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How Homeownership Has Given Me Independence With Learning Disabilities

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The past five years have brought about much change in my life. One of the biggest changes that occurred is that my husband and I are homeowners. Being a homeowner has given me the chance to be independent and make the disability accommodations I need.

Accessibility in housing is important for people with disabilities. When most people think of home modifications for individuals with disabilities, they think of ramps and rails, which are important for those with physical disabilities. Many landlords don’t understand the needs of a tenant with dyscalculia and other learning disabilities. When I rented, I was at the mercy of others, who were not always understanding.

My hand dexterity difficulties made locking the door difficult. When I talked to the owners, they just repeated the same instructions; that didn’t work for me. Another frustrating part of the rental was the stove. The stove had an analog clock that acted as a timer. My dyscalculia makes reading the face of a clock difficult. When I see the face of an analog clock, I see numbers and handles that make no sense to me. When I would bake something, I couldn’t program the timer. I had to purchase a separate digital timer. When I told the owners, they were indifferent. They couldn’t understand why I couldn’t read the face of a clock. It wasn’t the timer that got the stove replaced. The oven light went out and the part needed was obsolete according to the handyman hired to look at the stove.

Becoming a homeowner enables us to make decisions that work for us. We chose to live in a central location, which is important when not being able to drive. I still struggle to use the lock on our door, but have found strategies to make it work. Our appliances have digital displays, enabling me to use them independently. We may be responsible for the repairs, but we can make sure that they are done to benefit us.

Disability accommodations and modifications can be costly, but the feeling of independence is priceless. There are programs that can provide home modifications. Most of the home modifications are geared to people with physical disabilities. Few people recognize the needs of people with invisible disabilities because you can’t see them.

Five years has brought many changes, but being a homeowner has been the best one. We take pride in our home. I love owning our own home and dream of another five years in it.

Getty image by Ariel Skelley.

Originally published: January 4, 2022
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