Embracing My Hidden Superpower: Living with a Learning Disability

Today, I want to share with you a unique aspect of my life that I’ve learned to embrace and conquer every day – my learning disability. Yes, I do have a learning disability. It might not be evident at first glance, but it’s a part of me that will never go away. However, instead of letting it hold me back, I’ve found ways to turn it into, as my mom used to say, my hidden superpower.

Discovering My Unique Combination

Every learning disability is different, and mine is a unique combination that I’m still trying to fully understand. It’s a lifelong journey, and as I navigate through it, I’ve come to recognize my strengths. I’m smart in various areas – I can repair things, think outside the box, be creative, and run a business. I’m also hilarious. However, I do need support when it comes to reading comprehension and writing. It’s like being a dog with three legs – I can manage, but when I hire the right person to help, I have 4 legs–I can truly thrive and run.

Striking a Balance and Overcoming Challenges

Maintaining balance in my life can sometimes be tricky, especially when someone doesn’t work with me and goes against the grain. Overthinking tends to exhaust me and can lead to frustration, which sometimes causes me to shut down. However, it is also an extreme strength. I don’t take NO for an answer. I follow up and am very persistent. With help, I’ve learned to recognize when I’m fixating on something, and progress isn’t being made, so I now take a step back to reset my thoughts.

Navigating Communication

My learning disability significantly affects my ability to communicate, especially in professional writing, completing medical forms, understanding procedures, and conversations with the Deaf community (remember, I’m profoundly Hard of Hearing). Fingerspelling can be challenging due to my crooked fingers (CP), but spelling is a struggle because of my learning disability. However, I’ve incorporated various tools into my daily life to overcome these challenges.
The Hidden Disability and Its Impact
My learning disability is a hidden aspect of myself that people often don’t see. While others may perceive me as smart and funny when I’m speaking, it becomes a different story when it comes to reading and writing. It can feel isolated, and I’ve noticed its impact on my self-esteem, especially as I’ve grown older, particularly after the pandemic. I love to read, but it can be laborious and exhausting. Nevertheless, I’m determined to improve and grow, and I refuse to let it hinder my drive.

Finding Help and Support

Over time, I’ve discovered various ways to work effectively with my learning disability. Exercise, support staff, and socializing with friends are crucial in keeping me motivated. Reading out loud, using pre-typed templates, auto-responses, and auto-spell have been helpful tools. Technology, AI, PDF tools, and bullet points have all played a significant role in making tasks more manageable. Additionally, ASL interpreters and hearing aids have been essential in facilitating communication, while organization through strategies like using index cards and top-shelf/bottom-shelf arrangements have helped me stay on track.

One thing that I can’t control is people. If you see me struggling, or there is clearly a miscommunication – let’s work together to make it better. Ask questions or offer help. People often assume I’m upset because of my expression. I may just be thinking about how I’ll communicate my thoughts to you.

Embracing the Superpower Within

As I continue on this journey, I’ve come to realize that my learning disability is not a limitation but a hidden superpower. It has shaped me into a vibrant and creative individual, even if it might not be evident to everyone. I’m learning to embrace it fully and use it to my advantage, seeking support when needed and modifying my life to incorporate various tips and tricks. You don’t need to pity me, I’m a superhero in disguise. I’m a miracle man – lol. I’m not supposed to be walking or talking according to my childhood doctors.

To anyone else out there with a learning disability, remember that you are not alone. Embrace your uniqueness, find the support you need, and turn your challenges into your superpower. Together, we can conquer anything!

Questions for you:

How do Learning Disabilities affect you or someone you love?

How would you react if someone told you they have a Learning Disability?

Would you start interacting with them differently?

Do you feel you would have an attitude shift?

Resource for you:

For more information on Learning Disabilities, visit: Learning Disabilities Association of America at https://ldaamerica.org/

(TOP SECRET: Written with the help of AI and my support staff. AI is my new best friend!)

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B&W photo of Keith as a child, resting his head on his hands and grinning.

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