Allison is one of the members of the #Original10. She opened her heart to us and all the community to show us that she is working hard and not giving up.
When I was in fourth grade I failed a state test. By failed I mean the school called my parents to offer me special learning services.
It was bad.
I was put in the LRC (Learning Resource Center). I did not understand why I was there. I mean, it was one test and why was that one test so important that I needed to have special services? The other kids that were in the LRC were there because they had learning disabilities. But I didn’t, right?
I forced my parents to take me out of the LRC because I felt I was there for no reason. That year I started really struggling with school. I knew something was wrong, and tried to convince my parents that I had a learning disability because to me, that was the only explanation. Of course they did not believe me because I was nine. But I couldn’t do a lot of things that most nine year olds could do which I knew wasn’t right.
By sixth grade I was very frustrated. I was really struggling with school. I was still trying to convince my parents that I had a learning disability but they told me to just stay after more with my teachers and I would get it. But I didn’t get it. I felt stupid. I felt like an idiot. I couldn’t tell time, I couldn’t graph, I couldn’t do geometry, and I didn’t know the difference between nickels, dimes, and quarters.
I knew something was wrong. In eighth grade I was struggling a lot with math and science. I came home one day to my mom in a panic because I had stayed after trying to go over a graph with my teacher and no matter how many times he showed me what to do, I couldn’t do it. I knew that this was more than just not understanding how to graph. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand it, it was that I couldn’t do it. She told me she had already been looking into having me tested for learning disabilities.
So I got tested. The testing took two days and was the most mentally draining experience I have ever had. The details of those tests aren’t really important, but it was four hours of tests, and it was clear something was wrong, because, before the end of the testing, the doctor called my mom in to tell her that something was definitely wrong. I did have a learning disability, and an eye problem. What I have is called a non-verbal learning disability.
That is pretty much a catchall phrase for so many things, but for me it means I do not understand visual information. When I learn verbally I’m in the 99th percentile, but when I learn visually, I’m in the 4th percentile. That’s why I wasn’t able to do all of those things I listed before, like telling time, graphing etc. I also have some eye problems. Not sight problems. I have 20/20 vision.
But, the muscles in my eyes do not work correctly. I can’t exactly explain the problems well because I don’t completely understand them, haha, but I have a convergence disorder, a divergence disorder, accommodation problems, and tracking issues. Pretty much my eye muscles don’t work right in so many ways. I have to go to vision therapy to correct these problems. It’s hard. School can be hard, especially math and science. But I’m doing okay. I’m getting through it. I need to re-learn what I have already learned. I need to learn how to learn basically.
I will have to deal with this my whole life, but it’s okay. It makes me stronger.
Jennifer Morrison once said, “be brave enough to be yourself” and that is what I intend to do.