Name: Stephanie L.
Currently Residing: Plano, Texas
Student: Collin College
, 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."
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."
What is the Difference between ADD and ADHD?
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD
) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD
) are both brain-based conditions that affect people’s ability to stay focused on things like schoolwork, social interactions and everyday activities such as brushing teeth and getting dressed.
The biggest difference:
- Kids with ADHD are hyperactive—they can’t sit still and are so restless that teachers quickly notice their rambunctious behavior and begin to suspect there might be attention issues involved.
- Kids with ADD might fly under the radar a bit longer because they aren’t bursting with energy and disrupting the classroom. Instead, they often appear shy, daydreamy, or off in their own world.
ADD is considered one of three subtypes of ADHD.
- ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type.
- The other two subtypes are ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and ADHD Combined Type, which involves both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms.
Kids with the inattentive type of ADHD may have trouble finishing tasks or following directions. They tend to be sluggish and slow to respond and process information. It’s often difficult for them to sift through relevant and irrelevant information. They may be easily distracted and appear forgetful or careless. Their symptoms are less overt compared to an individual with hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. Unfortunately, as a result, many individuals with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD are often overlooked.
Michelle A. Age:
Student: St. Edward’s University Graduate SchoolLD: Dyslexia
I grew up in a family where the LDs reigned! M sister, my father, and I all have LDs. My father, a successful electrical engineer, is Dyslexic and grew up when it was highly misunderstood. Due to his inability to read and write, my father repeated the first grade and continued to struggle thereafter. With a supportive and positive-minded family, tutors, and the help of numerous audio taped books, he managed to graduate high school and college. My father – still utilizing audiotapes instead of books – not only did he give my sister and I hope that we too could succeed like anyone else but that we could do so in our own creative way.
Before I knew of my Dyslexia, life in public school stressed me out to the point of illness and intense hand cramps during class and homework time. Despite my parent’s help, I continued to struggle through public school and underwent countless attacks of being called “stupid”. I was teased for how I read aloud and for being taken out of class to work on my reading and writing with the other “special” kids. I absolutely hated school!
In fourth grade, I was finally diagnosed with Dyslexia and mild ADD and started wearing glasses to help my eyes track. I transferred to a private school the following year that specialized in learning differences where my sister also attended. Initially I was embarrassed for going to this new school, but those feelings did not last long. This school was the best thing that ever happened to my self-esteem and reading abilities. Being around others with LDs and having the encouragement to ask questions in small class settings was amazing. Suddenly my stress induced stomachaches and hand cramps went away. Plus, I was finally learning to read well!
Upon graduating high school, I was accepted to college at the University of Oklahoma where I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology, enjoyed my social life including each and every football season, and was active in my sorority, Delta Gamma. In fact, a few of my sorority sisters were dyslexic and/or ADD too, including one of my now best friend who is currently getting her doctorate in physical therapy! I learned never to be ashamed no matter where I go
, because I am not alone as a LD individual. I repeat, those with learning differences are not alone in this world, and more people know what it’s like than you’d think!
LD awareness month is almost over but that doesn't mean we have to stop spreading the word about LD. Eye to Eye
, a national mentoring movement that pairs kids who have LD with college and high school mentors who have been similarly labeled. This movement is spreading, it gives students going through school hope.
A Mentoring Movement for Different Thinkers
This video can be found HERE
, subscribe to Eye to Eye on YouTube HERE
E2E Mentors 2
Eye-to-Eye Voices: David Flink, Executive Director
Current Residence: Dallas, TX
I went through numerous high schools growing up. I struggled but got by. I was not diagnosed with ADD until I was an adult. I managed to get into SMU
where I also struggled through, but I devised numerous ways to learn on my own. During college, I would tape my lectures and listen to them every night. I would also go to classes that I wasn't enrolled in just to hear lectures twice. I had a huge easel in my dorm room that I wrote my notes on in different colors to learn and keep my thoughts and notes organized. I bribed the janitors with tacos to open the doors to the lab at night so I could study with the specimens and rock samples. I earned my BS in Geology from SMU and I have had a successful career for over 37 years. I love what I do as I get to use my creativity and ability to think out of the box to discover many new oil and gas fields. My coworkers and I encourage creativity in the office and when I have a new idea I call them "light bulbs!"
My daughter went to Shelton and is now a freshman at Baylor, and one of my three sons, attended Shelton for 14 years. I was asked to talk on “Heroes’ Day” to share my story sharing my struggles and success. I told them that, “I wish I had Shelton when I was younger…[regardless your] attitude and determination can do much for a creative mind."
My wife of 38 years, has been a great encourager over the years, we met at SMU. She encouraged me through and to excel in college to every day challenges I face today.
"We just need the tools and encouragement to do great things!”
Ben M. Age:
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Currently Residing: Dallas, TX
When I was very young I had difficulty reading and my speech was bad because of my hearing. My mom had me tested and I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADD. My parents found a specialized private school for LD children; this changed my life.
On my first day at this new school, I did not want to be there, I felt out of place. I eventually grew to love it! I went there for 14 years. I went through speech programs, and the association method of learning. I learned word sounds by distinguishing, using a code of 1's or 2's above them. I thought this was one of the stupidest things ever, but it taught me how to spell and read above college level.
One of my biggest struggles to this day is reading comprehension. I would read a passage 10-20 times before understanding it. Reading chapters in books were the worst for me. I had a tough time, especially remembering the sequence of a story.
…but with having a difference, came some rewards. It taught me to be creative and think outside the box. It taught me to think for myself, and it taught me determination and the will to never give up.
"I never thought I was disabled. I looked at myself as equal to everyone else. I just learn in a different way."