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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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Teachers, Your Job Is To Teach But Also To Notice When Your Students AREN'T Learning

Some of us are bad at math, and some of us have dyscalculia.
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I was never good at math. I'm terrible at it, actually. I always struggled during math lessons in elementary school, with those grades always being the worst on my report cards. In middle and high school, math became synonymous with anxiety and failure. It felt like I had to work three times as hard as everyone else, only to make C's, D's and F's on my math tests. It was the subject that brought my GPA down, my ACT score down and made every day at school emotionally distressing. I didn't understand what made math so difficult for me.

It wasn't until I was 21-years-old that I was given an answer, a diagnosis: dyscalculia.

If you are unaware of what dyscalculia is, the short answer is that it is a neurodevelopment disorder that affects my ability to complete arithmetic. However, it doesn't stop there. The additional difficulties that come along with the learning disorder include, "[problems with] visualization; visual-spatial perception, processing and discrimination; counting; pattern recognition; sequential memory; working-memory for numbers; retrieval of learned facts and procedures; directional confusion; quantitative processing speed; kinesthetic sequences; and perception of time" (Link).

Essentially, basic life stuff is a struggle for me.

When I finally received my diagnosis, I was thrilled. I had a legitimate issue that was out of my control. This is probably a strange way to feel, but I was relieved. I always thought I was an idiot, but I'm not.

After the relief dissipated, though, the next emotion that hit me was anger. Why did it take 21 years of emotional distress, failing grades, dropping college math classes, wasted time and energy to get the answer?

The public school system failed me.

I don't blame my parents for not suspecting I had dyscalculia, how could they?

I blame the teachers who saw me struggling. I blame the fact that none of my teachers seemed to notice me fighting back tears as I stared down at my failing test grades. I blame that they could've taken one look at my report cards and saw that something was not adding up, but they didn't. Math was the only class that stood out that I could not do. I wasn't blowing off their class, not paying attention, or disregarding assignments. I was a good student and yet my grades still suffered. Nobody seemed to notice.

I blame the public school system for letting this go untreated.

I blame the public school system for disregarding students when they're obviously struggling.

Not just me, all of them.

I'm thankful that I finally have my answer, but I was deprived of the help that I so desperately needed in my younger years. I wasn't brave enough to step up and tell my teachers that I needed help. They probably would have brushed me off as a simple case of needing extra tutoring. My brain physically cannot do the math and no amount of tutoring was going to help me with that.

Spread the word. Dyscalculia is real.

Cover Image Credit: Jacnoc CC BY-SA 3.0,

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