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17 Advantages I've Found From Having a Learning Disability

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Dear elementary school me,

It can be confusing, starting to accept you’re “different” — so I am writing you from the future to tell you about all the awesome advantages that can result from having a learning disability.

1. You can arrange to have all of your individualized education program (IEP) testing done during gym or some other class you want to miss and no one can say anything about it.

2. Yep, there’s this thing called an IEP, and you’ll get one just for you to help with school. People are required by law to follow it, but sometimes you have to remind them.

3. Special education teachers have the best candy, and they throw the best parties.

4. Instead of taking your tests in an uncomfortable desk surrounded by panicking peers, you get to relax in wide, comfy chairs in a separate testing room. Other students might not get water and bathroom breaks during tests, but you will.

5. You might get to have a class period devoted to doing homework that none of your peers will experience.

6. The phrase “I didn’t know, I have a learning disability” can open all sorts of doors for you.

7. People may praise you for barely doing anything, which can be super confusing.

8. You have a meeting once a year for your IEP where a bunch of people sit around a table and talk about you, and you’ll learn how to ask for what you need to be successful. Having all those adults paying attention to you will feel pretty great.

9. The principal and vice principal will likely know who you are (this can either be good or bad).

10. You’ll make some really close friends who also have learning disabilities, and you’ll understand each other in a way no one else can.

11. You might get out of taking classes that aren’t useful for you because of the IEP. Do not be afraid to ask, and ye shall receive.

12. None of that feeling super ordinary and like everybody else. You’re different and you’re unique.

13. You will learn from an early age how to ask for help with stuff that’s hard.

14. You’ll develop the skills to explain yourself and your disability to all sorts of people, and that’s called an “elevator pitch.” The greater the elevator pitch, the greater the reward. The elevator pitch will pay off in college when you have to do all the advocating yourself.

15. The phrase “I need to go talk to my special education teacher” can get you out of doing stuff you don’t want to do, if you use it right.

16. Times will be hard, and you’ll feel very angry at something or someone. You’ll get through the hard times and love yourself all the more.

17. There’s an awesome disability community out there just waiting for you to join them.

Holly Huggins
Holly practicing archery.

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Originally published: March 2, 2016
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