The biggest obstacles that I have encountered in my ability to read and write are my learning disabilities. I went through 18 years of my life before they were identified, and they have caused me so much frustration. I had no idea why other kids could read out loud so well and I couldn’t. I had no idea why it took me so long to read a few pages of a book when other kids were almost done with the chapter. I had no idea why I couldn’t even sit down to write a paper when other kids were doing their essays in the span of a couple hours.
I remember an instance in my AP English Literature class senior year, where we were assigned to read “The Obama Dream” for fifty minutes and write a summary and analysis on what we had read. Well, timed readings always stressed me out, and I really didn’t want to get left being in the class so I tried to focus really intently. That didn’t work too well; I kept getting worried and looking around the room and having thoughts that got me off track. After the reading, I wrote about what I was able to cover.
As I’m sitting there begging in my head “don’t call on me, don’t call on me, don’t call on me, I was called on first to read the assignment. Now I wasn’t just worried about what I had wrote, but also if I would be able to read it properly. My face began to tighten; I could feel the heat burning out of my skin, and the pulse of every heart beat. I thought to myself, “just don’t mess up reading what I wrote and when I was finished stumbling through my reading, the professor asked me in a rude and inconsiderate tone, “why didn’t you finish writing it?
All eyes were on me, every person in the room looking down at me. I responded , “I did finish . He probed further as to how much I had read, and I answered ashamed and humiliated, “twenty-two pages. ” That is just one instance, in a life full of numerous other times where I have been embarrassed, ashamed, defeated, and outright frustrated due to my inabilitys. That was when I decided that I wasn’t just going to sit around and watch as others passed me by in reading and writing.
I got online and just typed in what I was suffering through and found out that one of the only ways to identify the problem was to get a learning evaluation. I opened up another window, looked up “Learning Evaluations in Washington Dc and up popped University of District of Columbia (UDC) with an affordable testing program. I called in and asked what it was all about; they told me that a graduate student does all the person to person evaluations and then the evaluator and a twenty plus year trained psychologist formulated your results. It sounded easy enough to me.
There were 2 evaluations; each was either a three hour long interrogation or a testing marathon. Day one, when I met with the evaluator, we went into this small room with one table, two chairs, one sofa in the corner, and two inspirational posters with dolphins on them. Then the grilling began. Question after question, from “why are you here, and “what do you hope to gain to “what is your family like at home. I sat there itching every minute to get up and do something. All I had around me to look at was the examiner and the dolphins that stared at me.
There was nothing to distract me, or make me feel at ease. I asked a number of times to be excused to go for a walk, or a drink, or a bathroom break; anything I could do to make me less anxious. Every time I went back into the cold, empty room, all I could think about was leaving; to getting out of there, to feel more at ease, to feel unconfined. Day two and three were very similar. I went in, and had to do cognitive testing: an IQ test, a reading test, and a slew of other things that I was just lost in.
I felt an unbearable sensation of anxiousness growing with every new task we started. All I could think of was the testing and wanting to get out. I questioned why I was even going through all of this effort. Every time I walked out for a break, the tension was eased, and I reminded myself why I was there. Thinking kept thinking in my head “you are here to get better, and to understand yourself, and to no longer have moments like English ever again. When it was all over, I was so relieved. I Felt like the razors edge that I had been sitting on was removed. I could breathe again.