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Do you have a dream that you are awaiting to fulfill? Or are you  consistently struggling to achieve a goal? Do you feel like you are making no progress despite all your hard work like you are spinning in a circle?   If you answered yes to these three questions, then this blog is for you! 

The Journey to Success is not easy, believe me!  I have struggled and jumped over so many hurdles to get where I am in life. My learning disability is my strength, not my weakness. There is a stigma that those with special needs are weak and limited to their ability. I want to let you know there are #nolimits to what we can achieve!

Join me on this journey to success! I want to share with you, my personal stories of inspiration and motivation that helped me to overcome the challenges I have faced. Your special needs may be different than mine but you do not have to overcome the challenges alone. We are on this journey together! 

LD Stories with Kat

Having a learning disability is more common than many people realize. Because learning disabilities are an “invisible” many people struggle in silence about their learning challenges. To help remind you that you are not alone on this journey, we are feature real life stories of individuals with learning disabilities. Learn their experience of how they discovered their LD, how they navigate through their challenges and how to encourage others on their journey. This week, we are featuring Kat

Get the help you need it will go a long way - even if you think its not “cool”
— Kat

Special Compass- How did you discover you had a learning disability?

Dar- The school system told my mom at a young age. I went to a specialized school for grade 2 I believe but my mom took me out of that program because we moved far from the school (she also thought I didn't need it- but I did :)

SC- Can you describe your learning disability and how it impacts you?

Kat- I have ADHD and dyslexia (dyslexia was worse when I was younger). My ADHD impacts my life in the way that I have a hard time focusing on tasks I don't like to do. Motivation is hard and I tend to be quite forgetful if I don't write it down especially dates and events in my calendar and making to-do lists.

SC- What was some of your challenges in school/ work and every day life?

Kat-What was some of your challenges in school/ work and every day life? School was especially hard for me because it was so hard to sit and listen to a teacher when I had very little interest in the subject, at a young age I gave up trying because i didn't get any help at home and that just kind of continued into high school. As a result my difficulties were, tests, assignments and low grades. For work It tends to be memory, usually for work I'm on because a) I'll get fired lol and b) I usually like what I'm doing.

Because I was diagnosed for ADHD as an adult I suffered with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (which run hand in hand with ADHD).
— Kat

SC- What challenges did you encounter with a learning disability, and how did you overcome?

Kat-Because I was diagnosed for ADHD as an adult I suffered with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (which run hand in hand with ADHD). I had a hard time in school and if I wanted to do well I found I had to work 3x as hard. Because motivation was low I had a hard time applying my self to life goals and completing them, even things such as cleaning the house. I over came/ cope with my ADHD by getting the help I needed and also now being off of medication due to child birth I manage it with CBT and coping strategies such as organization and routine.

SC- What is one thing people should know about people with learning disabilities?

Kat- Each and every single person is so different and learn differently. The way the school system is made up to teach all kids the same way can be defeating and unfair.

SC- What is a word of advice for a student who has the same learning disability, and is struggling to find their way?

Kat- Get the help you need it will go a long way - even if you think its not "cool"

Understanding ADHD

In a new series, we are breaking down some of the most common kinds learning disabilities . This month we are focusing on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is not a learning disability but many individuals with a LD also have ADHD, discover more about ADHD and its connections to learning disabilities.

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It is right to be wrong

Have our brain teasers stumped you, lately? If you are following our Instagram page you will know that we have stated positing brain teasers, to test the knowledge of our followers. Each week it is interesting to read the response some correct and others creative. There was one brain teaser a few weeks ago, that left people stumped. Normally, when I post the brain teaser there is usually instant response of answers, but this one brain teaser stumped people. It was a few days after a response, normally I wait a day before revealing the answers but it took some time, and this stumped me.

There are many reason why it took some time to get a response, but the situation reminded me of how sometimes we sit in class or in the office and we are hesitant to give raise a hand to respond to a question. Does this sound familiar? It is human nature not to want to be wrong. Individuals with learning disability are more likely to doubt and second guess themselves fearing of being wrong. The fear of ‘being wrong’ holds many people back. Too often people focus on the negative aspects of providing a wrong answer, that they do not see the benefits in being wrong, it is time to look on the right side of being wrong.

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
— Brené Brown

Making a mistake are learning opportunities. You cannot learn something new if you already know it. Think about it we only learn from what we do not know, and we have to take chances be willing to make mistakes and be wrong in order to learn. Here are some of three positive outcomes of being wrong.

  1. Vulnerability- Brené Brown talks about vulnerability the best! Being opened and putting yourself out there takes courage, and while it may seem scary at first we become more powerful and stronger as a person once we embrace the unknown.

  2. Growth- The courage to step out of your comfort zone, allows us to grow and become a better version of ourselves.

  3. Confidence Boost- Embracing vulnerability and the opportunity of growth allows us to boost our confidence. After going through one experience, you are more like to step in vulnerability in other areas of your life and grow. It is like a repetitive cycle.

It is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to be wrong not only does it show we are human, but we are growing as people as well. Encouraging individuals with learning disabilities to make mistakes, be willing to put themselves out there helps them to breakout of a negative cycle of constant self-doubt and embrace a new positive cycle. Vulnerability brings growth which provides opportunities to boost our confidence. There are #NoLearningLimits to what a person can achieve, so let’s take every opportunity to learn and discover the right side of being wrong.

Dyslexic Untie

Written by:  Narley Karikari

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
— Albert Einstein

I didn’t know I had dyslexia until my 4th grade teacher gently pointed it out to me one day. He called me to his desk after class and showed me my creative essay I submitted the week before. It was almost completely covered with red pen marks. He told me that my essay was very creative but my words were “interestingly arranged”. He told me he also had Dyslexia and reckoned we had something in common. It took me a minute to understand that he was telling me I had a learning disability, then another minute to grasp what word he just said. I knew I had issues with telling the time & spelling but I figured every kid did. At that age, I didn’t know how to react – I knew I wasn’t stupid, but I suddenly felt misunderstood and slightly victimized by this word that I couldn’t even spell.

Ultimately, I kept my learning disability to myself – never admitting to my family or seeking help for it. I just wanted to fit in.

Dyslexia & I would go on to have an interesting relationship. It would often catch me off guard and embarrass me in public. I would flip my B’s & D’s, Q’s & G’s, and if it was 2:45pm, I would say it was 2:54pm confidently then apologize and correct myself. Having Dyslexia can be really confusing; you second guess yourself a lot and it makes you feel as though you’re slower than you actually are.

My teacher gave me some sound advice on Dyslexia as the semester went on. He told me to not blame myself, to slow down when reading, be patient and to know that my brain was wired differently but not incorrectly.

With time, I trained my brain to slow down, pause and double check everything I saw or wrote. I eventually learned to befriend Dyslexia and make light of it. “Dyslexics Untie!” is my favorite one-liner (Untie should really be Unite). As I grew up, my Dyslexia became less aggressive, still embarrassing but not so noticeable. Friends have pointed it out even in my 20’s, which is always uncomfortable but I’ve grown to feel that my Dyslexia just adds to my quirks!

I realized there must be others with more severe cases so I started to do some research on my learning disability to better understand it and accept it.

This is what I learned:

Dyslexia is neurobiological in origin and is a specific reading disability due to a defect in the brain's processing of graphic symbols. It is a learning disability that alters the way the brain processes written material and is typically characterized by difficulties in word recognition, spelling, and decoding.

The International Dyslexia Foundation states that between 15% and 20% of the North American population have a language-based learning disability, Dyslexia being the most common of these. That means 1 in every 5 people are dyslexic!

There has been over 30 years of documented, scientific evidence and research proving the existence of Dyslexia. It is one of the most common learning disabilities to affect children, most cases start as early as 5 years old.

Severity varies, but the condition often becomes apparent when someone starts learning to read. Dyslexia is also regarded as hereditary.

Dyslexia is not a visual problem.- Dyslexia has nothing to do with your eye sight like many believe This was proven inaccurate by a study by Professor Vellutino from the University at Albany. He asked dyslexic and non-dyslexic students to reproduce a series of Hebrew letters that none of them had ever seen before. The dyslexic students were able to perform the task just as accurately as the non-dyslexic students, showing that their dyslexia did not affect their eye sight.

Contrary to popular belief, the core problem in dyslexia is not reversing letters (although it can be an big indicator which it was for me). Rather, the difficulty lies in interpreting the sounds in words (the phonological sound component of language) and then matching those individual sounds to the letters and combinations of letters in order to read and spell.

It’s a lifelong disability but you can find help. - Left untreated, dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behavior problems, anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers.

While dyslexia is a lifelong learning disability, early and effective intervention can help an individual keep-up and retain his/her grade level in school and build confidence.

Other helpful strategies for people with dyslexia are:

  • extra time to practice reading
  • Read aloud to build reading accuracy, speed and expression
  • Connect with trained tutors
  • Getting reading assignments in audio formats
  • Join a support group
  • seek an IEP if Dyslexic characteristics worsen (Individual Education Plan)

Dyslexia and intelligence are NOT connected. -Research has shown that people with Dyslexia are rather gifted in a more creative, abstract-thinking way. I couldn’t agree more; I’ve always been talented in the arts and as a kid I was oddly very gifted at word search puzzles, completing them in minutes.

Steve Jobs, Einstein, Leonardo Divinci & Steven Spielberg are famous dyslexic! Although we may not excel at finely detailed tasks, we are excellent at big picture thinking and tasks that require creativity and innovation.

If you know anyone with Dyslexia, do not to criticize or make fun of them. Understand that we are trying very hard to not let it show. My journey with Dyslexia has changed my view on what it means to have a learning disability. Individuals who learn, read, hear, speak, interpret differently or slower are valuable and have many other beautiful gifts seemingly because of their learning disability.

Dyslexia is a complex learning disability that affects thousands, if not millions, of young & old people but it is not to be feared or condemned.
I believe there’s a genius and a gift in every intellectual “flaw” one might have if parents, teachers & society just look at little closer, have patience, learn to adjust, and think outside of the box.

Many successful people refuse to let Dyslexia stop them from realizing their dreams, and instead turn it into their superpower!

Untie, or Unite, Dyslexia is real, it matters, and you can still thrive in life with it!

 


Narley is a model, actress and writer from Toronto, Canada. She aspires to become a life coach focused on self-love, life & relationships. Narley Karikari is a model with a message. She believes self-love is the foundation in which we build a happy life & aims to teach and empower others to begin their journey back to themselves. Narley journals her findings on her personal blog: www.narleyk.com