When many people think about Learning disabilities they often think of it in negative connotations. Many people focus on what the person cannot do and think that they do not provide value. Recently I overheard a person saying that people with Learning Disabilities are paid to stay at home and be stupid. The comment was not directed to me, but hearing this was shocking and disturbing. No one is paying for me to stay at home and not to work. The money I earn is made through working steady employment and other jobs on the side. I understand that there are individuals with Learning Disabilities and other disabilities where competitive employment has not been the best option for them. Many of them would love to have a job but face barriers such as not having an understanding workplace, lack of accommodations, or transportation.
Hearing the comment about people with Learning Disabilities being stupid was also upsetting to me. I have been called that along with other unkind words many times. I already feel this way when I encounter anything involving math. I have also faced doubt and uncertainty in school and employment.
Dwelling on the negative is not helpful to me. What does help is focusing on what I am good at such as reading, writing, photography, and connecting with others with disabilities. I have accepted my disability and made peace with what I cannot do. If only others could accept it and not try to change or cure me.
Another helpful suggestion to others is to be mindful of what they say. The comment was not directed to me, but you never know who may be present who has one or knows someone who has one. I am not alone in having one. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people have a Learning disability. The chances of coming across a person with one are highly likely. Individuals who have them are in your schools, church, workplace, and other places in the community. Unlike a visible disability such as a person with a physical disability. Most people would not think that it is acceptable to make fun of a person in a wheelchair, but people with hidden disabilities are often bullied as well. Just because you cannot see it doesn't mean that it is not there and hearing those comments is hurtful.
I cannot change that I have a Learning Disability and the difficulties that it presents. I also cannot control what a person will say or how the comments will make me feel. I am determined not to let a disability or another individual's disparaging words stop me from success. I will instead focus on what I can do and move forward.