The Mighty Logo

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

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

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.

Originally published: September 10, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home