My entire childhood involved psychoeducational assessments, professionals, special education and tutors. At an early age, I began to recognize the weight of “indifference.” Labels and words started to stick to me, and special education paved my faith. Disability started to shape every aspect of my life. Interactions between teachers and other neurotypical peers were foreign and felt forced. I was continually an outsider looking into a world that wasn’t designed for people like me.
Disability is a slippery slope of inadequacy, stigma, judgement and oppression. Having NVLD created paper trails of assessments, accommodations and modifications. It created barriers and gaps between where I was going, and what I needed to get there. I had to work twice as hard to prove I was worthy and capable.
Where others found weaknesses, I found my strengths. I was continually caught between the battle of “I can’t” and “I can.” I believe we are all born with gifts, having a brain that’s wired a little more differently has been a blessing in disguise. Having NVLD has allowed me to find my gift for writing, embrace my empathy and sensitivity, and most importantly be a voice for others with disabilities.
I, alongside many others with NVLD, wasn’t designed to fit into a societal mold. Perhaps, we were made to break it. NVLD doesn’t require intervention, as I’m imperfectly me and I don’t need anyone to “fix me.” I had to search a little deeper to find color in a world that tried to paint it black and white. There’s a quote I stumbled upon by Dr. Suess a few years ago that goes something like this, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out!” I think he intuitively spoke to my soul when I found this. When I was younger, I wanted to switch my brain and snap my fingers to achieve a sense of normal. Now that I’m older, I’ve embraced my NVLD and come to realization that it’s is part of who I am, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Having NVLD is a blessing not a sin, and has given my life a valuable purpose.
I’m a graduate of the Child & Youth Worker program from Cambrian College and I’m pursuing my degree in Disability Studies at Ryerson University along with a certificate in Aboriginal Knowledges & Experiences. I am a Project Social Ambassador for The NVLD Project.