I don’t really know what kind of a learner I consider myself to be. When I’m asked to do a task that I am not sure how to do I need it explained to me about two times and then I need to be shown either in person or I need to look at instructions on how to complete the task. Then I need to repeat the task about two or three times before I finally get the hang of it. Not sure what you consider that at all. It really started to show its prominence in my beginning years of middle school. Teachers would constantly wonder why I couldn’t follow along or why my schoolwork wouldn’t get done. It was because I couldn’t follow along. I took notes and everything but the words just never made sense to me.
One day my teachers and my mother had a meeting without my knowledge. I was beginning to think that my mother would permanently put me in this special education program until the day I graduated. The next morning I woke up for school and my mother stopped me as I was heading out the door. She had this look in her eyes as if something was horribly wrong. She began to tell me the reasons I had been enrolled in the special ed programs in my school. She told me of my learning disorder. For years I just believed that I learned differently than other kids but I was wrong. I had this learning disability that I didn’t even know how to pronounce. So I just used the acronym PDD.
I often thought of what I was supposed to do with this information. I thought how it was going to change things, so I made up my mind that I would use it to the best of my ability. Which I would consider now to be using my disorder as a crutch. Anytime I was asked to do something I quickly turned to my PDD and immediately the problem went away. I would then have extended due dates which helped my procrastination habit become as strong as it is today. I was even pulled into these what I call “feel bad classes”. Where you were sat in a room for about a half an hour and you were told everything that you were doing wrong and what was wrong with you. They pretended that they were giving you social skills to practice, but in reality they were shaming you for who you were. They always skimmed over me, partially because out of all the kids in this little room I had the best social skills. I learned from watching my brothers interact with their friends. Now it was because of that that my teachers viewed my sense of communication and humor was inappropriate.
I began to notice something within me changing. Something hadn’t quite been sitting right. I started to ask questions like who I really am and what I wanted out of my own life. I started to ask my teachers about how they found out what their true identity was. I began to feel depressed and lost all the time. Then as if it couldn’t get any worse with identity issues, I stood face to face with real life situations that no one can avoid. One day my mother picked me up from school and as I got in I was expecting a blitzkrieg of questions. But she just sat there silently. She then turned to me and said, “Honey, Do you remember Casey from day care?” I replied “Yeah, didn’t we just see him a couple of days ago at olive garden?” “Yes we did.” She choked on her words. She almost couldn’t speak. I inquired “What about him?” A single tear fell from her eye as she said “He just died in a car accident this morning.”
I felt cold immediately after the word “Died” left her mouth. I’ve dealt with death before but it was always of people who were older. That’s a natural part of life. You grow old and then you die. But Casey was only Nine-teen years old. How could anyone just die at Nine-teen? That’s not supposed to happen. I accused my mother of lying and that she shouldn’t believe the rumors that go around my town. She then showed me an obituary in the paper the next day of the death of my friend.
Now to back track a little bit, Casey was a kid I went to day care with and he was a very rambunctious little boy. Great thing about that was I was too. He and I spent most of our time at day care in time out sitting next to each other. One time we were all swimming and he was doing something stupid in the pool and four lifeguards had to jump in the water to get him out. But then he grew up and mellowed out by a lot. He is truly loved and missed by family and friends still to this day.
I became very bitter towards the situation. It got so bad that I blew up in people’s faces just for looking at me wrong. I once again turned to my learning disorder for a way to escape my issues and problems. I turned to my parents for advice and growing up in a religious house they just gave me the comforting answers, “God has the ability to bring people home to him if he wants them back regardless of how early it may seem to us.” So eventually I just pounded it into my brain that some people die sooner than others and that’s just how it was. This unfortunately would only become a stumbling block for me once I entered High school.