Learning disabilities don’t define you

Preston Abeln, a senior at the University of Kansas, says he faces challenges everyday with his academics. He says that there is no way he can do well in school with his learning disability that he has faced for most of his life. The only way to succeed in college was to seek help from the Academic Achievement Access Center here on campus.
“College was very intimidating freshman year. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD my freshman year of high school. I tried learning on my own because I was embarrassed about what I had. Coming to college completely changed. There was no way I could get through the classes. I had to seek out for academic help,” Abeln said.
The Academic Achievement and Access Center is center for students to go and receive accommodations for whatever disability they may have. The website achievement.ku.edu, has a link where students can apply for accommodations and includes the services they provide. Deborah Meyer is the Associate Director of Disability Access Services. She talks to the students who have applied for accommodations and determines what services they need. Deborah says that about 1,000 students receive accommodations a semester.
“There are many students that have learning disabilities on this campus that we don’t know have them. Some students figure out their own learning strategies so they don’t have to seek out help. Others with motor or sensory disabilities do need to seek out to us. Some students with learning disabilities don’t face challenges because they have figured out what works for them in school. Now ones that can’t physically write or interpret what is written on the board, have challenges every single day. It truly all depends on what specific disability they have,” Meyer said.
An article in New York Daily News, said that the College disability services are improving and offering more services than ever. The teachers are used to working with people that have learning disabilities. On the downside, college isn’t for everyone they say. These students with learning disabilities can learn the material, just not in the way some schools teach it. More and more students are getting diagnosed with autism or ADHD and there needs to be more options for these kinds of students. These students get down on themselves, but are pushed to go to college and parents know that there is some sort of help at college campuses.
A learning disability shouldn’t stop anyone from getting a college diploma. People say it is challenging, but in the end it is worth it. Preston says without the AAAC, he wouldn’t have been where he is now. He says he was so worried and embarrassed to go talk to them for accommodations. Preston did have to bring his mom in and documentations of his disabilities do get approved.
“I didn’t want to go in to that office with my mother but it was something I needed to do. Having ADHD sucks and I feel left out sometimes when I have to go to a different room to take a test. I didn’t want to tell my professor that I had something wrong but at the same time felt like I needed to tell him. Having students stare at me and whispering really bothered me when I had to leave the room with the professor,” Abeln said.
At the Academic Achievement and Access Center, all of the information is confidential says Meyer. She says it is not their place to disclose information about that student to professors, or anyone else except the student and their parent. It is completely up to the student to tell their professors says Meyer. Deborah says she knows that students can be very uncomfortable discussing their disabilities and that it is okay. The AAAC just accommodates them for what that specific student needs. They aren’t there to announce to the whole world that they have a disability and that they are different.
According to an article from the Conversation written by James Gentry, says that learning disabilities should not define who you are. He talks about the challenges he went through having dyslexia and how it did not bring him down in school. He says that as he progressed in school, the harder it got but he finished strong and now is a professor. James says we are all different and each of us offers something special in this world and that no one is alone.
Going to the doctor or the psychologist, you have been specifically told that you have dyslexia or ADHD. That is not a bad thing and shouldn’t be brought down by that. Learning disabilities are defined as both strengths and weaknesses. No one should be ashamed of having a disability, because we can’t control it. Everyone is defined in some way and that’s what makes the person you are. If we were all the same, it would be weird and uniqueness is a good thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s