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Living with ADD and Dyslexia as a minority

Updated on March 1, 2017
Mslabrown48 profile image

I am a 51 year old mix race woman who has ADD along with dyslexia, asthma, allergies and osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and other issues.

What is the challenges of having ADD and Dyslexia

Well one of the biggest challenges having ADD is understanding what it is. I had to understand what works for me before understanding that I even had ADD. I started looking for answers to understanding what was going on in the classroom for one. I did not get it at first. It took a couple of rounds for me to understand the lessons. Reading was sort of easy but I found myself getting lost when reading. I missed a word or two and sometimes I missed the whole paragraph. But all it took was a distraction. Didn't realized that I had attention deficit disorder until I read an article out of Redbook magazine one year. This was after being out of school for at least six years. I read this article and the problems that the author was going through was so much like a mirror of my life. She got through and is doing well but she had the help to work through getting things in order and managing her life, and once she could do that everything else fell into place for her success. That was only the ADD side. It’s funny how you discovered that all the years you had some struggles and people look at you and think you are making excuses. No, I am not making excuses, I was seeing of what the problems were and they weren’t just my imagination.

The biggest issues with me was there is a double standard on who gets a pass when it came to the dysfunctional symptoms and everyone is classified differently. With non-minorities being bad is they are excused and they really don’t get the severity of punishment then with being a minority. We’re just bad cause we don’t have any home training and our parents are not good parents. Well, just to give you a news flash, when a kid doesn’t understand what is going on in the classroom, it’s not always because they don’t want to learn, it’s because they really did not get it! Stop blaming kids who have this for not getting it like the normal kid or having an attitude. It’s not acting bad on purpose because I’d had and it was sometimes the teacher who did not get it about me not understanding the lesson. I will not support the public schools here in Nebraska until they realize this is serious. Also, we have a situation of lead poisoning in the low-income areas but the current government refuses to look at that to even noticed that it may have some effects on kids as well as behavior issues. But getting back to ADD, minorities have more issues with the person who govern their area if there is no problem with how they label them because they are not doing with a normal student in school does. Hello, there is nothing normal about ADD. Aside that some of us have the reading disorder dyslexia. Now, this is another way to deny us the right to the proper accommodations. The status quo makes policies and regulations which denies access to certain technologies for students with reading disorders can be a successful student. When you have a licensed doctor, who gives a description of the reading disorder and look at the wording and then you look at the wording for dyslexia. Hello again, it is the same. No ifs, ands, and buts. It is the same. I am not telling another person story, this is my and my family’s story. This is what we have gone through and still going through as of today, So, from me to you. I can fight to do something about this but l am, a minority and my voice only goes so far so that is why I choose to take this route and to use this platform today.

The Face of ADD and Dyslexia


Dyslexia The Hidden Disability

I was a person who done just about everything that I was told I could not do. I did not take no for an answer when it came to doing activities or learning anything. My mother was a single mother of six kids and she in most cases worked two or three jobs at a time so helping us kids with homework was not easy because she usually worked quite a few hours and we were with babysitters. As I learned over the years that everyone wasn’t there for you, especially growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Race played a big factor back then. We were learning but we really weren't. In the neighborhood schools, the higher we got, the more restrictive they became for us to learn certain things. It never occurred to me that I had a problem. I know I went to another room to practice reading and speech. I went to a remedial reading program. I participate with the program for a number of years. All I knew was I had to practice my reading. After a got into middle school, I still had some forms of remedial reading but it was slowly winding down to the part where I no longer needed the program. I still struggled to read fast but I read slow enough that I would not miss the meaning of the article or story. Towards the end of middle school I was being introduced to a form of reading where I would skim a paragraph. That was not a good fit for me because of the fact of picking out the main parts of the passages. Then I was told I had a comprehension reading problem. During this entire time did no one have me tested for dyslexia because at that time it was not something that happened to blacks. I discovered that I had dyslexia when I was in college and I was over 30 years old. They gave me a diagnosis of a reading disorder and they worded it in a way that I discovered the meaning of dyslexia. The same wording that was in the description of dyslexia. Folks deny that I had that but my folks at the University of Nebraska at Omaha opened my eyes. I need to use the testing center for a long time but I had to be diagnosis with a learning disability in order to have access and full accommodations.

This is my baby. He has dyslexia.


Another face of Dyslexia

This is my baby. He has dyslexia. I have been fighting the public-school system here in Omaha, NE for years to get him assistive technology and never did they fully give him that. Today the school officials have not acknowledged that they have failed my kid. Not only did they failed this kid, but they also failed my daughter.

My daughter the other face of ADHD and dyslexia.


This is my daughter my other baby.

But she’s good now. She proved that she can learn and make her dreams happen and that I am proud of. She doesn’t have a high school diploma but she has a medic aid license and she is a certified nursing assistant. Go figure, she’s good because I put her in a catholic school setting. Up until the time when she was in the 7th grade. Went to a public school the second semester of the 7thgrade and everything went downhill from there. The communication with the school was not communicable and they just would not work with me for her. But she did not finish going to school, once she started working. She was getting more out of working then she did out of school so she withdrew from school and continued to work. The system in the low-income neighborhoods don’t feel they must give our kids the right tools to be successful and their excuses is we have students with behavior problems. I have an attitude too if I did not understand what was going on in the class and nobody had the time to explain anything or felt I was not paying attention so they made me feel I had done something wrong. That was the furthest from the problem, because it was not the case for my situation. Most of the teachers felt that they just had too many students to dedicate their time to just one would be too much for them. When I was in high school we did not have co-taught classes in the regular class setting.

What have I learned from my disability?

What have you learned from the obstacles I've faced and how will this knowledge help me to succeed in college?

What I have learned from my obstacles is that I can overcome them. I have a learning disability in which the words do not stay on the paper or they become invisible to me. I have trouble comprehending what I read and become confused. I just learned about my disability as an adult and found out that I could have accommodations that would help me understand and comprehend what I have read. Through educating myself on my disability and learning how to use the tools that I have been given, I have learned how to read and write in a different way in order to meet my expectations. Learning from this experience, I see how I have overcome the obstacles that have hindered me from learning adequately. Life is good because now I have the ability to do whatever I’ve put my mind to, and I feel confident enough that I can do all things that are within my ability, only advocating for myself on what I need in order for me to learn but also learning how to communicate with my professors and instructors or teachers in order to meet their expectations. Before I learned of this I had no knowledge of what could be done as far as accommodations. I had to figure out what worked for me on my own, but I figured out that it did not work for every situation. The techniques that I used in high school did not work for me in college because I had not understood what was going on in my mind. I feel that the only thing that kept me from giving up on myself was my ego. I wanted to prove that I have what it takes in order to make it in this world and that my sense of me helped me prove that I was going to make it and I have what it takes. I feel that all the tools that I now have access to and my strong sense of self will make me successful in college.

What do I want to accomplish after college? Why I have these goals and how I will accomplish them.

I would like to work for the government as an analyst. As a government analyst I will be able to make predictions about the economy from a political point of view. I want to make it as an educated person who has creditability in the workforce. There is a world out there were education is the key, and I want to make my mark on the world. I like political science and economics and I find it interesting to watch the political shows that also talk about the economy. I want to work on my master’s degree. I would like a master’s degree in political science. I have set these goals because I have always loved politics from the time I was in middle school until the time I was in high school. Learning about our government wasn’t always easy for me. Once, I read about the constitution and how the framers designed it to fit all men. I didn’t realize, however, that it was not useful for people of color. Then I read the emancipation proclamation and how it was used for colored people. Then I got a big boost to my ego when I scored so high on one of my tests in the seventh grade American government that I received a copy of the constitution. Then I knew that I had something that no one could take away, and I knew I was smart enough to score high on my tests. That’s when I fell in love with political science. As I progressed I took on the task of learning about the economy and found out that too was a topic I loved because it became so easy for me to learn about the economy in high school. I took a basic economics class, passed it with an A, and it felt good. That is the reason I like political science and economics. Working for the government in the capacity of an analyst is very intriguing to me, and it is an area I desire to be in.

Well, I have graduated from the Paralegal program, then I went on to graduate with my Associate Degree and finally I finished my Bachelor’s Degrees. Today, I work for my son, and I encourage my daughter to go for her dreams. I have told her to don't stop on her dreams and don't let anyone steal her joy. My son is a tough cookie but his day of celebration will come.


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