When I was a child I can remember dandelions growing in our yard among all the other flowers. I would see the yellow buds of them and thought that they were a flower. I would pick a bunch of them and give them to my mom or my grandma. Little did I know that they were a weed and could make people who were allergic to them miserable. I also loved it when the gold faded to a cotton white. I would close my eyes and make a wish I exhaled the puff. I would then open my eyes and watch the particles dance in the sky sending my wishes into the world. I do not remember what I wished for them. I do remember after finding out that I had a Learning Disability wishing that I did not have one. I have often felt like having one that I was a dandelion in a field of beautiful flowers. How I longed not to be a weed but a beautiful bloom. Many people told me that once I grew up, my disability would go away. like the dandelions pop up no matter how much you pull them, so does my Learning disability. No matter how hard I wished it would go away, it has stayed.
The deep roots of the dandelions settled in when I was young. I was diagnosed as a small child and did not like them. I wanted to be rid of them and be like the other blooms. I could not change the way that my brain was designed though.
When I am in school my disability affects me. I need to have instruction taught in a way that I can understand it. My academic struggles are in math and science. Other areas that I struggle in are reading comprehension and eye-hand coordination. I have to use accommodations of extended test time and having the test read aloud to me. I have not found an efficient way to learn math and found that it is easier to avoid it as much as possible. Having a math disability caused me to choose the program that I wanted to enter during college. I knew if the program required a heavy course load of science and math, it would not be the right for me.
I experience difficulties with my disabilities at my workplace. It can be hard for me to process new information and may need extra time to learn new tasks. I also struggle with anything math-related. All the students that I work with at a school as a para educator know that I cannot help with math. I focus on what I am good at such as helping students with reading, or writing. Another strength that I have is empathy. I know what it is like for the students I work with who have a disability. Learning can be difficult and many of them doubt themselves. I find it rewarding to be able to encourage another person.
Socially I struggle as well. It can be hard to have a disability, when I am socializing I am not able to keep score when I play games with friends. I also have trouble remembering the rules on how to play them and find it frustrating. Driving is not possible. I can't get in my vehicle and drive somewhere. Luckily I have a great support system who can help me, but it takes extra planning to make it run.
The community is also a place where my disability shows up as well. I also have trouble when totaling items at the store and calculating a tip. my phone is a big help for me when figuring out a tip. I also have problems using an escalator with my visual perception. I do not know when to step down with the moving stairs. I can use an elevator or the stairs to get to where I need to go.
As I grew I found that dandelions were not useless and could make tea out of them. I also saw that my disability was not useless either. I was able to find different ways to use it to benefit myself and others.
Like the pesky dandelions that came up in my yard all those years ago, my Learning Disability will pop up too. My condition did not leave me after graduation. Learning how to manage one is a lifestyle. I no longer wish on a puff that I do not have one. Instead, I have learned how to adapt and find new ways to many things.