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Personal Stories

Diana's battle with LDs

By: Diana

I was diagnosed with ADHD, Central Auditory Processing and Dyslexia when I was 6 years old, but my parents decided not to tell me about it until I was in high school.

I was called stupid and made fun of by my classmates because I was not at their level. The principal of the school tried to kick me out because of my declining grades since he didn't want it to affect the private school's reputation. (This was before people accepted learning disabilities). My parents fought for me and I became suicidal from all the stress and doubts placed on me.

I was jealous of the students that got straight A's without even trying, I was jealous of people that even came close to an A in anything besides gym. Eventually I realized that I'm not like them and I have to work a million times harder just to pass a class.

The college application process was a really hard time for me, I chose to write an essay on how my learning disability affects my life which was a bad move on my part because when I visited the schools I felt like most of them discriminated against me, although in their application material they say they don't discriminate by sex, race, disability etc..

Eventually I got into a college despite the doubts of at least 20 people that didn't think I would even graduate high school. When I was in college, I started to shine, I joined the Division III swim team and studied biochemistry. Like with everything else, no one believed that I would be able to graduate, including the LD specialist at the college.

I was told that I was a fish swimming upstream, that my major, swimming and my learning disability are going to bring me down and she told me that I was stupid and would never succeed in life. That was all I needed to prove her wrong, that semester I made the dean's list and I was swimming my best times. During Junior year I planned on taking the MCAT, however when I was applying for accommodations, they gave me nasty letters saying that they do not feel that I have a learning disability, after sending about 100 pages of documentation. My mom called them and they said to write an essay on how my LD affects me. I did that and they declined me again.

I thought that was extremely unfair and I ditched my goals of being a doctor because I couldn't take the test with accommodations that would make me equal to the average student taking the test. Also, I realized if I can't take a test because of having a LD, how would I have to deal with the same organization the whole process. I recently graduated college a few weeks ago, and that day was one of the greatest in my life, I proved to everyone that I made it through 4 years of biochemistry and swimming with my learning disability, but most importantly I proved it to myself. I am still fighting my learning disability, and as I am getting older I am starting to win against it.

About a week ago I got a acceptance letter to a doctorate program in biochemistry, and I am in shock that this same girl that used to be made fun of for being stupid in first grade is this close to her goal. (about 2 arms lengths).

My main advice is to NEVER lose sight of your goals, no matter how outrageous they are because who knows…they may come true someday. Also, don't believe the people that are putting you down, instead try to prove them wrong and put the energy in work/school.