Lets first start with a disclaimer. I know this topic is very personal for a lot of people. As parents we do the best we can, I do not blame my parents in any way. I am not judging any parents who are currently dealing with this with their child. BUT I am sharing my testimony and how I was effected by being labeled with a learning disability.
I was labeled with learning disabilities as early as I can remember. I can remember in 2nd grade being pulled out of normal class to be put in special programs. Through all my schooling years I was told that I was a slow learner, that I was not expected to do as well as everyone else and that I didn’t have to work as hard as everyone else because the bar for my success was set so low. Sharing this is not easy for me I have written and rewritten this post many times but I believe it is something that needs to be shared.
I was “forced” to take ADD/ADHD prescriptions starting in my early elementary school years. Even at that young age I knew I didn’t want that poison in my body, I would hide the pills in my pocket so my mom thought I took it (avoiding the fight of not taking it.) I did this for months…. she never suspected a thing, she thought the medicine was “working”. The placebo effect even works on people who are not taking the medicine. I was placed in RSP (reading and spelling program) This class was to work on the basics. But all it did was go over the same thing the same way everyday, as a mom who is currently teaching my kids to read that is not a productive solution to someone who is not understanding how to read. Even after years of this program my reading did not improve… but what did happen is my grades in others classes began to drop. Instead of a child who took a little longer to read, I was becoming lazy in my school work and stopped wanting to participate in class. The adults in my life blamed this on my “learning disability” but I knew differently. I begged for years to get out of this special program knowing it wasn’t helping but it was the only way that they knew how to ” help” me. This is where I believe the first big mistake was made; they stopped listening to me. I was the one they were trying to help but my voice meant nothing. So I continued the program through middle school, but every year I fell more and more distant from my classes. In reality these programs were having little to no improvement but no one was questioning the process. Through high school my parents noticed a trend, I wouldn’t turn in home school but I would pass tests! How could this be? isn’t homework the foundation of our school system?
The problem was I was never a “slow learner” with “learning disabilities”. I was a child who took a little longer to read but then I was told I wasn’t normal, I wasn’t going to do as well as everyone else, that I had to take medicine to be “normal” even though I never really took the pill that they said helped me so much. I was smart I did like to learn but my expectations for myself where lower to match the expectations that others had for me. So I did the bare minimum, I knew the information but why do the work if no one expected to become more then I was.
I am a strong believer of the power of words. If you tell someone they are “slow” “special” (in a bad way), or disabled; they will live down to those expectations especially when they are so young like I was.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
I am able to look back on those events and see things differently now that I am a avid reader, who LOVES learning. I don’t believe I grew out of these “problems or disabilities” I believe I overcame the words that were consistently spoken over me. I believe that those words limited my expectation for myself knowing that the expectations others had set for me were so low.
I am now a home school mom of two amazing girls, I have set a goal to read 52 books this year and I continue to learn everything I can. I have overcome my past but my prayer is that the youth of today do not have to go through what I went through. I want to inspire moms to fight for their children and to not treat their children as if they have a “disability”. It will be more effective to take the time to find their learning style. Help them to raise the bar and become more then they could ever dream of for themselves.
From The Heart With Love