To Students With An NVLD: Growing up it was hard for me to understand why I needed a lot of support from my teachers, therapists, and coaches to be successful. It just didn’t make sense as my sister excelled at everything and things were relatively easy for the friends I had through youth activities. While not all of them were necessarily great students they were strong athletes. So if you are facing self-esteem issues I can completely understand your feelings of hurt having to have all the extra assistance but I believe with growth and maturity you will be very thankful for how much these adults have impacted your life. It truly does take a village to raise a child though often it does take time to see this.
To RF: It’s no secret I wasn’t always cooperative working with you as it was hard to understand as a young child why I needed APE as I wasn’t wheelchair bound and I played youth sports. However, within minutes of each session thanks to your fantastic personality along with your impressive teaching skills I began to love working with you and became so determined to learn each skill. Most memorable is how you taught me how to use the monkey bars and to catch a ball better as this made being with my friends so much easier. I truly gained many more gross motor and coping skills than most ever predicted I would thanks to having you from DK thru 3rd grade. My 6-12th gym teacher even said that I am an athlete because Ms. Fletcher was there in the beginning years for me and she was so right. You truly were so incredible to me!
To LB: It is hard to believe you were my OT for about 10 years. Several of the fine motor and self-regulation skills I gained came from working with you. It certainly wasn’t always easy but you knew how badly I wanted to achieve my goals. What I remember most is learning how to tie to my shoes and open up my gym locker. Learning these greatly increased my confidence. It took forever but thanks to your patience and skill it finally happened. You were so caring and helpful to me.
To BB: Having you all four years of high school helped me get through my most difficult days as you knew how to get me feeling less overwhelmed and knew exactly when I just needed a break. Beyond that you supported every academic decision I made regardless how crazy it seemed and working together we achieved all of them. The most memorable was being accepted into Dean College as you were beyond happy for me. Years later I still say your incredible work with me was a big reason for that. You were truly so incredible to me.
To PS/JA: Choosing to be a three season athlete truly was the best decision I made as you both became my biggest advocates You both always saw my ability before my disability. This truly inspired me to work hard everyday for you. It wasn’t always easy. Later on I would ask myself why am I still doing this everyday as I was still the slowest runner on the team even though I worked incredibly hard. But both of you reminded me why I was each day by always being my best advocates. I am grateful that even today you are still important people in my life.
To my 11th Grade Teachers: Looking back at my high school years you were my best group of teachers as you had such confidence in my ability. This inspired me to be my best. In 10th grade I was honestly questioning myself if college was a realistic goal but you all immediately showed me it was.This truly made things easier for all of us but especially me as I became a more relaxed student and more driven each day to succeed. So thank you for seeing my strengths first.
The Final Remarks: Years later I remember how all these wonderful adults influenced my life in such a positive and life changing way. They understood my frustrations and disappointments from having an NVLD but also always made sure I saw that I was blessed with great strengths too. This truly inspired me to never give up and to feel comfortable sharing my difficulties with them. So please always listen and trust the adults working with you no matter what and never give up as it will lead to successful outcomes one day like it did for me. It’s never easy but eventually you will understand it does take a village to raise a child and you will be thankful for how your village helped you achieve impressive results.
Eileen is a Project Social Ambassador and blogger for The NVLD Project. She loves helping others understand they can achieve their goals and dreams through hard work and dedication.