To start I’ve always highly disliked the term disability, but my dad used it quite often about me. Starting in 3rd grade I had my first round of testing for a learning disability.
Then the extra classes, getting pulled out of classes into the special classrooms started for math, reading, and writing.
In class we would read a chapter of a book out loud, each person in class would read a paragraph.
It only took one time of one classmate giggling when I stuttered over a word to build an everlasting fear and anxiety of reading out loud.
At 26 years old, If I have to read something at work, even just a few sentences from an email I get nervous.
In elementary school, my dad got me enrolled in a special third-party therapy, in Bishop Woods buildings in Elm Grove, I remember because I always dreaded going, they pushed me so much.
It was all to help me and was worth it. As a child, I didn’t fully understand why I was there.
But it was because they saw a hint of dyslexia with words and numbers as well as my struggle to understand math problems. Therapy helped…for a while.
Middle school there was so much drama between my parents and my friends I don’t think anyone noticed that I still had the same problems.
The middle of my sophomore year of high school, my dad noticed again that I was having problems with math…again.
I would do fine on the homework, try to study, go in before and after school for help and still fail the tests.
After pushing the school district for an extended period of time, I started getting pulled out of classes again to complete another round of IEP testing.
All I really remember from the final meeting was being in the conference room at the school surrounded by adults talking about me.
Then them saying, “she isn’t skilled in math but as long as she has a calculator, she should be fine”,
then “The test’s indicate that Katelyn does show significant results of having short-term memory”. After that the rest kind of went blank.
I was 15 years old and just got told I have short-term memory.
From that point forward I have special paperwork that I need to show the teacher of every math class I take at least, if not every teacher.
I did that my Junior year, and the being singled out in class to have more time for a test or go to a different room for a test made me feel so ashamed.
Everyone stared at me, I was already an odd and awkward teenager, then lets at this on top.
Going to college, even if it is “just” community college, at first I showed them the paperwork, reluctantly.
I don’t like that it feels like a crutch, I don’t want the special treatment or to be singled out. The teachers would look and talk to me differently.
Moving to a different school I didn’t say anything. Now I am in a math class, after my first test I got “the email” from the teacher regarding my bad score.
I told him about my past, as I didn’t see I have a choice. I have put in a lot of extra work, as I expected but I know it will be worth it.