By Amy Temple
Was it hard to say? No, not really. You wouldn't know by looking at me. I don't carry a neon sign above my head with an arrow pointing down and the words LEARNING DIFFICULTIES flashing continuously. I didn't have cards made up with the words, "My name is Amy Temple. I have learning disabilities" so I could pass them around to whoever cared.
The disabilities affect my fine motor skills. There are some things that take me a while to do, things some people might take for granted. I tie slowly, typically it would take an individual less than a minute to tie their shoes but for me, it takes several. For that reason, I wear shoes with Velcro, zippers or slip-ons.
Though I can type, I use just the first two or three fingers with the rest lying on the keyboard. Even with this arrangement, I type a good sixty plus words per minute. Also I can't wink nor snap my fingers like others can.
To me, this is all a fact of life. I have accepted it. Have there been times I wished I didn't have learning disabilities? Oh, sure. But I have discovered the more you wish you weren't the way you are, the more you lose sight of what really matters. I have learning disabilities. That's the way I am. I can't do anything about it. That's the way God made me.
I've been very fortunate to have parents who have never treated me like I had disabilities. They have always treated me like any other human being. Now don't get me wrong. They aren't in denial. They just give me a chance and don't rush to my aid. They don't breathe down my neck. And for that, I am very grateful.
"A pediatrician thought I was going to be uneducable because I was crying so much. Little did he realize, HE was the reason".
Before my diagnosis, there were guesses as to what might be wrong with me. A few were comical. A pediatrician thought I was going to be uneducable because I was crying so much. Little did he realize, HE was the reason. The way I see it, either I was a very bad judge of character at my young age or this guy was UGLY! At another time, a psychologist was astonished I didn't know what a frankfurter was. I guess -in this person's eyes - my parents were supposed to become melodramatic and embrace each other but that didn't happen. Instead my mother said, "That might be because we have always called them hot dogs". The psychologist said, "Well... good point" and left.
As you can tell by the way I've written, I am educated. I learned to read early. In fact, I was the only one in my kindergarten class who knew how to. Not only do I have a high school diploma, I have two secretarial certifications: general and medical.
"Despite my extensive education, I hadn't had much luck with finding work".
Despite my extensive education, I hadn't had much luck with finding work. It seems having learning disabilities is a major red flag. I even enrolled in a job program for the disabled but even the coordinators were wanting me to stick to menial work.
After several years without success, I decided to end my search and became self-employed as a dog sitter which I ran until COVID19 forced me to have to shut down last year.
I have decided to pursue a career as an inspirational and motivation writer/blogger. All the discrimination and rejection I have had to go through as given me the desire to help others find ways to live their best lives despite their circumstances.
I know there may never be anything I can do about how I am perceived. I can defend myself until I am blue in the face but if people are determined to think of you one way, there is pretty much nothing you can do to change it. It's not a fight worth starting.
I know some family members of disabled people have a tendency to want to shelter them but in the end, it's only harming them. You mean well but give them the freedom to make their decisions.
Give them room to breathe. Let them be who they want.
Just like everybody else, they have dreams of becoming somebody. If along the way, they fail... let them fail. Don't chide them and say, "You shouldn't have been doing that in the first place".
Give people a chance. That's all they want. That's all any of us want.
Written by Amy Temple ©
"I am an American inspirational and motivation writer/blogger and the author of the 2017 memoir "I Am Not Stupid" which is about living with learning disabilities and is available on Amazon. I regularly contribute to several websites, which can be found at my Linkedin profile: www.linkedin.com/in/amy-temple-34254a167. What inspires me are people who are not afraid to stand out in the crowd and follow their own path'.
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