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The Life of a Person With a Learning Disability Who Supposedly Wasn't 'College Material'

I am a person with a learning disability and a language impairment. Diagnosed at the age of 3, I am the only one in¬†my family with a disability, and I received special education¬†services throughout my school career. My goal in life is to¬†support people with disabilities in gaining independence and¬†becoming as successful as they can be‚ÄĒ just like me.

My areas of weakness are reading comprehension and written¬†expression, as well as mathematics. After high school, I wasn’t¬†expected to go on to college to earn a bachelor’s degree ¬≠¬≠or even¬†an associate degree. In high school I was advised by a counselor¬†to go into child care because I was not ‚Äúcollege material.‚ÄĚ My¬†high school counselor and those who followed obviously did not¬†know who they were dealing with!

My college education started right after high school, and I spent¬†the next 12¬†years working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in the area of Rehabilitation Services Independent Living¬†Track (supporting people with disabilities in the community). I¬†started my educational journey by attending St. Louis Community¬†College ‚ÄĒMeramec, where I received an Associate Degree in¬†Early Childhood Education. I then decided to further my¬†education and take classes that would transfer to a four-year¬†university.

woman with a learning disability at graduation I had many people tell me I should quit school because they¬†did not think I could handle it. I showed them how determined I¬†was to obtain my Bachelor’s degree by graduating in 2011!¬†I chose to obtain a degree in the field of Rehabilitation Services¬†because I belong to a unique social group. This group has¬†evolved over the past¬†15¬†years. The eleven members of our¬†close¬≠-knit group are unique because all of us experience a mental,¬†physical, or educational disability.

I am proud of the person I am today. Looking back, I see many factors had an impact on me as I worked to achieve my Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Services. Most people I met along the way, especially those experiencing their own difficulties, influenced me in a positive way. My self- advocacy skills have grown over the years. Today I have the confidence to set high goals, and I know I can be successful. I have become more skilled at supporting my students and clients as they set goals, work toward their goals, and learn to advocate for themselves. I am grateful every day to be doing