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What Learning Disabilities Awareness Month Initiatives Often Miss

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Since October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, it is the time of year we spread the word about what learning disabilities are as well as the specific types. Which is good, however, many LD awareness month articles and movements leave out building awareness of the daily struggles those with learning disabilities go through. So I want to talk about them.

Learning disabilities are more than just the diagnosis and the symptoms of the specific disability. They are when reading directions is overwhelming because decoding the “simplest” word is extremely difficult. Never mind trying to comprehend what you just spent all that energy trying to read. A learning disability is when math is torture because all the signs and symbols look like a foreign language and numbers never come together. It is when writing is hard not only because of labored, messy handwriting, but having ideas that never make it onto the page and never look like what you wanted. It is when lectures move so fast, it’s almost impossible to keep up, never mind have anything sink in. It is turning in what you did only for the teacher to say, “I can’t read it, do it over,” or something along those lines.

Learning disabilities are struggles that can follow you everywhere and continue to haunt you at the most inconvenient times. A learning disability is when your family gets frustrated when you still don’t get anywhere despite help. It is being mocked by others for your inability to calculate your total. It’s why your handwriting is still sloppy despite your improvement efforts. It’s your inability to appreciate the sarcasm and jokes you want so badly to understand. Learning disabilities can be what hinders you from being good at your favorite sport. They may even make it hard to pursue the career you are passionate about. They may also be part of the reason behind all the bullying you endured in the past or present.

Despite all of these struggles, people with learning disabilities are smart, capable and determined. Understanding the daily impact of learning disabilities is the kind of awareness we not only need, but that will have a lasting impact in our communities.

Getty image by Brian A. Jackson.

Originally published: October 15, 2019
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