challenging to me. I had to know what choices were going to work for me and to utilize the accommodations to help me.

My husband did guide me on where to turn my foot, but I had to walk it myself. I took slow cautious steps thinking of where to put my feet. At one point I had to use my hands to bear crawl through the mud. Many of these moves are what I do in my group fitness classes. He was also impressed when I stood in the creek. One little bank later and we came to our stop. We explored the attraction and the way back was much easier.

I could have looked at how hard the journey was and walked away. If I wouldn’t have done it I would have missed out on the experience. So many times people don’t want to try something because of the fear of failing. Failure is part of being successful. The key is learning from your mistakes and finding a better way to do something.

Deciding what course to take does involve wisdom. There are plenty of things that I wanted to be or to do that I simply can’t do. However there are far more things that I can do and all I need to do is find a way to do them. The course may not always be easy but the experience is so worth it.

The toll my slow processing speed / A Question and the Answer

One of the most frustrating parts of having a Learning Disability is my slow processing speed. Often times I may know the information or how to respond but have difficulty activating it.

I can remember playing kick ball as a child in school. I understood that I needed to kick the ball when it someone kicked it to me. When it was my turn, I wanted to, but I was unable to kick the ball. The peers on my team were upset with me. They asked why I didn’t kick the ball. My brain was having trouble communicating to my foot what it needed to do. I understood the objective but my processing speed was slowing me down.

It has also impacted me socially, when in conversations with people, especially in stressful situations such as disagreements I often don’t think of a good retort until after the fact. It can also be difficult for me to focus on the good of the person I am upset with. I remember having an argument over something a mutual friend had said. She sided with the other person and asked me to list things that I liked about the other person. My slow processing speed made me pause for a moment and she thought that I was uncaring. I was upset with the person, but I was hurt and my mind needed to processes the information. I am also unable to recall information, especially numbers when upset. I will give the wrong number or piece of information. Many times people have exasperated and corrected me. I have had people who have suggested therapy. It’s frustrating.

Slow processing speed has created difficulties academically as well. I had to receive extended test time because my brain takes longer to process what is being asked. In the classroom I have blurted out wrong answers to questions being asked, and have been humiliated by the laughter of my peers. I lacked the confidence of answering questions for fear of being wrong.

A person who is neurotypical processes the answer to a question. A person who is neurotypical needs to process the question being asked, and then process the answer. My brain has to go through an extra step to answer the question. Many people don’t understand how much the extra step can impact my processing speed. I remember sharing with a person how I was struggling in a class and receiving extended test time. She told me to stop complaining and that other people have worse disabilities than I do. I can remember her saying “All it takes you is an extra few minutes to finish a test but other people have worse disabilities.” I realize that other people have challenges, but invalidating my struggle did not help it.

I have no control over how my brain processes information. I also have no control over the reactions of other people, in regards to my slow processing speed. My brain simply processes information slower and stress can make it more difficult. I have learned to give myself grace and to work with the rate my brain processes information.