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 Dani Alexandria.
Dani Alexandria is a young singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, and disability advocate, hailing from Toronto, Canada. She started her music career at a young age; forming a band in high school as well as singing in choirs and studying with the Royal Conservatory of Music.
In addition to working on new music, this multi-level creative’s interests in digital art, design, film making and photography have inspired her to explore a new path, podcasts. Launching her “Let’s Talk Creative” podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, the artist discusses navigating the internet with children, post-secondary options for creative fields and how to protect yourself on social media.
As an advocate for people with disabilities, Dani’s main goal is to inspire others with disabilities and show young creatives that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to.
“That it’s really not a “disability” it’s a difference.”
— Dani Alexandria
Special Compass- How did you discover you had a learning disability?
Dani Alexandria - How did you discover you have a learning disability? I was diagnosed at in grade 3 (7 years old). I was a part of a study done by sick kids hospital in Toronto
SC- Can you describe your learning disability and how it impacts you?
DA-I have ADHD and Dyslexia. My learning disabilities impact my ability to read and understand information. It takes me longer than most people to complete tasks and I find it hard to stay focused on things that aren’t interesting to me
SC- What was some of your challenges in school/ work and every day life?
DA-Completing assignments on time is the most difficult thing because if all of my teachers assign homework and let’s say it’s 3 hours of homework for everyone else it is basically 6 hours for me. Many times there aren’t enough hours in the day to finish it all. At work it is the same way. It can become very frustrating spending my entire night doing things that I should have done at work and not getting compensated for it. It is also hard to explain these challenges to teachers or my bosses because I “look normal”.
SC- What is one thing people should know about people with learning disabilities?
DA- That it’s really not a “disability” it’s a difference. I learn differently than most people that doesn’t mean I CAN’T learn it just means people may have to modify the way they teach or I have to modify the way I do things
SC- What is a word of advice for a student who has the same learning disability, and is struggling to find their way?
DA- Advocate for what you need and if you don’t feel comfortable doing that find people who will help you to advocate. We live in a “one size fits all” system except it doesn’t actually fit all. So don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself or tell you you can’t do something. Ask for what you need so you can succeed!