I went to my sisters school for a ground breaking ceremony for the new athletic complex they are building and it made me reflect.
Focus Learning Academy is a school that focuses on kids that have learning disabilities. At Focus, kids get a chance to make it through school without getting labled or told that they can not make it because they learn differently. Kids with ADD, ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia are capable of learning. They just see things differently and it may take a little longer.
I was one of those kids growing up. I was diagnosed at a young age with ADHD and Dyslexia. They told my mom that I would not be able to make it through school without medication. My mom refused to believe that to be true. She knew how smart I was. I scored very high on my IQ test. My mom spent countless hours going over things with me figuring out how I learned best.
In 3rd-6th grade I left school to go to tutoring 2 hours per day, 4 days a week. I didn't know that I was different than everyone else. My mom always told me that I can do it. I just need to focus and work hard.
I made it through elementary and now it was time for Jr High. I didn't go to tutoring anymore. School wasn't hard and I made good grades. I made it through High School easily took AP English in the 11th and 12th grade. After I signed to go to Texas and they said I didn't need to have the class so I dropped it. I graduated High school with no problems!
As I prepared for college they told me that I had to be tested again. Once you have been tested and it is on your transcript and they have to do it again before you enter college so they can know where you are. I got tested again and it went well. My IQ score was high but they were really confused on how I was able to make it through high school without medication.
They told me that there was no way that I would make it through college without medication. The doctor gave me a prescription and told me to think about it and encouraged me try it for a week and see if it makes things easier for me.
I went home and thought about it. I told my mom I would give it an honest effort. I took the medicine and the next thing I knew, I was cleaning my whole bathroom with with a tooth brush. I spent about 5-6 hours scrubbing. My mom came and checked on me a few times. The last time she came in and checked on me she told me to just stop, the bathroom was clean enough and I need to go to bed. We realized that the medication was not for me.
I felt like I was not myself I was so focused on that bathroom I don't even think I stopped to eat or drink. I felt like I was in a trance. That is not me at all. I never took those meds again. When I struggled in college they suggested that I should take something. I was too determined to show them that I can do it without help. I was just ready to be done with school. Between the demands of trying to graduate and the demands from track and field, I was overwhelmed. I just wanted to be finished. I continued to press forward and I made it! I graduated college without medication!
I wish that people would take a little more time to find out why these kids struggle the way they do. Some of the kids at Focus learning academy have some extreme situations at home that makes things at school hard. They may be hungry or their parents are sick. They may be raising themselves because their parents work so hard that they hardly see them. Why shouldn't these kids have a chance to improve their lives with a quality education. A chance to have someone that cares enough to tell them they can do it that they are not dumb or incapable. Someone to tell them that they can go to college and that they should go to college. As well as someone that will give them a chance to dream and provide an opportunity for them to be successful.
Never underestimate a child that learns differently. You never know what they may become or what they are capable of doing. Great athletes, singers, musicians, writers, scientists, artists, and inventors have struggled with learning disabilities but they did not let it stop them from being successful.
What I would tell a kid that struggles with anything in life is, when you put your mind to it you can do anything. It may not be easy but you can do it. It may take a long time but you can do it. Learning disabilities do not go away, you learn how to adapt. To figure out what works best for you. Find out how you learn... Work with it and work it out!
If you believe you can achieve