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Francesca’s Story

Sydney, New South Wales, --

What is NLD? NLD is know as Non Verbal Learning Disability, It means that while everyone else is class learns through sight I learn through hearing and I do not understand where punctuation goes in a piece of writing also spelling can cause problems because I might be able to spell it out aloud but I can’t spell when I write some of them down, I also have what’s known as Disgraphia which means that my handwriting is shaky and cannot be read sometimes by myself and others.

I went to Gladesville Public School from Year 1 to 6 and Glenfaire Primary School for Prep. I went through Prep, Year 1 and 2 with teachers saying to me “You will catch up to the rest of the kids” but I never did by the first half of year three I was ready to leave school and never return because I was finding it very hard to cope with the work that was being given. If we had to do group activities I would run and hide because I did not want people laughing at me because I could not catch up, when writing a letter or anything else it would take 3 hours of class time for me to complete it, My teachers just put me up so I could stay with my friends even though I did not pass the grade. It was not until halfway through year 3 when I had a new teacher that it was suggested I go and see a doctor about having tests done. That was when I was diagnosed with NLD but I did not get any help.

When I finished Primary school I was glad I was never going back but I was scared about High School and did not know if it would be the same as primary school once my school was told about my disability they did not act on it until this year when I’m in year 11 and I only get to see a helper once a month instead of twice a week as my funding says I should be getting.

Year seven I got a helper but I only got to see her every to months but still i could not complete assignments on time, Homework was always being handed in after the other students have gotten theirs back ages ago and I would not be getting mine marked because it was so late my teachers would refuse to mark it. I was still being put up without completing half the work that had been set out. Year 8 was worse I could not complete any of the work because I was extremely frustrated that I would lose my temper at my teachers, after awhile I got sick of sitting in a corner not being able to do the work the rest of the students were doing that I started to sit by myself during breaks and I would not do any group work preferring to do work on my own even though the other students wanted to work with me. One day I decided to skip class and when I did I was so happy that I was being sent to the Principals office then being sent back to class, so the next time I had that class I would just head to the toilets and lock myself in crying my heart out because I could not complete any of the work and I just wanted to leave school for good after awhile I started to take days off school, My Mum never found out until I started to skip weeks and weeks on end staying at home keeping myself happy after a couple more weeks like this, My school (Riverside Girls High School) found out and told my mum so my mum took me to school every day, even though I was crying and kicking and screaming because I did not want to go because I was not getting any help but it never worked.

Year 9 I started to get some help but I was still skipping classes except I would just go to the classes I liked and not to anything else my teachers kept bumping into me in the hallways and I would have to make up some sort of lie to get myself out of trouble. The homework kept building up in the end I started to through it away or write a note with my mums signature on the letter saying why I could not complete the homework, towards the end of the year I got put on a stage which meant I had to go to class and get my teachers signing off on the sheet of paper but it still did not get me into class because I would copy the signature. I got into a place Called Redbank House and that helped me and forced my school, to give me what I deserved.

Year 10 things started to improve, I was turning up to class with promises from teachers that I would get help but it never happened I felt like I was trapped on a mountain and that to reach the top I had to pass the year but I still felt like every other students were above me.

Year 11 so far has improved and I like it but I still hate some of my teachers.

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