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Kids
Stories by Kids

The Team

By: Cassie, Age 15, Alabama

At my high school every student was highly encouraged to participate in at least one extra curricular activity. As a gifted teen with several LDs this was more of a challenge than most people would believe. I am dysgraphic, dyspraxic, ADHD, and have several motor skills disabilities. I had tried sports in the past but that was in special needs leagues. I personally enjoyed these leagues but I hated the looks I would get from parents of "normal" kids and the kids themselves. At one time I chose to participate in a normal softball league but after one year of teasing and not being able to keep up I quit and was never going back. So what's left? Well there were three choices:

  1. Drama, but this required dancing and memorization of lines. Both of which I knew would be torture
  2. Student Council, but this would require being elected, which as the school "geek" and "spas" (which a cold hearted gym teacher had named me in 6th grade after a tick I had due to my tourrett's syndrome during a game of soccer) or
  3. The academic teams.

So which did I chose? Well believe it or not I chose the academic teams, also known as the Academic Challenge and Academic Decathlon. I actually did quiet well in competition but when it came to practice I could hardly make it through. I had a poor attention span and couldn't shut up and take notes like the other kids did. I eventually found out that the whole team thought I was a "loud mouth" and annoying. This took a major strike to my already low self-esteem. The next year I hoped never to see the team again but the coach had other plans. This coach just happened to also be my Algebra teacher. Believe it or not she also happened to be my regular education representative at my IEP meeting. During the meeting my written expression came up. Well guess what she decided to say, "Well Cassie, I hope you are planning on joining decathlon again next year. The essay and speech events reinforce all these goals." My mother was set then.

In reflection I'm still not sure whether or not I'm glad I participated in decathlon and challenge. I do believe it helped my written expression and verbal skills but my self-esteem and social skills took a major hit. However I still have 3 years of high school to decide which side I am.