Growing Up Learning Disabled

I have been in search of employment for almost two months and feeling wary because of some bad experiences. The last person to terminate me, called me “incompetent”. This has been a theme throughout my young adult life when it comes to work. I’m punctual and pleasant. I believe I am good at customer service and that I communicate well. However, something doesn’t stick at times. I’m forgetful, I guess. As hard as I try, nothing seems to last long for me and I desperately need it to.

Growing up, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and a learning disability. I started off in the elementary school closest to my house, but after a year, I had to be moved to another school across town because they had a better program supposedly. I road the short bus to school for the remaining five years of elementary. As I moved on to middle school, I was in the M track. I forget what the M stands for but I remember that the class sizes were smaller than most. When high school came around, it became obvious that I was doing very well at these classes and my IEP team thought it was time to move me to regular and some advanced level classes.

In college, there was no such thing as classes designed for special education students. There were remedial courses but the most benefit that was offered was tutoring and extra time to complete exams. By the time, I had graduated, no one meeting me, would know that I was ever considered “slow”.

While, it’s been lovely to leave that shame behind, it’s come with a fair amount of frustration, in the form of struggling with work tasks and not being able to hold a job. I feel like my outward appearance and ability to articulate completely fools the employer into thinking that I am just an average person and I ought to be able to perform the necessary tasks of the position without supervision or reminding.  And I can do well, for a while, but sometimes I make mistakes. I struggle with being consistent.

I feel like my “disability” is a cruel joke. I am very capable of comprehending complex ideas and have an innate thirst for knowledge but when it comes to application and function, I get lost. I mentioned the shame this brings me and I feel awful that I use that word to describe what it feels like. No one should feel ashamed for something they aren’t in control of. People with physical disabilities, I imagine, don’t feel any stigma, especially in modern times. Why should someone with cognitive limitations feel that way?

I was bullied heavily throughout my grade school experience. It’s something that had really left a mark on my self-esteem. I feel a lot of anger and resentment towards the people who targeted me, despite the fact that it’s been thirteen years since I graduated high school. I often wish I had been home schooled instead and if I were delusional enough to procreate, I would choose to do so with my child.

On Monday, I have an appointment with my local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to asses my abilities and weaknesses. I am hoping to get some more schooling out of it; perhaps a certification and a career more suited to my personal skills. I think I want to go into counseling or social work.

Advertisements

I have chosen to title my blog, Beginning to Believe, for many reasons. It is one thing to hope. You can hope that the direction that your life is going in has a “happy ending”, you can hope that you reach your goals, whatever they are. It is another thing entirely to believe; have faith that what you seek is intended for you.

It’s been a long time since I attempted to reach out and tell the world what I have to share. My message may today not be unique or novel but it suits me fine enough to know that I did something other than keep to myself.

Odds are, if you’re able to read this. you have electricity, running water and air conditioning. For those reasons, you should count yourself as fortunate. You probably have food in your refrigerate that you can go get right now. There is a large population of the world that does have these luxuries. You were born where you were, when you were for a reason, as were they. That doesn’t make you a better person nor does it make them so either.

It is not what you have that gives you value, but the content of your character. The main basis for good character, as quoted and re-quoted in the golden rule, is to “do unto others, as you would have done unto you”, in other words, treat people, (friends, neighbors, strangers) as you would like to be treated.


Whether or not you adhere to any religious or philosophical standards, I believe this is the truest, most simplified code for human existence. We were each born with a purpose and a calling. No one is insignificant, not even starving children in third world countries. Your life has meaning and what I am starting to trust in, is that we all can grab each day with both hands and be our best selves.