Personal Stories

Overcoming Greatness

By: Linda Nisbett

My name is Linda and I am an adult living with a learning disability. I was diagnosed in grade 4 when there wasn't much technology available to students with LD. I had a quiet place to work and extra time on tests but not much more. Growing up with a Learning Disability was a very painful life lesson.

I was often beaten up or made fun of by my peers for simply being different. It was when the rumour's began that hurt most. I was told I had a mild form of ADHD which explained a lot about my temper. I was pretty friendly until someone upset me. Anyhow I was also told that I had a language processing issue, comprehension, and dyslexia.

Some teachers growing up were pretty supportive but one especially wasn't. She told me that I would never amount to anything because my disability would always hold me down. I was too stupid to understand even the simplist of tasks. With lack of peer support and parental guidance or assistance from the school I felt like I grew up a failure and a disappointment to everyone around me.

It wasn't until 11 years later when I began to think that I might try college. My husband encouraged me and helped me in getting over the stigma I grew up with all these years. I thought that I might have even outgrew my disability.

My first term of college was a quick reminder that what I had was still present. I was directed to the Student Success Center at my college where they helped to prepare me for college life. They also counselled me to get out of the mind frame of feeling like I was stupid. The coolest thing of all though was all the technology that was now available to students with a learning disability. I began to cry. I felt like WOW some one really does care about us. I was set up with the equipment they thought would be most useful to aid in my success at the college.

Through some soul searching and guidance I managed to make the Presidents Honor Roll. I remember sitting in my chair thinking to myself.."I can't believe I did it! I can't believe this little girl who was once a D and E student got an A in something other than art." I was beaming with pride and managed to overcome my greatest fear… being someone, achieving greatness!

I never knew I had this fear until I seen Akeela and the Bee. I cried so hard as she read that the phrase "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." I discovered that I am powerful beyond measure. I discovered that having a learning disability is only a piece of me. A piece that has made me the strong individual I am today.