Picture of Susan BoylePhotograph: Murdo Macleod
Susan Boyle, singing that earned her fame by auditioning on Britain's Got Talent. Growing up, when people let her down, music was a companion. (Susan Boyle: 'I have Asperger's', The Guardian)

The contrast between her shy manner and soaring voice won Boyle legions of fans. She has sold more than 14 million records around the world and recently released her fourth album, "Home for Christmas." She makes her big-screen debut in holiday movie "The Christmas Candle." (Susan Boyle says she has Asperger's syndrome, Fox News)

"Asperger's – unnamed as it was – made her different, and her childhood was marred by feelings of being an outsider." Boyle says, "that made me more determined to be where I want to be." But she admits that the isolation, the attempts to prove herself to people who didn't always understand, left a legacy of inner anger and frustration. "You don't fight without some resentment," she says. (The Guardian)

"Sometimes people misunderstand. Sometimes she gets frustrated. "Some articles have said I have brain damage," she acknowledges, before adding, cryptically: "It's been something else." A year ago she went to a Scottish specialist. "I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me," she explains. The specialist discovered her IQ was above average. And the diagnosis? "I have Asperger's," she says calmly. Asperger's, a high-functioning form of autism, mainly affects people's social interaction and communication skills. When she says the word, things fall into place. Finally, it's like looking at an apple and agreeing it really is an apple. "It is," she says, "a relief."" (The Guardian)

"I would say I have relationship difficulties, communicative difficulties, which lead to a lot of frustration. If people were a bit more patient, that would help." (Fox News)

"Asperger's often creates anxiety in sufferers, makes them teeter like a sheet of paper poised on the edge of a table in a drought." (The Guardian)




Surprising Revelation from Signing Sensation Susan Boyle

Watch this video, Singer Susan Boyle says she has Asperger's syndrome, story featuring Susan Boyle learning about her Asperger's from NBC Today.


Susan Boyle - Britains Got Talent

We love the song she chose, really describes what she has gone through and what her dream is to be something greater. We also love the reaction the crowd and judges are giving before she sings and then the dramatic change when she is singing. They are blown away!
View this video on YouTube, HERE.

Susan Boyle Save The Children Press Launch Highlights

This is Susan Boyle, Now. She is giving back to a charity that will help children break out of their shy shells and gain confidence in learning. Her only wish is that a help like this has been available for her as a child.
View this video on YouTube, HERE.



"Asperger's doesn't define me. It's a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do."
 


Spelling out the needs of students with Dyslexia

Picture of children sitting around a table with a teacher teaching the
Frankie Hollands supporting the learning activities at the Rush, Lusk and Skerries Dyslexia workshop. Photograph: John Mc Elroy
Dyslexia News from The Irish Times  -  Dec 10, 2013

"One in 10 people [has Dysleixa], and although general teacher training doesn’t include enough about how to teach children who have it, knowledge and support have improved."  _
(Irish Times)

"There was a time in Ireland when Dyslexia was the disorder that dare not speak its name. The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI), established 40 years ago this year, had to change its name in the 1980s to the Association of Children and Adults with Learning Difficulties, so it would be taken seriously." (Irish Times)

"In 2000, the original name was restored, as Irish officialdom finally caught up with international research and recognized Dyslexia as a distinct disorder requiring specific supports and interventions. Now Dyslexia is commonly diagnosed through the State assessment service, the National Education Psychology Service (NEPS)" (Irish Times)

"
“The English language is one of the most difficult to learn and poses the greatest challenge for those with difficulties processing sounds and symbols,” Bisset explains. “There are so many irregularities of grammar and phonics that it makes it hard for a person with processing difficulties to learn the rules.” Dyslexia presents within every language, but the impact for English speakers can be more acute and present earlier." (Irish Times)

"...the main focus is to support the association’s 2,500 member families through information, assessment and tuition, and to reach out to the many more Irish families dealing with Dyslexia. “We have witnessed huge increases in learning support in schools during the past 40 years, which is welcome. We’ve seen the introduction of accommodations for exams, exemptions from Irish, and new entry routes into third level. ”"(Irish Times)

"“The special-education resource infrastructure is being eroded. Accommodations for exams and exemptions from Irish can be laborious to access. We still hear parents frequently talking about ‘fighting the system’ to get what their children need." (Irish Times)

“Children and adults with Dyslexia often have a highly developed sense of social justice. There’s an empathy for those who have to struggle with the system. I suppose it probably stems from their own struggle with things everybody else takes for granted."
-Rosie Bissett,
Chief executive of the DAI,
The Irish Times
 

What do you think of this? Share your thought by leaving a comment below.
 
Due to the 'ice storm' in Dallas, TX this weekend most of the city was shut down. UTD closed their campus and canceled graduation and capstone ceremonies. When I first got word of this I was a bit excited. I hate getting cold and I was revealed that I wouldn't have to stand up in front of 100+ people to present my capstone. I have been so stressed and nervous about it I have been grinding my teeth every night for the past 3 weeks!

Now that's it's Monday, they are not going to reschedule anything, I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get to show off my work. It's also very hard to believe that I reached my goal. I am done with school; I know I didn't walk across the stage or move the tassel from one side of my square cap to the other, but I am really done.

Even while I'm writing this I'm still in disbelief that I was able to do something so many thought I couldn't do. Now, the question is, what will I do next? The obvious answer is, find a job, but that's that what I mean when I ask what to do next. I'm talking about goals, getting a job is a necessity to live, but a goal is something you live for.
Goals are something all people should have. You goals don't have to be big or small, they just need to be yours. You can have more than one that your aiming for at the same time. You can have mini-goals that help you reach the main/final goal.

Personally, I have many goals. Some times goals can be unrealistic and I have to modify them or let them go. I have reached a big goal that I have been working for all my life; graduating college (with honors, is a bonus). Now that I've reached that one It's time to move on to the next. I have a standing goal of always facing what I fear most. Talking in front of large amount of people is one, swimming/snorkeling in the ocean is something I've accomplished and learning to scuba-dive is next, trying new food when I am offered something I've never tried, and learning to cook, just to name a few.

I have found that it's very important to have goals and they are a great tool to motivate you. Growing up I had goals with my coaches, teachers, and parents. Things like, working hard towards having an grades in the A's and B's, finishing a paper with less help from my teacher, beat a personal best in track, talking to my peers about idea with homework and to have study buddies. I also had goals that were personal, secret, like reading (but still understanding) a chapter of a text book in fast time, typing a paper with out using spell check (I would manually go back and try to fix my spelling mistakes, and practice over the weekend to reach my athletic goals.

I encourage you to make some of your own goals. Write them down, pin them to your wall, put them on sticky-notes that cover your desk. If you are able to see them and read them every day you are more likely to accomplish them. They have to come from the heart, something that you truly wish to achieve; if you put your mind to it you will reach it. Good Luck!


Share your goals with us today! Leave a comment below of a goal(s) that you have that you are reaching for or one(s) that you have reached!
 
Picture of Stephanie L.
Name: Stephanie L.
Age: 24
Currently Residing: Plano, Texas
Student: Collin College
LD: Dyslexia, ADD, and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

When I was younger, I thought that I was the only kid having trouble in school.  I was always in detention and never remembered my assignments.  Not only that, I had no interest in doing my assignments because it was “too hard”.  I went to a Catholic school in Dallas, TX from kinder garden through fifth grade.  It wasn’t until my last year there that I realized I was “different”. The other kids in my class seemed like they were geniuses.  I didn’t know how they could balance homework, extra curricular activities, reading for pleasure, and having fun with friends.  It made me feel like I wasn’t smart enough.  I had no idea that by the end of my fifth grade year my life would change forever.

 In May of 2000, I was diagnosed with my learning differences.  My father, a psychologist, knew of a school that would be perfect for me.  He told me it would help me learn how to deal with my struggles in reading.  Back then; it would take me 30 minutes to an hour to read one page in a textbook.  This was definitely not a confidence booster.  I would look around me in the classroom and realize that all the kids were reading faster than me.  I would then pretend to read the text so I didn’t look stupid for being so far behind.  When I attended my new school, Shelton, everything changed.  I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was having trouble reading.  There were other kids like me too! Not only were there kids like me, there were kids who had trouble with math, writing, organization, and much more.  I felt right at home.

I graduated from Shelton in 2012 and went straight to college. I was extremely worried that things would go back to the way they were in elementary school, but to my surprise, nothing had changed.  Just because the school wasn’t an LD school didn’t mean that I couldn’t get the help I needed. 

School is still hard, but I know that I can do it because of all the other people in my same situation who have succeeded. If it weren’t for my dad, I think I still would be that kid telling herself that she was stupid.

"I am confident that I can achieve anything that I put my mind to."
 

"I strongly believe that dyslexia is like a Rubik’s Cube: it takes time to work out how to deal with it but once you do, it can be the most wonderful gift."

Picture of Sally Gardner
Sally Gardner, is an English children's writer and illustrator. Her award-winning book, I, Coriander, is set in 17th-century London. It tells the story of Coriander, the unhappy daughter of a silk merchant.

At age 11, she was told that she was "
word-blind." Gardner says, "this was before anyone mentioned the un-sayable, un-teachable, un-spellable word Dyslexia, which, hey-ho, even to this day I can’t spell!" She continues, "I had been classified as “unteachable” but at the age of fourteen, when everyone had given up hope, I learned to read." The fist book she read was “Wuthering Heights” and after that no one could stop  her. Her mother made a deal with her, if she got her grades up she could go to art school. With that kind of motivation she did just that. Once at art school she thrived like ivy crawling up and every which way to the top.

After graduating from the Central St. Martin’s Art School with a First Class Honours degree Gardner then went to Newcastle University Theatre, where she worked as a theatre designer. "I gave up working as a set designer because I found my dyslexia to be a problem when drawing up technical plans for the sets. Instead I concentrated on costumes," said Gardner.

"I [later] went into writing, where I assumed my Dyslexia would be a true disability, it turned out to be the start of something amazing," she continues, "The problem with dyslexia for many young people – and I can identify with this – is that their confidence is so damaged by the negativity of their teachers and their peers that it takes a very strong character to come out of the educational system smiling." (Sally's Story)

Also, view slide show - Sally Gardner: Ten Tips for a Dyslexic Thinker (like me)


An Introduction to the Maggot Moon Multi-touch iBook edition

Sally Gardner's introduction to video below. This video can also be viewed HERE.


Animated page video from Maggot Moon Multi-touch iBook

Here is a short animation of the way some dyslexics (including Sally) see the
words on a page when they try to read: (above)

Video of an animated page from one of Sally Gardner's books,
Maggot Moon. Can be viewed HERE.


Some of Sally's Books:

 
two hands hold a heart
Have you heard of #GivingTuesday?
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help us create #GivingTuesday. A new day for giving back.  On Tuesday December 3, 2013, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. (GivingTuesday.org).



NCLD.org
is asking you to donate and they will mach what you donate!
Double your love for all students with learning and attention issues. There are over two million students with learning disabilities in the U.S. Many of them struggle like Devyn, who posted this to our site.

Our kids are facing overwhelming challenges. Donate now so we can help them realize their full potential. Your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar. Time is running out to double your love for all students with learning and attention issues. The match ends tonight at midnight!
Click HERE to donate now!

 
Picture
This Friday, Dec 6th, I will be accomplishing something that most believed I would never do. I will be graduating from college, and as a bonus, with honors!!

My parents were told, before I was born, that I would be deformed, have an undeveloped brain, and would need special care for my entire life. After I was born, doctors still believed that I would have problems like a disability that would hold me back from being a "normal" child.

I was a normal baby, besides being allergic to nearly every thing (plastic diapers, metal, etc.), I played, started to grow, and went to school like every other kid. After being diagnosed with Dyslexia more specialist and doctors told my parents that I would never get to high school and if I did I would not make it in college.

I grew up with all A's till middle school, then kept my AB average though high school and college. I was told in the 8th grade that I would not survive in a public school and if I made it/was accepted to college it would be very difficult and I probably would drop out. I took a bit longer than most, 4 years at a community college got my Associates Degree in Fine Art then transferred to University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and graduating with honors within 2 years with my BA in Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC).

I always knew I would get here and graduate from college. I want to thank all those people that thought I couldn't do it, they have been my personal inspiration to push myself and work harder to do what they said I couldn't do.  I love knowing that I proved them all wrong!

I would also like to say a HUGE thank you to my parents. Mom and Dad you guys just ROCK! I would not be walking across the stage, degree in hand, if it wasn't for you. All those late nights doing home work, crying because school was too hard, pushing me to do anything I wanted to try, giving up so much to send my brother and I to specialized school and college, and all the hugs, high-5s, kisses, and encouragement, it has paid off and I can never thank you enough!



If you are in the Dallas, TX area and you would like to meet me. Please come to UTD, I am presenting my capstone, my final project, DifNotDis to my advisers, peers, family, and friends.
 
We don't have a community story today because we want you spend time with your loved ones and celebrate Thanksgiving! We hope you take the time to thank the people you are thankful to have in your life and more.

Sarah already shared with us who she is thankful for, read here.


Now it's your turn!
Leave a comment below or on Facebook or send us a Tweet to tell us what you are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah!
 
Picture of Stan Wattles
Stan Wattles is Dyslexic, Dysgraphia, and with perception problems that hindered his ability to comprehend concepts.. He was diagnosed at age 11. Back then, in the 60's, there wasn't much that school could do to help student with LD. He had a hard time focusing and getting his school work done.

"It's my father's fault I love racing," Wattles said. "He used to race time trials in a Jaguar XKE at Lime Rock. He took me for a couple of laps around it when I was about 5 years old. It's steep uphill and down with sharp turns, left and right, an incredible roller coaster to a child of that age. I never forgot that ride. I was back again and I was hooked." With that said, Wattles didn't start racing till after college, he was 25 years old.

"Fortunately," Wattles said, laughing again, "in oval racing you have walls on either side of you and the track turns only one way. I have no problem with left or right, up or down, depth perception or comprehension today. I don't have problems with road courses, either."

While Wattles was racing he would
visits schools affiliated with the National Center for Learning Disabilities. He would add each school's logo to his 18-wheeler, that carries the car and team from track to track. He would give talks at school to inspire children with LD and told "that they can be anything they want to be," (Wattles races way through battles, St. Petersburg Times). 

Before Wattles started racing he studied special education at UConn. He wanted to give back and teach students with LD. Thanks to he headmaster of the school, he decided to follow his dream to race cars.  He soon started Racing to Make a Difference program to increase public awareness of learning disabilities. "Wattles donated part of his earnings from each react to [his] foundation ...to help children with learning disabilities," (The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Dyslexia, p. 272).

Read more:
Wattles races way through battles

Quinn Bradlee Interview With Stan Wattles, Prt 1

This video can be found on YouTube, HERE. Watch more interview with Quinn Bradle, HERE.
"This was my dream; you can have your own dreams."
 
Picture of Sam Barclar holding his book
If you are Dyslexic and find yourself on a lonely island where no one really understands what you experience when reading you need to check out this book! Sam Barclay, is Dyslexic, he has created this book, "I Wonder What It Feels Like To Be Dyslexic," to give the reader a better understanding of what he and other Dyslexics experience while reading.



Barclay says, "The available help was always aimed at making me read better. Very little effort was made to help the people around me understand what it feels like to struggle with reading."

Read more of this story and watch additional interview (video) at HuffingtonPost.com


I wonder what it's like to be dyslexic by Sam Barclay (KickStarter Video)

You can view this video and learn more about this book and support Barclay's kickstarter by clicking HERE.

"People that have difficulty reading are often capable of thinking in ways that others aren't," Barclay explains. "Encouraging those with reading difficulties... to excel in ways that make sense to them is not just important, it's crucial."