MEMORIES OF SCHOOL WITH LEARNING DISORDERS

 


I’m 61. When I was younger, learning disabilities did NOT exist, by name anyway.

I have been blessed with many talents, some as a result of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD), some not. I’m a very positive person, fun to be around, have a great sense of humor, love storytelling and writing,(like this website of  writing about learning disorders to supplement my retirement), all probably to deflect focus on my learning disorders. As a child and young adult, I was always disorganized, forgetful and had trouble keeping focus on a task. However, I was also very eager to please, was humorous, upbeat and caring. I feel that these positive ADD qualities helped my teachers, peers and parents in disregard my so called “weaknesses.”

I was capable of great things “if only she had applied herself”, a direct quote from my teacher in elementary school. My parents were very concerned that I wasn’t getting a good education because my grades were not reflecting that I was. My grades, however, ranged from bad to awful.

So, mid year in third grade my sisters and I transferred to another school. Not just any school, Catholic School where my sisters and I were the only Protestants there, awkward! Not only was it hard to leave familiar surroundings and friends but to be put mid-year into an environment that put focus directly on us as “new kids” “non-Catholic”, “from the wrong side of town”. I cried by the end of the first day because everything was so unfamiliar.

The reason we went to this private school was to get out of the public-school system back in the sixties. I felt uncertain, uncomfortable, in an awkward and unexplored situation of a new school and new religion. Catholic is exceedingly different from my Methodist upbringing. Well, as you may guess, we converted Catholic well, tuition was less. If you were Catholic attending Catholic Church, you also attended Catholic School at a reduced rate. Within a year, our family were “converted Catholics”.

I want to blame my first year’s bad grades on the transition to a new environment of church and school. My sister was held back, but because of my size (chubby big girl) I proceeded to the next grade and caught up with the advance curriculum. St. Mary’s was doing multiplication tables in third grade and I hadn’t even heard of those tables.

However, with time the social aspect became comfortable and easy for me because I was fun to be around, a nice, sweet gal and had a good sense of humor. I possess the ability to laugh at myself, which makes life seem bearable during difficult times.

My short-term memory is a joke, especially for tests. Like I have said, my grades were average at best, but have also always struggled, especially in college but I persisted and even got a post graduate degree. I learn differently and finally figured out my learning style. Write, rewrite, and then rewrite again notes from class until I could comprehend, understand, and then answer questions on written exams. However, to verbal answer questions was a weakness. I needed a trigger to retrieve the answers.

I can remember my Mom always saying “you are not listening” when really, I did not process quickly to what I was hearing. So, my comeback now would be “I’m listening, I’m just not processing”.  Taking time to think something through was a sign that you were not listening.

Later while dealing with my daughter’s school problems, I recognized she had a distraction issue, it was established the she had ADD. Now, schools have special adaptions for learning disorders that helped her to take test and medication is helpful. I now think back and recognize my mother having similar ADD and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) characteristics and that this family gene thing started to become clear. Luckily, the means to the end worked out for me.

Thank you for checking in. Please leave a message or question. I’d love to hear your stories. Please go to ALL EARS to read my other posts like  THINGS ADULTS WITH AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER DO DIFFERENTLY.

Blessings,

Laura Lee