How learning disabilities destroyed my life…

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Photo is from the LDA Learning Disabilities Association of America

I was in honors and advance honors classes in high school and they were extremely hard for me. I was able to do homework but I failed tests. I stayed after school all of the time to get help. My teachers said I knew the material backwards and forwards, yet again, when it came to test time I received D’s and F’s. Something wasn’t right.

Teachers and administrators suggested that I get tested for learning disabilities. My parents didn’t think anything was wrong with me. They believed that I didn’t study hard enough. My dad yelled at me and tried to drill all the information that was on my flash cards into me. I didn’t respond well to this and it did not work. It emotionally destroyed me by making me feel stupid and belittled.

I wanted to go to therapy. I begged my parents to let me go to therapy. My parents didn’t believe in it at the time. At least thats the feeling I got because when I asked to go, they said I did not need it. Deep down I knew I did. Instead, I had to suck it up and deal with the frustrations of not doing well in school.

FINALLY!!!!!! Finally, I was tested for learning disabilities my senior year after the school convinced my parents. Guess what? I was diagnosed with two disorders, memory recall and attention deficit disorder. These made my life hell for years and finally I knew what it was that made me hate school (well at least the learning part.)

Memory Recall: According to the Learning Disabilities of America, “Three types of memory are important to learning, “working memory”, “short term memory” and “long term memory.” All three types of memory are used in the processing of both verbal and non-verbal information. “Working memory” refers to the ability to hold on to pieces of information until the pieces blend into a full thought or concept. For example, reading each word until the end of a sentence or paragraph and then understanding the full content. “Short-term memory” is the active process of storing and retaining information for a limited period of time. The information is temporarily available but not yet stored for long-term retention. “Long-term memory” refers to information that has been stored and that is available over a long period of time. Individuals might have difficulty with auditory memory or visual memory.”

ADHD: According to the National Institute on Mental Health, “A disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior and hyperactivity. Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability, research indicates that from 30-50 percent of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability, and that the two conditions can interact to make learning extremely challenging. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or approximately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 24 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD. ADHD is not considered to be a learning disability. It can be determined to be a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), making a student eligible to receive special education services. However, ADHD falls under the category “Other Health Impaired” and not under “Specific Learning Disabilities.” Many children with ADHD ¬ approximately 20 to 30 percent ¬ also have a specific learning disability. The principle characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. There are three subtypes of ADHD recognized by professionals. These are the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type (that does not show significant inattention); The predominantly inattentive type (that does not show significant hyperactive-impulsive behavior) sometimes called ADD; and the combined type (that displays both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms).”

These two disorders were the beginning of the end for me. Next came college…




To my new followers, welcome to Smiling Through Tears. This blog is a daily account of my struggle with mental health disorders. To all of my returning followers, thank you for supporting me and following my journey.

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