Student Profile: Karen Davidson

davidsonMy learning disability
By: Karen Davidson

This is the origin story of why I am different from most people. I was born with a learning disability, which made it challenging for me to succeed in school. At first I did not know that I was a little different from everyone else, so I just followed what my peers where doing.  In activities beyond school, I noticed there was a slight difference between friends and myself, which made it harder to go to school. While in first grade, I always wanted to skip school and just stay home. This was probably because everyone in first grade was learning how to read.  Me for example it was because of my delay,
which made it hard for me to believe that I was going be successful in life.  While people were reading I would just memorize an easy book to just get by.    With this intension my parents allowed me to skip school because they knew I was struggling with  dyslexia.  

In the earlier years, I had many set backs that made it hard for me to move on at the same path as my friends. I wanted to be like people my age but my parents decided it would be easier to have an extra year of preschool. At the time, I did not know that I was older than everyone else so it did not bother me. Later in school it made it hard because some people thought that I was dumb because I was older than them. Little did they know that I was just like them but just had a small disability. It really bothered me that other students and teachers would judge that I could not perform activities that others without disability could. My attention to this was that people would not let me answer what I wanted to say.  They would just go in conclusion that I could not talk and should be ignored.  Little did they know that I had auditory processing delays, which was harder to respond fast. With auditory processing delays it is impossible to remember exactly word-by-word someone is saying to you.    It makes it hard with group discussions and interact with my peers. This led me to hang out with my family because they always supported me and made everything easy and less complicated.   Later on I had achieved how to succeed with this delay and it made it easier with learning and communicated with people.   Now my auditory processing delays are polished and easier to be myself.

At first, I did not have a full picture of what was going on and why I was different than most of my friends.    I wanted to fit in and be like my friends, so I would rush my work to be the first done while pretending I did not need help.    Most of time, this mechanism did not work and made it harder because I was failing many classes. I decided it would be in my best interest to ask for help and support in and out of school.  This decision was not all my idea it was my parents but accepted what they wanted to do with me because I knew they were only their to help me.   I had to visit with various people, who made me different than everyone else. It was hard emotionally because I wanted to be the same but it made it difficult because I had tutoring four times a week, speech and langue twice a week, and special education in school. With the support I have become who I am today. Although it was a tough task, I knew it was a smart choice in the end. With working hard and asking for help I noticed improvements in my reading, writing, and other academic skills. I noticed myself advocating and using my resources. After all of these constructive changes, I felt like almost everyone else with some exceptions.  For instance, everything would take more time, as I had to process my learning more gradually.  But I knew to be successful I had to make these changes and it was acceptable to go slower.    In my high school years, I learned even more strategies. For example, using my accommodations I can attend the same college as those without disabilities.  With preparation and working hard, I know that I just have a small handicap that can be overcome.  

 Right now I am not ashamed to have this learning challenge it has taught me several of life’s messages that I would never have encountered if it weren’t for my learning challenge. My learning challenge has set a high bar for me that it’s ok to be little different and its easy to overcome it with perseverance and determination and not afraid to ask for help in college or in the professional world.  

In college I received a lot of help to make me successful.  Without DSS  in college, being successful would be a big challenge for me because taking test in a large setting would not be ideal for me.  This is because of me still having the problem of rushing my work.  My DSS teacher helps me slow down with my tests and that’s why I feel I am successful because I still have that option of taking test one-on-one.