Burden or gift: My
son was diagnosed with a learning disability in 7 th grade.
The lack of knowledge about learning disabilities in the
middle school environment almost destroyed my son and our
family. Even as a special educator myself, I was unable
to help the middle school staff understand his special
needs and what was causing his disruptive behavior. Every
step of the way was a challenge.
Positive experience: After
teaching a multiply disabled student for 6 years, on the
last day she would be with me before heading to middle
school, she surprised me by telling me exactly how much
money she needed for two sodas at 60 cents each from the
soda machine! When she said "I will need $1.20," I
sat down and cried. I will miss her terribly.
Negative experience: The principal at my
son's middle school told me my 7 th grade son was a juvenile
delinquent, without regard for his learning disabilities,
special needs, or the trouble he was experiencing in the
school setting at the time. It took my son almost five
years in counseling with a specialist to get over the way
he was treated by this principal. My son is heading to
college in ten days on a $20,000 scholarship and as a recruit
for the defense line of the football team.
Impact: Learning disabilities have had
the greatest impact on my heart and soul - my inner being.
Problem solving: I am a Nationally Board
Certified Exceptional Needs Specialist today and 99% of
the time when I do a case study or get to know a student
in need, I can identify an underlying problem that needs
attention and begin to help the child meet with success.
Building a child's self-confidence by providing extra opportunities
for success is at least 50% of getting over the learning
Creativity: I have taught children to read
with Dr. Seuss books, we have measured the hallways of
schools so the children would understand how big dinosaurs
were, we have walked figure 8's around beanbag chairs to
get the right and left parts of our brain working together,
we tap our brain buttons when we need our brains to work
better, we drink a cup of cold refreshing water to fuel
our bodies. . . . and we even meditate together when we
need to "calm" ourselves.
How to educate children: They should be
educated by teachers who understand how to discover each
student's strengths and build on those strengths instead
of focusing on the weaknesses. If at all possible, they
should be educated with their non-disabled peers in an
educational environment where "fair" does not necessarily
mean "equal". Fair means doing what needs to be done for
each individual child.
Advice to parents: Seek a support group,
focus on your child's strengths rather than weaknesses,
enjoy your child, and read about the disability to learn
as much as you possibly can about the special education
process so you can be on an equal platform with the educators
who will be working with your child.
Advice to children: Identify your personal
strengths, build on those strengths, and be your own best
advocate. When a teacher is doing something that you do
not understand, raise your hand and ask for clarification
in a respectful and honest manner.
Susan Ballinger, President of Learning
Disabilities Association of Maryland
* * *
Describe your disability: Dyslexia
Burden or gift: Both, it took me a long
time to learn things in a school setting: I couldn't read
at the end of second grade (and my mother was a first grade
teacher) - first semester of law school, I was near the
bottom of my class, last semester within top seven percent.
On the other hand, I tend to look at things and solve problems
Positive experience: Even through it took
a long time for me to read (I still can't spell without
a spell check), I eventually became an English major, and
I read voraciously. I have tremendous patience dealing
with people and things.
Negative experience: When I was growing
up, they had a special class for people with learning disabilities.
We would have to all leave for the class at the same time.
Children who suffered from mental retardation, autism,
stuttering, behavioral problems. It was embarrassing, and
children were cruel. To this day, I think no one outside
of my immediate family knows that I have dyslexia.
Impact: Now I think it is mostly in the
background; when I get tired, it is more noticeable. Earlier
in my life, it colored everything. I think even the choice
of my profession probably was informed by my earlier experiences.
Problem solving: In a woodworking class,
the teacher was showing people how to measure and cut a
piece of wood that took three steps. I took the wood and
was able to do it in one step.
Creativity: I've been accused of creative
lawyering; I enjoy beekeeping, woodworking.
Educating children: By the time I was diagnosed
with dyslexia in High School, the counselor told my mother
to leave me alone. Putting me in a special class would
have been more harmful than good, and with my earlier experiences,
I agree with that assessment. I know with my own children,
I am vigilant, and apprehensive, about their reading skills.
Compensation: I think it has made me more
stubborn. Failure does not seem to deter me. I know things
take a while to get right, and I'm willing to wait. As
a criminal defense lawyer, a lot bad can happen, so it
serves me well.
Advice to parents: Spend a lot of time
reading to them; be patient, it takes time. Emphasize the
good that comes of it: tenacity, creativeness, and being
different is not a bad thing.
Advice to children: Keep
working at it. You are not stupid.
37-year-old male Criminal Defense Attorney
Describe your disability: dyslexia and
Age diagnosed: 57 yrs
Positive experience: I have a global view
and can make quantum leaps when problem solving. I can
also think about multiple problems at the same time and
can hyper focus when needed.
Negative experience: All the classics;
reading, writing, math and self-confidence
Impact: All aspects of my work and personal
Creativity: I am a freelance cameraman
on the side. I cover motor racing. I can hyper focus and
am considered "the expert from New York"
Compensation: As I identify my weaknesses
I try to plan my day to compensate for them.
Advice to children: Ask questions. Try
to identify problems peculiar to dyslexia and address them.
What else: Don't stop looking for answers!
Ken DeGraff, 62-year-old cinematography
Describe your disability: I learned I was
dyslexic at the age of 62 when I was in a graduate class
in screenwriting at USC.
Burden or gift: It was a gift to find out
and I hope to convince my granddaughter [who just learned
that she is dyslexic] that it is.
Positive experience: I write and KNOW I'm
doing what is one of the most wonderful benefits of dyslexia.
Negative experience: As a child I was compared
(unfavorably) with my two brilliant sisters: never being
able to do anything good enough for "my age".
Impact: Once I got to USC my world opened
when I found the Cinema department (there was no TV in
1944). Then when I went back for graduate work in 1967,
I found that I was indeed quite bright, and could write.
The stories I visualized in my mind began to take form.
Creativity: I spent most of my childhood
in my own thoughts making up stories in my head. I wrote
for the school newspapers and was encouraged with my creative
writing teacher in high school to write. I had never been
told that I could do ANYTHING right before.
Educating children: CAREFULLY, WITH PRAISE
IN ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND ENCOURAGEMENT.
Compensation: Thank God for spellcheck!
When I took true/false exams at USC I would study until
9 p.m., then sleep until 3 a.m. and repeat the facts over
and over, drive to USC (about 20 minutes), go in, take
the test, come out and be completely blank afterward. I
did extremely well (save the spelling) in essay type testing.
Advice to parents: Get them help in learning:
a teacher well versed in children with a learning DIFFERENCE
(I don't see it as a disability). See where his or her
interest lies and encourage it - whatever it s.
Advice to children: I would give him or
her a list of famous dyslexic people and tell the child
how lucky it is to be in this group that has special abilities
to excel in whatever they choose.
77-year-old female screenwriter
Describe your disability: reading and writing
disability and ADD
Burden or gift: gift
Positive experience: While in law school
I realized that I needed to give back and started the Learning
Rights Project at the Western Law Center for Disability
Negative experience: When a teacher told
me that I could not have accommodations, since she would
have to give everyone else them too
Impact: In my practice - being able to
relate to my clients
Creativity: Started a public interest legal
program and wrote a manual for parents of students with
How to test children: Psychoeducational
and observation and interview
Compensation: Worked harder
Advice to parents: Have high expectations
and know they can do it
Advice to children: You can do anything
and just work hard
Janeen Steel, 41-year-old
Describe your disability: slow ADD (not
hyper); dyslexia, although mostly numerical nowadays; LD,
especially with systems, and remembering the future (appointments,
schedules, bill payments, etc.)
Age diagnosed: LD in High School; dyslexia
after Grad school; ADD in my forties; but I knew long before
diagnosis, and hid it well from others. For instance, could
not tell time until second year in college. No one knew.
Burden or gift: Burden
to my wife, who's tired of being my memory. Gift to me,
of course, in that in figuring "work-arounds" to solving,
or understanding, my creative and analytical faculties
were greatly enhanced, especially the intuitive.
Positive experience: it has kept me moving
from field to field, from job to job. What might have been
seen by others as negative, was to me richly rewarding,
affording me a life of abundant and interesting experiences.
Interestingly, I have gravitated towards work that has
utilized such diverse knowledge: propmaster in Hollywood,
teacher, old and rare bookdealer.
Negative experience: When I was a young
boy, and receiving the first good grades in math I ever
saw, I was working with my Uncle Bob on my homework. I
was showing him how I finally learned how to count and
add after what to me was a long struggle. It involved a
visual cue system of my own devise, and of which I was
quite proud. I had told no one else how I did it. It went
like this: the number 1 of course was easy - only one stroke.
The number 2 had two points to the left of the figure 2. "3" has
three points on its left. A "4" has four points where the
lines cross or end. Etc. My uncle got a look of incredulity
on his face as I explained this nifty system to him and
said, "Oh My Gawd! That's not the way to do it! That's
the STUPIDEST thing I ever saw!"
Impact: socially. Bad at keeping appointments.
lousy at social accepted polite behavior.
Problem solving: creatively, intuitively,
Creativity: I am an artist, a painter
Compensation: color code everything. do
not own tv. don't go anywhere noisy, too crowded if I can
help it. always wit with my back to the wall, facing the
door in restaurant, etc., if able.
Advice to parents: Goodness gracious, tell
them how unique and special they are and never use the
word retard or stupid. Praise them when they figure something
out and don't tell them that the way they figured it out
was wrong, or attempt to shift them to a "better" or more
Advice to children: There are others like
you, and they are the smarter ones.
55-year-old male bookseller
and art teacher
Describe your disability: Dyslexia, Language
Burden or gift: it was a burden before
I knew what it was. My parents are both teachers and did
not understand why I struggled so much in school. It was
tough to relearn how to read and study in college, but
it has made me who I am today
Positive experience: I met my mentor who
guided me through college and never judged me but always
helped me strive to become the best I could. Before, I
was always trying to prove to people I was smart and I
could succeed, now I am successful because I want to be,
not need to be.
Negative experience: I was always told
I was stupid. That's not so good on the ego and you believe
it after a while.
Impact: My relationship with my stepson
who has ADHD and how I can understand his struggles.
Problem solving: I am more visual, more
hands on. It is a long process to explain on paper what
I am understanding in my mind and visual examples always
help others understand me. That is why sales is great,
I'm good in front of a crowd.
Creativity: My essay for college consisted
of single sentences listed that described what I loved,
who I was, what was important to me and what I feared.
It was a unique approach to the standard essay and I was
praised for my efforts
Compensation: Humor and grace. Although
I am up front and honest about my disability, sometimes
people take that the wrong way so I address the hard situations
with a joke and move on.
Advice to parents: Embrace it. Learn as
much as you can about it and help them succeed at a young
age. If you as a parent embrace it, so will your children
and they will never feel like something is wrong with them.
Instead, they will feel challenged and special.
Advice to children: It
is just another part of them that makes them unique and
that gives them so much more to offer this world!
female in sales, with BA in Psychology
Describe your disability: dyslexia
Burden or gift: A burden. I want to be
a lawyer, but haven't come close to passing the LSAT.
Positive experience: I have earned a BS
and MBA, after a lot of failing.
Negative experience: I was diagnosed as
having a form of mental retardation in grade school after
failing the first grade.
Impact: Education. I have a God given talent
that I will never be able to realize.
Problem solving: I have an easier time
of seeing solutions outside the box than within. Thinking
outside the box has helped in ways like finding a group
oriented Business School that emphasizes team work not
individual efforts. It's easier to mask your dyslexia in
a group setting. Another way was finding a University that
didn't require a GRE. Work experience weighed more than
a GRE score, which put me on an equal playing field as
Learning style: Seeing
Advice to parents: Your child probably
has a higher IQ than you. Don't give up. He/she will make
Advice to children: You learn differently,
you're LD, its hard but overcoming the difficulties of
dyslexia might be your easiest challenge in life.
What else: If it wasn't for the New Community
School in Richmond, Va, a high school for dyslexics, I
would not be where I am today.
Joe Pearson, 45-year-old
Describe your disability: I read extremely
slowly, and my VIQ is in the 95 percentile. I also have
Burden or gift: I had to struggle to get
A's and I was admitted into NYU Dental School at age 21,
but at the end of the same year, I was thrown out of school
because I could not complete tasks on time and [was not]
given proper accommodations. It takes me far longer to
complete tasks than most - but when I do something, I do
it properly and with my all. My disability went undetected
until now because I was dubbed a "poor test taker" and
I always had tutors to help me achieve academic excellence.
Impact: I work harder than most to achieve
my goals and my life has always been my school work because
I am a very conscientious student.
Problem solving: I have an excellent memory
and I can remember anything that individuals teach me,
with repeated efforts. I have to associate learning with
objects, or situations.
Creativity: My creativity
stems from language and communication; I would like to
think I am very personable and am able to get myself out of any situation, "talk my
way out of it" using my "people skills". Also, now knowing
that I have an LD, I have a greater respect for myself
that I was able to be admitted into a professional school
at age 21, when the average age is 26.
Learning style: I am a visual learner.
If someone says something to me, it goes in one ear and
out the other.
Compensation: I study extra hard, and I
push myself to full capacity.. It's easy to get away with
a learning disability when u can do "average" in some areas;
and its easy for it to become undetected when you burn
yourself out, trying to maintain an "A" average your entire
life. If you are not in a competitive environment, its
also easy for you to compensate for your LD - you are able
to be at the top of your class, and your disability goes
Advice to children: You can do anything,
honestly anything, if you really want it and set your mind
to it. Being Learning Disabled doesn't mean anything.
22-year-old female undergraduate
LD relationship: My daughter Emily was
diagnosed with dyslexia when she was 7. Emily has a very
high IQ (120) and realized from the beginning of kindergarten
that something wasn't right. She was called names like "Slowpoke,
etc." in kindergarten because she never completed her work.
I wanted to test her right away, but the teacher reassured
me that she was just young. Emily began to say things like, "I
wish I never would have been born." I was shocked that
this cameo out of her mouth at such a young age.
Burden or gift: Emily
is an extremely creative, intelligent, dramatic, intense
wise young soul that gets extremely frustrated when she
can't read as well as the other kids. Sometimes it seems
like she is spacey because she forgets everyday things
so much - she forgets to close
the van door, rinse her toothbrush, homework, and has to
be told over and over again to remember certain things.
She is extremely unorganized. I have bought plastic bins
and labeled them, only to find them stuffed under her bed
without the proper things in them. She is extremely intuitive,
but can drive me CRAZY!!!
Positive experience: Emily is extremely
sensitive. She wrote her own book entitled, "Me and My
Dyslexia" and shared it with her class. Her touching story
made her teachers cry and pretty soon, she was being asked
to share it with many classrooms around the school and
it was shared at a teacher's meeting. I was encouraged
to get it published, but I'm not sure how. Her illustrations
are great, and her content describes what it is like to
Negative experience: The saddest time came
last year with Emily. She was seven and very frustrated
with first grade. She said that the kids were younger than
her, but reading the harder books. She said that the letters
just move all around the page and she can't get them to
stay still. She said that she hated reading the baby books
because they were boring. She went on to say that she hated
herself and she wished again that she had never been born. The
next day, I called an agency that taught the Orton-Gillingham
Method to dyslexic kids. She has been in this program now
for a year and has made gains. We still have a long ways
to go, but things are at least improving.
Impact: It is frustrating for Emily to
have a younger sister who is excelling at great speeds
and will correct big sister when she reads a word wrong.
Self esteem has been the biggest struggle.
Problem solving: Emily is like me in a
way, she is an "out of the box thinker - a square peg".
We think differently than the majority of the population
and this is reflected in school type situations where papers
and projects are completed. Because we are out of the box,
creative thinkers, we can come up with unique out of this
world stories, projects and ideas that are wonderful.
Creativity: I am creative when I teach.
Like for spelling, I pull out gel packs, sand trays, rice
trays, texturized cloth, sandpaper, etc. just so that the
kids can say the word, see the word and hear the world
all at the same time. Probably the most creative thing
I've done would be writing stories, drawing when I was
much younger, painting, etc. Emily's book was one of her
most creative things she has done. I think that Em's dyslexia
definitely helps her to be extremely creative with projects,
acting in the Civic Theatre, composing her own songs and
dances all the time, but at the same time it is a curse
because it hurts her in everyday life in some form or another.
Compensation: We listen to books on tape
a lot to increase vocabulary. The talking books/computer
program is good too. We also use the colored high-lighter
strips to highlight words while reading.
Advice to parents: Have LOTS of patience
with your child. Remember that the dyslexia doesn't go
away when your child leaves school, their processing problem
follows them everywhere. Find something that is an outlet
for your child - something to build self-confidence.
Advice to children: Hang
in there. Because God gave you this unique gift, build
on it. find the thing that brings you pleasure in life
and then run with it - It
may be drawing, acting, singing, dancing, building, sports,
horseback riding, etc. Build on your strengths.
Rebecca English, 38-year-old
High School Special Education Teacher
Describe your disability: dyslexia in numbers
and in letters, memory disorder, add (before it became
adhd), comprehension disorder and more
Burden or gift: I
was paralyzed by my problems. I was taught at a wonderful
school that it wasn't my fault but it was too late, my
self esteem was too low.
Positive experience: When we learned that
my daughter may have a LD I feel like finally I can do
something to help someone! I am her voice, and can explain
to others what it was like, from a personal point of view.
Negative experience: When I was in 7 th
grade (the second time) my teacher told me, after passing
out tests and I had a red F on mine, that I was a failer
and I would never pass 7 th grade, and I should be thankful
that I got this far. Then told me that he was going to
be my teacher forever. "haha haha". He laughed at me, in
front of the whole class.
Impact: not attending college, because
I was too scared to fail.
Problem solving: I "see" pictures in my
head and have to put the "picture pieces" together to see
the whole picture. I have to see it to understand it to
then explain and solve the issue.
Creativity: I had an art teacher who I
loved, and she had us do a lot of 3-d Art. like we had
to find shoes and decorate them to look like we went to
a certain city, and if people guessed what city it was
we go an A. We also had to make chairs to represent something
important in your life. Like animal rights. I loved those
projects because I could express myself, yet never had
to pick up a pencil and try to find words to express the
feeling I had
Compensation: I always look words up while
reading. I carry cheat sheets in my purse for tipping and
for change at stores. For bible study I have tons of bookmarks
so I can easily flip back and forth, cause I can't learn
what book is where.
Advice to parents: Most people with LD's
hate to read, but we live with picture stories in our head
all the time, so teaching kids to see the picture while
a story is being read is awesome! Hopefully they will one
day be able to pick up a book and read it just for the
fun. I read my first book just because at age 25!! I would
love it if kids learned that earlier in life!
Advice to children: Did
you know that Walt Disney was dyslexic?? Cool huh
Age diagnosed: Never been diagnosed. I've
always been able to compensate and work around it.
Burden or gift: I don't read well, but
I love to read. This makes it tough to proof my own manuscripts.
I've been told I write very well, but I'm a terrible speller
and sometimes get words mixed up.
Positive experience: The positive thing
from all this is that I've learned to persevere and keep
on keeping on till my writing or reading is complete, no
matter how long it takes.
Negative experience: It takes me so long
to complete things and I hate the idea that I could have
accomplished so much more in the same amount of time.
Creativity: I seem to have been artistic
all my life, work with my hands. Working in broadcast TV.
Learning style: I learn best by watching,
listening and trying things for myself.
How to educate children: Properly approached,
children can learn almost anything. Educators should be
less interested in teaching and start helping children
learn. There's a big difference. I frankly think all this
noise about ADD is a lack of attention to the fact that
children, and adults for that matter, do not all learn
in the same way. There are no two of us alike.
Compensation: Compensation has gotten me
through a lot of classes, helped me do well in school inspite
of my problem. Biggest thing however, I never knew I had
a problem. If you label a child, they will believer you
and act out what they've heard about themselves.
Advice to parents: First, don't believe
that your child is disabled. They are just different..
Public education plays to the masses. Children that are
different and thereby become problems are labeled, ignored,
rejected, etc., further complicating the problems. Today,
Helen Keller wouldn't have had a prayer.
Advice to children: Hang in there. Work
hard. God doesn't make junk. You are special!
Paige Evans, 68-year-old
television and movie editor
LD relationship: I
work at a very small school for Dyslexic children in
Oregon and have a very dyslexic grandson.
Burden or gift: The gift of dyslexia is
that these children learn to be so versatile in their ways
of learning and compensating, it is a joy to watch them.
I feel that most of them feel their successes to a fuller
extent. The hardest part is that they compare themselves
to children who learn easily and they feel inferior. We
work hard to change their feelings about their abilities
Negative experience: The most negative
aspect of working with children with Dyslexia is that they
have been made to feel stupid by people who don't understand
what they need to learn. They are as smart as anyone else.
These kids just need to learn a different way.
Impact: I think I deal with people differently
for the most part. I try not to assume that they automatically
understand what I'm talking or writing about. I try to
get a feel for their understanding of a situation or conversation.
How to test children: Oral testing works
best. Timed testing is stressful and for the most part
causes so much anxiety it is hard to get a feel for what
they have learned.
Advice to parents: Talk to people. Doctors,
parents, teachers - get as much advice as you can and then
pick the pieces that work for you and your child. Find
out what your child needs to help them learn and make sure
they get it. It will probably be a battle, but one worth
Advice to children: Don't give up, believe
in yourself! Feel great about everything you learn, no
matter how small.
50-year-old female secretary
Describe your disability: dyslexia, reading,
writing, listening skills
Burden or gift: a tuff question.. depending
on the day you ask me, could be some of both.
Positive experience: I can solve problems
quickly, from easy to very complex.. i'm not always sure
where the answers come from, but they come to me quickly
and are 98% of the time correct.
Negative experience: the paradox.. constant
feeling of being stpid. maybe reinforced by the many teachers
telling my parents i was retarded, and always having to
be in the slow learning group.
Greatest impact: type of employment, everyday
issues, filling out docter forms, job apps, correctly saying
a persons first or last name.
Problem solving: I can solve a very complex
problem without having to take the ste 1, step 2 approach. I
cut straight to the answer.
Creativity: i'm sure there are many of
both.. helping and hindering.. but when it helps I don't
notice that much, unless someone says how did youdo that,
on the hindering side the list is long.
Compensation: my wife does all my proof
reading, letters and e-mail's.. pays all the bills. It
takes me longer to read work related material, so I allow
for that. I always have a dictionary near by. I try to
never have to read in front of a group.
Advice to children: they
are not dumb or stupid, they just learn differently. Find
an outlet for your frustrations, sports, a hobby building
What else: Never Fear, Never Quit.
D. Miller, 41-year-old
owner of orthopedic sales business
Describe your disability: HORIBLE SPELLER
Burden or gift: I GET IN TROUBLE AT WORK
Negative experience: GETTING TALKED DOWN
TO BY DR'S
Impact: NOT BETTERING MY SELF EDUCATION
Problem solving: MY PERSONALITY NOT BY
Creativity: IM VERY ORGANIZED AND LOVE
PEOPLE AND ON THE WHOLE THEY LIKE ME
Learning style: SEEING IT DONE
Advice to parents: GET A LOT OF HELP AND
WATCH IT ALL THE TIME
Advice to children: EVERYONE HAS A CROSS
TO BEAR SOME WE SEE SOME WE DONT
Kim Baker, 47-year-old
Burden or gift: While
learning problems have complicated [my 18-year-old daughter]
Melissa's life and made portions of her education very
difficult and even unpleasant, her disability and how she
deals with it has made her a stronger and much more compassionate
person. She is slow to judge, perhaps because she has been
n the receiving end of some harsh and sometimes unfair
judgments. She also has a lot of perseverance and an incredible
tolerance to be frustrated but continue looking for a solution.
Positive experience: Because of what my
daughter has been through, I am much more capable in working
with LD students. I have learned to figure out what kids
are good at and to help them find ways to capitalize on
their strengths. Too often in education we spend all our
time and resources trying to "fix" the problem instead
of using the students' strengths to help them succeed.
Negative experience: I have seen Melissa's
self esteem eroded on countless occasions by well meaning
educators who are sure that they can teach her to spell.
She can't spell and she can't even hear the phonemes so
phonics are a nightmare.
Impact: Melissa didn't learn to read until
she was in 6 th grade and writing and spelling are still
very difficult. Anything to do with the written word is
a problem. In our literate society, the written word is
Problem solving: Melissa is somewhat of
a visualizer and does much better with geometry than with
algebra. She also will go at things from several different
directions at the same time until she finds a way that
Creativity: Melissa taught herself to read
and is an excellent reader in context. She still struggles
(and probably always will) to read words in isolation.
One day things just sort of clicked and they still do unless
she is having a bad day. Melissa loves art and poetry and
I am sure that her approach to the problems that she faces
has helped her to distill her creativity by teaching her
to look at things from more than one point of view.
Learning style: Melissa is very adept at
taking in information verbally. Books on tape made Melissa
literate long before she could read. She can visualize
and is especially gifted in 3-D art (ceramics).
Advice to children: Never think that because
you learn differently that you aren't smart. The dumb ones
are the ones who give up the first time something is hard.
Valerie Todd, 49-year-old
teacher's assistant and mother of dyslexic daughter
Describe your disability: Dyslexia and
Attentsion Defisit Disorder.
Age diagnosed: I was diagnosed at a young
age. But very few people understood it.
Burden or gift: it has been a huge burden.
All my life I always had to try so hard at school.
Negative experience: I'm in college right
now for nursing. And the pressure is tremendous for good
Creativity: As a CNA on a cardiac unit
you get pretty creative you have to thinck on your feet
at moments notice.
Learning style: Multi-Sensory approach
How to test children: early before school
age. But Special Education DOES NOT WORK. That is repetitive
learning. You never move ahead.
Advice to children: Don't be a quitter.
Learn as much as you can. Ask for help.
What else: Have courage. Some of your most
talented and bright people are Dyslexic.
41-year-old female nursing
LD: add; mother of a
daughter with add and son with dyslexia
Impact: marriage, time management, following
thru on plans
Problem solving: I am able to look at a
problem from many different points of view and consider
Compensation: I compensated for my poor
short term memory by keeping list of things to do. I use
self talk when trying to figure something out and I try
to stay organized
What else: since my twins have been diagnosed
with learning disabilities and later myself, I have learned
so much about learning. It is a fascinating process and
the techniques of teaching are as varied and unique as
we all are.. My ideas with regard to LD have shifted from
that of ignorance to informed and now an advocate of students
with LD. I am no longer shocked by what they can't do but
more so by what they can do.
Lori Nabizadeh, 43-year-old
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