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Showing posts from 2009

The Disability Coming out process

Hi my name is Val and I have a disabiliy. I have said those words so many times on panels to people, my disability primarly means I have auditory, visual, and kenetic dyslexia. I see things backwards, hear things differently, and letters occassionally jump up and down and all around. Those words are things I say all the time now in disability Q and A it happens for most of my friends, coworkers, the random classes, trainings , and the random people who interview me. I probably have said those words at least 10 times this year alone. It is so much a part of my idenity to the world it has almost become something visual I become "the disability girl" at every college or group I join because I go and say this isn't accessible I make the changes for myself and other. I am open about my disability and knowledgeable about others. I make a point of caring and reading ADAG and disability rights history books on my free time(yes, I know I am a geek).
I made the point a while ago t…

Church and Ears

So for awhile about 14 years I have been dizzy, I am never not dizzy I just am dizzy. There are certain things that set it off mainly to do with ears, having too much wheat, going on an airplane, turning quickly, and organ music. Now I love my church it is this really cool old church that I have gone to for as long as I can rememeber. It was built in the 30s and is completly made of stone and has the second largest organ in the US and it is very cool.
If the guy who plays the organ plays low tones together then I get majorly dizzy and have passed out. My church is huge and has 2 masses that do not do this to me so I try to go to those ones. For the last 3-7 Christmases we go to this one mas where one of the bands from the 2 masses I usually go to is singing to avoid the dreded organ. However they switched it and there was no way to check it. I hate it cause I have to wander around the church and not being able to pray. I guess it is sorta silly I have tried other parishes but around h…

Happy Holidays: Proffessors the good the bad and the Ugly 3

So I tend to talk about the bad of teachers and proffessors but here is an example of the good. I had a proffessor in college he was my Political Science and Philosphy proffessor. It was about a 200 person class and there are 2 test both esay tests. The way it works for requesting accomodations in college is you go to the disability services office every semester and get a form that says what you need in the class and you give that to your proffessors. I gave my sheet to this proffessor and he came off very curious and responded I have never had a student with a learning disability before how does this work. I explained that before each test I give you a form and then you walk the test and form over to this office on campus. He says okay but he is confused by the office I say I will walk you and the test over but I can't take over the test because the disability services.
So I walk him to the office and he is really nice and talks to me while we are doing this. Then when I get ther…

GATTACA: Spoilers

So the movie , when we look at the movie it brings up the important issue of if we can control what a person has in terms of ability or disability are we better off? The other thing that it brings out that was once not a "disability" became a disability because everyone else was so perfect. So it looks at both a man who had a "defect" because he had a high probability of heart diesease. He is seen to have a disability and is discriminated from the work force so he pretends to be someone else who is someone with the perfect genetics that had failed. That for the guy he took over his life of he was supposed to be so perfect but he didn't have any ambition and tried to comit sucide because he felt he was intitled to a more inperfect life and in the process becomes paralysised.
So then the question arises if the people who aquire disabilities later in life would be worse off in a society that tries to eliminate disabilities from birth but not by accident. However t…

superhero, disability, moster, supercrip, tinny tim,normal?

In the last week I watched Mosters vs Aliens. I think today I have been thinking about the idea of superpowers, abilities and disabilities. What is the idea of a superpower? We see it all the time in a superhero movie guy or gal x gets hit, bitten, and dropped in vat of supergenic goop; horible consiquences she or he becomes a mutant or deformed or some how hurt beyond repair but magically instead of having a server problem these people can fly, shoot out webs, or become liquid.
There is a lot of time this arch of this is the worst thing that happened to me, oh wait this is kinda cool tooo, but there is bad parts "Oh look saved the world" maybe this is just how it is. When I see these movies mosters vs alien being example this week, I always think of disability. I see a lot of comparisions of the abilities you see the advantage and disadvantage easier then others say the ability to fly, the disabilities you wonder is this really an advantage at all, and the ones everyone tr…

Teachers and administrators: the good the bad and the ugly 2

So today, I am out of sorts going through the I did everything right I got the jobs, the activities and 3 degrees all of which with a 3.0 or higher. Here I am job searching and I can't seem to find the jobs that will allow me to help people, which is what I want to do..... and when I get down I hear my third grade teacher in my head telling me that I am stupid. I think we all have someone in our head telling we are stupid or at least most LD kids do. So this is reflection on the bad teacher number 1.
I was 2 years after being dignosed coming off of my 2nd grade teacher who was amazing and really worked with me and was the first person who made learning fun to me. My 3rd grade teacher didn't belive in learning disabilities told me and my mom that we were faking it. That all I needed was more work. I will remind you this is the same girl who at this time was working at least 5 hours a night on homework.(after grade school, getting a masters is a piece of cake ;) a lot less work…

Community and humor

So I talk about disability a lot the joys the pains. I guess this blog is kind of a non chronological diary of sorts. So when I think of comunity of disability I think of a room at Michigan State with 30 people with disabilities, the first time I meet my couple high school friends who were LD, and I think of a friend of mine with one arm who danced and swam in high school. Until high school disability was something I was affraid of, embarased of, and thought the whole world was something that would never be able to get me. Then I meet people who had disabilities and were nonappologetic, like I was slowly becoming. I started to here disability jokes of people laughing about rolling over people with wheelchairs and laughing at their own mistakes. All of a sudden a world opened up for me. I was mainstreamed my entire life, I went to handwriting camp when I was little but until high school and college I never felt I was understood. I was passing, I was passing into a world where I felt I…

So We are Close to Thanksgiving... what am I most Thankful I learned from being dyslexic

So I talk a lot about disability as something you always feel. You know the good parts about it and the bad parts about it. At least I should say a learning disability. In Terry Goodkind's series the sword of truth he talks about the fact that you alway know magic is with you. That even when you aren't using it you feel it as a part of you. I feel that way about LD and Terry Goodkind is LD as well so I have been wondering if that is some how related to his disability.
People routinely talk about a cure for LD, I am always trying to figure out what the cure would fix. I know so much of my brain and how I think is because of my disability if you fix that who am I. Is it really possible to be me with out this disability. I do sometimes think if I could of found a cure before I knew the disability exsisted maybe I wouldn't know who I have become to be with out the cure.
Then I see people who weren't able to be reached by someone and I wonder what it is. Is the reaching out…

Teachers and administrators: the good the bad and the ugly 1

So as all students with disabilies and parents of SWDs know that school and getting accomodations can suck. You fight for it all and hope, that something will happen that will work. Sometimes it is really discrimination, it is agaist the law and someone needs to do something for it to change, however when you are going through it you aren't thinking about the change you are thinking my kid or I needs accomodations!!! So how do you do it? I think the one thing I have learned most in this process is each teacher needs a different thing to have it work, here are some basic examples:
What's your story?: Some need you to have a little story time with them(you don't ever have to legally) they need to know the whys as much as I don't think you should have to sometimes once they know this it is like oh okay of course.
Education: Some have no clue about accomodations and you need walk them through it. Every part of it. This maybe giving them books about your disabilities or walk…

Books and Moviie/TV show Sugestions 1#

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So many people collect and read books, my focus is disability books I try to read as many as I possibly can. I find as many as I can. They are not just LD books but for this first section of suggestions I am going to talk about LD and disability in general books.
The Cosby Show - Season 1 - This tv show is probably the most relatable to people with learning disabilities. Bill Cosby's kid was dyslexic and so I find the portrayl of theo as having dyslexia to be the truest to real life I have ever seen. Through out the show there are clear signs of the dyslexia, then he is diagnosised in his freshmen year of college. It really shows the excitement I talked about of not being dumb, it is very true to my experience at least even though Theo finds out in College. It even eventually shows him working with kids and helping to connect one to services for students with dyslexia. While it isn't something that is always talked about on the show I think it shows something really unique cau…

Reading....

I was told time and time again that I wouldn't like reading. I love reading. I love going into a world where it is me in this completly new world adventure where I can go anywhere and do anything. I love that wether I am am waiting for a bus or in my bed right before I go to bed I can go anywhere. I love that it feels like you are with a group of friends no matter where you go. I love the feel of a book exspecially an old book that you are on an adventure that so many people have gone on before. I love reading my friends favorite books because I think it really tells you about them, their hopes, their dreams, or even what they are most affraid of.
I think one of the things that people get wrong when teaching people how to read is they stop reading to them. While growing up even when I was starting to read, I was still being read to untill I could read chapter books. First it was the little kid books, then it was boxcar children, the chronicle of narnia, and eventually the hobit. T…

LD... The work begins

So, the first thing that happens is you learn about these things called accomodations. In grade school a lot of it was spelling not counting on no spelling tests. Maybe a little extra time and also for the first couple of years having my teacher not use red pen when checking my paper so it looked less like a glob of red writing that was completly covered.
I also got a tutor and my mom started learning all these different techniques to use on me. One that I remember quiet visably was having flashcard that had all one sound so it would be Sh-ell, Sh-oe, ect and each ending or begining had it's one set of cards. Others were very exact ways of studing if I was studying spelling first day of the week way just flash cards, second day, flashcards and a quiz, third day flash cards quiz and writing out words I got wrong 5 times each, 4th day 3 quizes and writing the ones I got wrong 10 times each. If I got through that a B or C on a spelling test, if it was a half week C, D, or F. We use…

What did it mean...

I quickly learned more of what it meant, this diagnosis. One of the things, I think that is so paramount to the world of an LD person is that every process, any point, any task or work, has a multiple of parts. That no task is just a task, reading is not just reading; It is looking at words, understanding the meaning of the words, being able to pronounce them, recognizing the words, and comprehending them.. to name a few. All of those parts have different meaning for a dyslexic, we maybe able to understand a paragraph and have no clue how to decifer individual meanings or words or how to pronouce them. To look at these as one whole is a failing of many that try to understand us.
The diagnosis was an auditory, kenetic, and visual dyslexia. The auditory part means I hear things differently I flip words and parts of words around in my ears as well as my eyes. Hearing something and understanding the proper pronunciation may take longer.
The kenetic part means I have a very hard time with …

So okay how did this start for you?

I want to start off with I entered school the year Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA)was passed. I know there were other laws that included people with disabilities starting in the 1970s before that but these laws I feel are parts of the major improvements I have seen through out my lifetime. So growing up as some one with a learning disability was not something most people were aware of. People usually did not get diagnosised as early as me. I also was in a Catholic school.... which did somethings good and some things not so good... the special ed part of it wasn't really there.
Also any blogs or publications I was reading about people with disabilities, went like this I was dumb, I had this problem and this prolem and my teachers hated me and then I found out I had a disability when I was in college or at earliest high school. Sometimes even when their kid was diagnosised with a disability. I never really related to thi…

Welcome and let's start at the very begining....

I have been looking around the web and I have been finding that most the blogs I find about people with Learning Disabilities are by parents or doctors. I am not a parent or a doctor, I am someone with LD and I also don't think the being LD is this horrible negative thing. It is who I am for as long as I can remember. The few memories I have of before I was diagnosised are primarly negative because I thought I was stupid. The diagnosises was prof I was smart and as down as I get knowing that being LD means you have a deficet between what you are capable and your product. The what you are capable meant I was always smarter than I felt. That is a pretty good feeling cause you are always smarter you just need to find ways to show that.
I am not a fan of no diagnosis, of calling people differently abled, learning difference, DisAbility, and any other termonology along those lines. When I talk about my disability I talk in terms of LD, Dyslexia, disability, and ADHD. I find it is impo…