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Living and Struggling with a Learning Disability

By Dawn Spence

Sometimes the best gift that we can give someone is being able to relate and give them compassion. What better person to give this type of understanding than one that has walked in their shoes?

My Journey
I have always had a love to teach and especially to teach those who struggle. I believe this love came out of my own challenges. You see I grew up with an undiagnosed learning disability believing that I was dumb and lazy. I could walk into any English classroom and the words would flow from my heart to my pen to the paper without a second thought but put me in a math class and I was almost paralyzed with fear. I was afraid to fail or struggle another time, but I always did. It started in elementary school and followed me to college. The worst part was that I felt stupid and I believed it.

So my senior year in college, I decided to get myself tested. For once and for all I needed to know what was wrong with me. Then on that sunny Friday afternoon, I finally had an answer. I was not stupid or lazy as those voices in my head had always told me. I found out that I had Dyscalculia. It is a learning impairment that affects mathematics.The label did not change who I was, but it helped me understand what my struggle was.

Important Lessons Learned

Knowledge Is Power
Understanding the glitches helped me develop strategies to work through my learning disability. I learned how to work through my mathematical challenges and continue to use these strategies to this day.

Labels Do Not Define the Learner

Having a label does not define you or your child but gives you a door into unlocking their full learning potential.Some parents struggle with getting their child labeled but labels can help you understand your child's struggles and how to meet their needs.

Learning Disabilities Do Not Limit You

Even with an undiagnosed learning disability, I was able to graduate high school and college with honors. It was difficult, but I believe it made me stronger and able to help my own children with learning disabilities.

In my life, I learned that struggling with a learning disability can lead to resilience and determination.  It can for your children too.

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