How I made it here

How I made it here

Learning is different for someone with a disorder; mine is a learning and visual processing disorder.

I was 2 or 3 years old when my parents realized I was having a problem with words. I was a very high energy child and I couldn’t focus on things for very long but my twin brother didn’t have these same problems as I did.

My mom tried to help me read better by practising with flashcards. My brother and I would come home from preschool and work on these flashcards every day. My brother would get all the words right, but I couldn’t do the same. My mom started to get concerned with how my twin brother and I were reading very differently. By differently, I mean he was reading and I couldn’t; I would look at the word and it would be so hard for me to read. 

Photo of Juliet Jacob in preschool. Photo by Juliet Jacob.

My mom didn’t know what to do next, so she went to my great aunt who had her doctorate in education for more help. She worked with me on this a lot and I can remember going to her house and just doing reading exercises. She was the first person who suggested I had a visual processing disorder.

After getting help from my aunt we realized I needed even more help to see what was wrong with me. My mom took me to all these specialists, programs and doctors to get more help. I was taken to this one eye doctor where I was diagnosed with a visual processing disorder at the age of 6. A visual processing disorder refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. This is different from problems involving sight or sharpness of vision. Difficulties with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted, or processed by the brain.                                                                                                     

Photo of Juliet with brother and father. Photo by Juliet Jacob.

Not too long after, I was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder better known as ADHDADHD is a disorder that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviours. With also being restless and almost constantly active ADHD didn’t help the struggle of reading. I was put on medicine to help with my ADHD and I took that till freshman year of high school. 

 I was also diagnosed with a learning disorder shortly after that. A learning disorder is an information-processing problem that prevents a person from learning a skill and using it effectively. The conclusion after all the testing, specialists and doctors I went to was I had a visual processing disorder, ADHD and a learning disorder.

 

It was always a lot harder for me to do things than the average person could do when it comes to reading and comprehension. Graduating high school was another big accomplishment for me. It was very hard but I never gave up.

Photo of Juliet and her twin brother at high school graduation. Photo by Juliet Jacob.

To this day, talking to my mom about this makes her emotional for two reasons. Before finding out what was wrong, she would get mad that I couldn’t read. After realizing how hard it was for me to read, she felt bad for getting so mad. It was hard for her to accept that because my mom loved to read so much and I was having trouble doing so. The other reason it makes her emotional is because of how far I have come today and how much I have accomplished with these disorders.

I thought college was never in the books for me. Since I had all these problems before I go to high school I didn’t think I would ever make it to college.

Now I am a sophomore in college something I never thought I’d be able to say. Yes, I still have trouble with reading and homework, but that’s not going to stop me from getting my degree, I won’t let it.