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."
 
Thanksgiving is this week! It's one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. One, is that my mother makes a feast big enough to feed 50 people when there is only 10-20 of us sitting around the table. Two, I get to spend time with the people that I truly love. Three, its the perfect time to say "thank you" to those that have helped me in my life.

I always am so thankful for my family, their love and support through everything. There are many other people that I give thanks to, they have helped me get to where I am today. Here's my list:
  • Mrs. Larsen - 1st grade teacher, she was the first to help me (taught me take notes better/coping things down faster), and encouraged my parents to get me tested for Dyslexia.
  • Ms. Raffe - 2nd grade teacher, taught me how to count (a technique I still use today)
  • Mrs. Smith - 3rd grade teacher, gave the opportunity to express myself in the classroom and helped me earn my confidence. 
  • Mrs. Nesbit - 3rd grade, spelling, teacher. She taught me tricks to remember my spelling, tricks I used when studying for every spelling test I had in school.
  • Momma G. and Ms. Weatherferd, principle and secretary when I was elementary school, they when above and beyond and encourage all students during school, after school, and even during summer school and weekend tutoring.  
  • Ms. Shelton - 5th grade math teacher, she helped me to understand fractions and x and y axis. When I was high school I still went to her for tutoring from time to time to help me with my homework. 
  • Mrs. Rollen - 6th and 8th grade teacher, she used our personal creativity as inspiration when teaching us. She would ask me to draw or act out a definition to new vocab words instead of trying to remember the words but studying flashcards. 
  • Mr./Coach Nichola - 7th grad teacher and middle & high school cross country and track & field coach. He made learning fun. He was one of the toughest coaches I ever had, always pushing, always wanting me to be stronger, faster, better. I went to state when I was a freshmen, thanks to him. I still use the running technique he taught me.
  • Mrs. Rivers - High school English teacher - toughest grammar teacher I have ever had, but she made me more confident in my writing, that confidence was passed over into college and helped me get through those long essays and papers I had to write.

 
Picture Julian L.
Meet Jillian L.
Part of the NCLD Team
LD: ADHD, Dyslexia and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

ADHD is defined by inappropriate levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. I can tell you from personal experience that those characteristics are indeed true. When I was a kid my parents would always tell me to “sit still” or “stop fidgeting,” as I was constantly moving around. Still to this day, I find it difficult to sit in the same position for a long period of time. I marvel at people who can sit down and stay in seated in the same position for longer than five minutes. I found this internal restlessness especially difficult to control during school. Trying to stay focused during a 40-minute class while sitting in an uncomfortable chair was pretty torturous for a young student with attention issues. I remember asking to go to the restroom during most classes, not because I needed to use the facilities but because I needed a minute to get up a walk around.

I often found that my attention issues affected my ability to follow classroom norms. At a very young age, you’re taught to raise your hand when you want to participate during a classroom discussion or when the teacher asks a question. This idea made perfect sense to me; in reality, though, I would blurt out the answer or comment on a topic as if there were no other students in the classroom. My teachers would get annoyed that I was speaking up out of turn and not giving my classmates a chance to share their thoughts. This behavior really wasn’t intentional, and for a long time I didn’t even notice that my behavior was disruptive. In middle school—before I got my diagnosis—I remember thinking, If I know the answer to a question, why wouldn’t I say it proudly…and loudly?

It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I was diagnosed with ADHD, Dyslexia and Auditory Processing Disorder. Some may say that this is late in the game, but me? I didn’t care. I finally could point to a reason for the restlessness and impulsive behavior. The diagnosis validated all of my stereotypical ADHD symptoms. It was then that I started to work with my family and teachers to manage my symptoms in a calculated way. I was given an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which had specific accommodations in it to help me with my learning and attention issues. For example, before my IEP was in place, I was frequently distracted by other students during exams. Whether they were handing in their exam early or tapping their desks nervously with a pen, these distractions really threw me off my game. With specific accommodations established, I began to take my exams in a separate location in order to diminish classroom distractions and allow me to concentrate, which lowered my anxiety level. In time, my grades and self-esteem improved, and I began to feel excited about college knowing that there were programs out there that could continue to help me with my learning and attention issues.

Throughout college, like any other student, I became more self-assured and in tune with the strategies that helped me succeed. I figured out which studying tactics I needed to use in order to perform well on exams. Over time, I realized the most impactful resource I had to help me with my learning and attention issues was organization. By organizing my classes into separate folders on my computer and color coordinating my assignments in a semester calendar, I felt that I could manage. It was so helpful to know when things were due so that I could figure out where my attention should be focused, instead of freaking out that I wasn’t going to have time to complete my assignments. To this day, I use these organization skills when I am working, and I believe these skills help me when I have time restraints on high-stress projects.

I am fully aware that having ADHD is a lifelong experience. Everyday I have moments where I feel restless and irritable. However, I try very hard to not let my learning and attention issues control my life.

"I’m always working to understand why certain situations may trigger symptoms, moving forward with the knowledge that I’m not perfect and that mistakes—whether intentional or not—are human nature."

This story is credited to NCLD.org. Read her story HERE. Learn more about Jillian HERE.
 
Picture of Vince Vaughn
Vince Vaughn, an actor and comedian. He is Dyslexic and ADD!
His teachers saw him as the class clown and a wild child. He had difficulty reading so he didn't really care about school work. He was more interested with fitting in than doing his home work.
"He would often be sent to the classroom with kids with learning disabilities, which frustrated him," (Success Story: Vince Vaughn, MU).

"[Vaughn] began to think that fitting in was more important than succeeding in school. He joined the wrestling team, played baseball and football and did everything he could to erase the truth of his disability in the eyes of his peers," (Vince Vaughn’s Dyslexia Leads to Success, Power of Dyslexia).

"Vaughn believes that he has not succeeded despite his disabilities, but that he has succeeded because of them. He is often quoted as saying that he would not be where he is today if he didn’t have dyslexia and ADHD," (Vince Vaughn’s Dyslexia Leads to Success, Power of Dyslexia).

"When you have these setbacks, you develop a really good work ethic, because you have to try harder."
 
College can feel like a huge mountain to climb over especial for LDs. Many LD's don't even apply for college, and if they do they drop out. You can succeed! There are tons of helpful tools that you and your college can used. Things like extended time on tests and homework, note taker, test that are read to you, a quite place to take test, one-on-one help with understanding class lectures with your professor professors TA, and many more. The only thing you have to do to get all these helpful tools is talk to your school and talk to your professors. They want to you succeed and they will help you do so if you work hard and show them that  you willing and able to work hard.

With all that said... Are you ready for college? What should I look for in a college?
Here is a great article to help you prepare and finding the perfect college for you, HERE.
 
Numbers do not always work in my head. I have trouble putting them in the correct order and something I write 3's and 5's backwards and switch up my 6's and 9's. When it came to tell someone the time I would panic, quickly searching the room for a digital clock or even someone with a digital watch. Because I difficult for me to tell time I really didn't have an understanding of time nor how to manage my time. My dad would say, we're leaving in 15min, I would keep playing with my dolls, thinking that I had plenty of time to eat breakfast, shower, bush my teeth, get dressed, and finish playing with my dolls. Needless to day I was late or always rushing out the door until I was in high school.  If it wasn't for my parents nagging me every 5-10 min I wouldn't have gotten anywhere on time.

I learned to always be ready, if that meant I needed to get ready an hour before we left to go somewhere I would. I challenged myself to read an analog clock as often as I saw one. One day is just hit me, the time (minutes) is that number multiplied by 5. So if the little hand is pointing to between 5 and 6 it's, the hour is 5, and if the big hand is pointing to 8, I know that 8x5=40, so the time is 5:40. This felt revolutionary to me!
Soon after I taught myself this little trick I also started to see the clock as a visual icon instead of just numbers on a circle. The clock could be divided into 4 equal parts: 0:00, 0:15, 0:30, and 0:45. I memorized that if the big hand was pointing to 12 it would be the start of the next hour, if the big hand was pointing to 3 if was 15min, 6 was 30min, and 9 was 45min. So now, if I couldn't multiple fast enough in my head I could estimate what time it was because I knew the 4 basic times.

As and adult I have a smartphone, a digital clock by my bed, the microwave has the time, and the tv even has the time. I still tend to look for a digital clock if I need to know the time, I set myself alarms if I have meetings or other events to go to. But when there is no digital clock to be found I still use the tricks I taught myself to tell time.
 
Picture of Austin in Air Force UniformAustin in the Air Force
Some of you may be wondering why I didn't share a story with you on Monday, and this post is to tell you why.

My fiance, Austin, was in the US Air Force for two years, he was medical discharged in 2007. Austin was part of Defense Language Institute, he was a Hindi linguist.

Every Veteran's Day we take the day off from work and do something special. He'll tell me story of from when he was in training and about his military friends. We remember all our family members that fraught in past wars, Austin's grandfather (Army), and my grandparents (Navy). Currently a family friend, Taylor, is with the Army. We send him prayers that he is safe.

I hope that you remembered our brave veterans this past week. I hope that you keep remembering them as well as all the brave men and woman serving today through out the year. They give more than their lives to keep our country safe.

 
Picture of Mary H.
Mary H.
Age: 53
Currently Residing: Dallas, Texas
Hometown: Lough Gur, Limerick, Ireland
LD: Dyslexia

Going to school in the 70's in Ireland and having a learning difference was a nightmare especially when there was no such thing as learning differences at that time. You were either smart or dumb. I was labeled dumb.

My teachers believed that you learned one way, the way the teacher instructed you. God forbid that you turned in a math problem with the correct answer but your work was not the way the teacher instructed you. Fridays were Test Day, the worst day of the week, first math then spelling. Math I could get through as I had worked out a system, that if I put dots beside the numbers. For example two dots for number two in the margin of my paper.

Spelling was so frustrating for me. I was able to spell correctly orally but was not able to write the correct spelling on paper. I would study my spelling and know every word the night before but by morning of the test I could not remember a single spelling word. I would often throw up before the test, and I often thought of running away from home and at times I wanted to end my life. The one thing that convinced me not to do that was my wonderful parents and family.

I was in third grade when my godfather, Timmy, came to my rescue. He noticed that I mixed my B's, D 's, and P's and I also mixed up my S's and C's. He instructed me to write these following words on my paper before the test – “Baby” for the B's, “Daddy” for the D's, “Pops” for the P's, “Cat” for the C’s, and “Sun” for the S's. I cannot explain the tremendous help this was to me. This trick got me through a very rough time in school. I got through high school working harder than my friends.

My parents were once told, by one of my teachers that “She will never amount to anything” and to stop wasting their money on sending me to school. That comment has stayed with me to this day. It has made me work harder because I wanted to prove to that teacher that she was so wrong…and I did. I did amount to be a very hard working person. I started in the biggest retail department store in the city where I lived. My position was in sales and I worked into management in a very short time. I started going to night school and received a business degree. I traveled all over Europe. Met my husband and moved to Dallas. We have two great children.

It was when our daughter was having problems in first grade and we had her tested it was then that I realized that I learned different too; I finally believed that I was not dumb. Our daughter and son both learn differently. Both are hard workers and so smart. Thankfully they were never told that they were dumb, this is a huge difference in our lives.

"With hard work and determination you can conquer anything and succeed in whatever you life throws at you."