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What Helped Me Move Beyond School Anxiety as a Student With Learning Disabilities


Back to school was always an anxious time for me. I wondered, will I fit in with the other students? Will I be able to handle the class work? I would start off the school year with good intentions. Academically I was fearful of failing. I had to repeat kindergarten. I never had to repeat a grade after that. The work got easier for me as I went through school. As long as I studied and avoided math, I was successful.

Most of my fears were due to a limited world view. I could only see what was in front of me. I saw my parents who loved me. I saw a school with many classmates who didn’t like me and work that sometimes seemed impossible.

For so many years I didn’t feel smart because of low test scores and my struggles with learning. I viewed myself as clumsy because I was terrible at sports and always tripping over things. However, my family always encouraged me to never give up.

I had to change my mindset to move forward.

A growth mindset is when an individual believes they can develop their most basic skills through working hard and investing time. This idea cultivates a love for learning and teaches the value of resilience.

I learned that I may not be a good test taker, so I will take courses that involve more projects and papers. When I do take a test, I will use extended test time.

As for my eye-hand coordination, body awareness classes such as barre and yoga have helped. I can also take cardio and other fitness classes.

My job as a teaching assistant may not be glamorous, but I love to make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities. I feel I can be an encouragement to the students I work with.

A growth mindset creates growth and change. A fixed mindset cannot grow. Another example of a growth mindset is a butterfly. A caterpillar must go through many changes to become a butterfly.

Individuals with disabilities need to know they can be successful. The journey may not always be easy, but it is possible.

Getty image by Nirutistock.