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Learning Disabilities and Feeling Good About Yourself

Everyone learns differently, it’s a fact. Some people could be visual learners, others could be auditory learners, some people may take more time to get work done, and others could whip through work in a blink of an eye. That’s one similarity we all have – everyone learns differently. 

I am a 17-year-old girl from Westchester who has dyslexia. The fact that I said “from Westchester” probably means nothing to you, but to me, that’s one of the main reasons why I used to be ashamed of my learning disability. It’s taken a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that I simply just learn differently than other kids and struggle a bit more with some subjects, but it doesn’t mean that I am any less smart than someone who does not have dyslexia. In my last 17 years, I’ve come to realize that people love to compare themselves to others – especially in school. Starting in middle school I noticed school wasn’t as easy for me compared to others and it made me feel stupid when I didn’t do as well as my peers. I started to feel ashamed because I was comparing myself. 

It’s important to know that people with learning disabilities aren’t stupid or dumb, they just have different learning styles. Many people get offended by these stereotypes because it’s hurtful. Knowing that people associate you with those words can affect someone’s mental health.  It makes a person feel very low about themselves when a person says a word that is offensive to them. 

A lot of people don’t always consider how people feel when you make them feel down. It is always important to consider other people’s feelings. Many times when people come forward saying they have a learning disability they feel like people will judge them, so make sure you don’t.  

Comparing yourself to others in dealing with education won’t get you anywhere. All you can truly do is believe in yourself.  I know how hard it can be to not compare yourself to others when all it seems is as if people talk about their grades and how upset they are with that 97 on the science test. When that feeling of frustration goes through your mind, just remind yourself that you try your best every day.  I know with myself in school when I do poorly on a test I always tell myself “it’s just one test, there will be a next one” it allows me to understand that there is always gonna be another chance. 

When I mentioned that I am from Westchester it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but where I’m from means a lot. Everyone in my town compares every little thing, especially when going to college. It’s very difficult to listen to others comparing their grades that are A’s, while someone with a learning disability tries just as hard, but may not receive the same grade as your peers. Over the years I’ve learned to remind myself repeatedly that I do my best and no one can tell me otherwise. 

Remember that you are you and each day you learn something new. Like everyone else you just learn it differently and that’s okay.

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