Having A Learning Disability Doesn't Mean I'm UnIntelligent

Having A Learning Disability Doesn't Mean I'm UnIntelligent

Learning disabilities don't define your smarts.
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When most people hear the term 'learning disability', the automatic assumption is that people who have one are un-intelligent and dumb. I have heard multiple times that many others think that we are not capable of having smarts.

When I was around eight years old, I remember having to see many professionals, trying to come to a conclusion about a diagnosis. My teachers noticed that I had a different learning style than my classmates, therefore, catching my parents' attention, so they wanted to figure out how my learning could be improved.

All I remember is being forced to take test after test. Eventually, I was diagnosed with a learning disability, specifically in math, along with executive functioning issues. While most children my age could handle understanding certain topics, I couldn't. Although I was a very fast reader, I did not take time to comprehend the meaning. During math, I was able to solve a problem one way, but not able to the other way, as I was already used to that first way. If it was a new task, I would struggle with learning it. I had an IEP throughout elementary, middle and high school, and a case manager each year to help me set goals for my education.

As I got older, the executive functioning problems started to disappear. Today, being a college sophomore, the executive functioning is normal, but I still have a learning disorder that is mathematics-related, although, I have greatly improved.

It does not take me as long to understand different methods and solutions to solving math problems. I am no longer in need of an IEP or special services. Typically, a person with a learning disability has average or a little bit above average performance on one topic but can excel at another.

I, personally, have always excelled at Language Arts/English. As long as I can remember, I would always correct people on their spelling and grammar and have been quick to catch errors. I still do to this very day (part of me just can't help it!) I've always received As and Bs on papers, recently earning a 97 percent on an eight-page research paper.

I was placed into the highest level of English my first semester of college, which isn't very common. My reading comprehension is now of normal function, and I was even recently hired as a writing tutor at my university's tutoring center to give assistance to students that struggle in English. And that job requires above average writing skills.

So, you see, people with learning disabilities are as smart as you. Sure, we may not be the best at a subject, but it's just a part of being human. Even people who were not diagnosed with a learning disability still struggle.

I'm sure you aren't perfect in every single subject. So don't go out with your big mouth and accuse us of being dumb. We are perfectly capable of being placed into normal, honors and even AP courses. We can excel as much as you.

After all, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. We are humans, we all make mistakes. So, no, I don't have to listen to your words. I know I am smart, and I know I am still able to graduate college and get a job. Learning disabilities do not dictate where we are headed in life, and it does not define me.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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My Journey as an odyssey content creator

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go."

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Truth be told, I never really liked writing. Growing up, anything that had to do with English I absolutely dreaded. I didn't like reading, I didn't like poetry and I especially didn't like writing. I was a total math geek. But in the last year, maybe longer, I have done a complete 180. I have come to actually enjoy all the things I didn't like before and Odyssey gives me the ability to do all three.

I have come a long way since my very first Odyssey article. I have grown much more confident in my writing and I have learned to express myself in a way that is not only beneficial to myself but to others as well. I even got out of my tiny comfort zone.

When I first joined Odyssey I wasn't even sure if this was something that I would be good at or if I could keep up with everyone else's writing abilities. Yet I tried anyway and yes, in the beginning, I struggled with more things than I'd like to admit, but here I am almost an entire year later and absolutely loving it.

Throughout my time as a content creator, I have written about 50 articles and each week my writing improves. The difference between my early articles and my most recent articles is night and day. My writing is more clear, organized and thought out and it wouldn't have been that way if I didn't have some of the best editors working with me and giving me tips and tricks, to the point now where I barely even need them.

With the help of what I learned from what to do and not to do, I eventually wrote my very first poem. People seemed to enjoy it too, which was a major bonus given it was something I've never done before. I could barely get my point across without sounded like some Twitter rant at first and now I can write a poem that's organized and you know exactly what it is about without me having to say anything.

My writing has improved so much that much of the content that I put out is being featured on Odyssey's website and their Facebook page. I have over 240,000 page views on one of my articles, and I've been featured on Swoon. At the beginning of my journey, these were things I dreamed and hoped of. *Fingers crossed that I didn't just jinx myself*

I dreamed and hoped that my articles would actually reach an audience that could relate to what I was writing. At first it didn't have that big of an audience; it was literally my two best friends and a handful of close friends, but now I have people who I've never met before on the other side of the country who message me telling me that they enjoyed my articles and that they could relate to them. I have old coworkers, classmates and Odyssey team members who reach out to me saying that they love my articles and that I'm a great writer.

NEVER and I mean never in my entire life would I ever think that I would have people telling me that I can write well.

Speaking of my Odyssey team, not only are they such an amazing team, but I have made incredible friendships within this team. We have so many memories and inside jokes together. I wouldn't trade my Odyssey family for the world. Odyssey gave me a bunch of great friends and let's be real here, can anyone make it through college without a good group of friends? I didn't think so.

Writing for Odyssey gave me confidence that I never knew that I had. It gave me the ability to let go of things I was keeping inside and to myself. It gave me the ability to help people who have gone through what I went through. It gave me the ability to work on and develop a talent that I didn't think I had in me. Most importantly it gave me happiness. Writing for Odyssey is actually very rewarding and satisfying, in ways I can't even begin to describe.

Whenever I sit down to write out an article I feel like my thoughts just flow from my hand to the keys on my laptop, it's so natural. When I'm writing, I'm content with everything going on, and at the end, I'm always 100% happy with my work that I'm putting out.

I know it's only been just about a year, but I'm very excited to see what the future holds during my time with Odyssey.

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