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queen of glitter gnomes
10,504 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am curious as to the experiences of people of different generations with learning disabilities. So I have a few questions, and then I'll share part of my own story.
  1. How old were you when you were told that you had a learning disability?
  2. what kind of learning disability do you have?
  3. Did you get any kind of support or therapy for it out of school?
  4. Did your school make any sort of accommodations for you?
  5. Do you feel that your learning disability has affected your life and your career?
  6. What sorts of things would you like to see done to help children and adults with learning disabilities reach their potential?
Here is some of my story:
When I went to school in the 1960s and 1970s, not much was known about learning disabilities, especially the one that I have, which is auditory processing disorder. I also have a sensory processing disorder and hyperacute hearing. Because these disabilities were unknown, I was given inappropriate labels and not much help. Because I have a sensory processing disorder, I am easily overstimulated by crowds and noise and light touch and smells and all of that sort of stuff. Unfortunately, I am a "baby boomer." That meant that schools were crowded and there was a lot of noise and chaos from all of those kids in a confined space. At one point, I was taken out of public school and placed into a school for kids who were "emotionally disturbed." Quite honestly, I felt as if I had been placed in the educational garbage can.
When I finally went back to "regular school," I was determined that I would not ask for help from anyone because I didn't want to be given any more toxic labels than I had already received. I was determined that I would cope with painful ears and with not understanding teachers who talked too fast and sounded like blah blah blah with sheer will power. By the time that I got into high school, I was no longer teased or bullied. Instead, I was simply ignored because I was that short little kid who seemed confused and out of place. I thought that I was very stupid because learning came so hard to me.
I didn't find out about my learning disabilities until I was in my 30s. After years of therapy, I still don't understand what people are saying when there are multiple conversations and a noisy background. I probably never will. Because of the great variety of workplace environments in which I cannot function, I will never achieve that prosperity that my generation is known for. Still, I feel better for having the knowledge that I am not "lazy, crazy, or stupid."
It is my hope that members of younger generations are not treated as badly as I was by what seemed to me to be an uncaring system. All kids, including kids with disabilities, deserve the chance to have a good education that meets their needs and helps them to discover their gifts and achieve their potential.
I'm interested in your stories so that we can get a better understanding of one another and so we can offer support to each other. Thank you so much. This is something that is very near and dear to my heart.

2,873 Posts
I went to school in the 40's and 50's. In the sixties, teacherswere making diagnoses, giving them to the school nurse, who gave themto the MD, who, child sight unseen, confirmed the dumb ass teacher'sangry denunciation of a difficult child. In the forties, just inadvance of the Boomers, there were no nurses, but "slow"and "afflicted" were the common diagnoses. I read betterthan anyone else all through elementary school, but did not learn todo cursive nor to read it until an eureka moment in the third grade.But the "slow" persisted. I was, am dyslectic. I learned toread in Miss Dessie Norris's first grade in a WPA school building-over crowded, dreary, by flashcards. And no matter what a word lookslike, if it always looks the same, it is easy to read.

ADHD usually meant that the kid was bothersome. Might be hunger,family problems, whatever. But meds gave the teacher an easier day.

I have seen only one “normal” child, e. g., not a crack baby or such,that was attention deficit, and the right meds made a wonderfuldifference.
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