Had I known as a child that I’d grow up to be a published author, it would’ve provided me with comfort and reassurance in the face of trying times. It wasn’t easy growing up with an undiagnosed learning disability. Despite endless efforts, in school I remained brilliant in some academic areas, like reading and spelling, and highly challenged in math and science, puzzling and frustrating my teachers and family.
When I was a student, professionals largely associated learning disorders with trouble learning to read, so it wasn’t until later in high school that testing revealed I had a learning disorder processing visual-spatial and non-verbal information. Now that I’m no longer in school, I only need basic math and science in my daily life. However, learning disorders don’t go away in adulthood, and navigating my daily life and career requires continued readjustment and self-accommodating. Nonetheless, my talents, creativity, and persistence helped me obtain professional success as a published author.
Recently, I became a first-time published author, co-writing The Modern Enneagram. In many ways, my nonverbal learning disability gifted me with special abilities that made me a strong author, such as:
- A love of words and gift for writing. I spoke my first words at nine months, and my enjoyment of language never stopped. When you have trouble with nonverbal information, the spoken and written word becomes your way of communicating to the world. From a young age, my teachers commented on my writing ability, and early in my career, supervisors noticed my talents drafting clinical notes. I’m very fortunate my loved ones and mentors encouraged me to continue to develop my writing talents.
- An incredible memory for details and facts. I might not remember visuals well, like details of paintings and some faces, but when it comes to what I read and hear, I remember details precisely and for a long time. Most NLDers are gifted when it comes to learning rote material, a skill that made researching and writing the book come easily.
- Perseverance in the face of difficulty. Having a learning disability, I’m used to certain things in life not being easy, but it’s taught me to keep going even when obstacles are in my way. I passed high school geometry and physics through hours of exhaustive studying and tutoring, and still have to be careful doing certain tasks, like cutting food and finding my way around a new place. I came more than prepared for the long road of writing a book, that includes research, rewrites, and multiple rounds of edits.
Life with a learning disability will always have its challenges, but all of us have abilities we can nourish. I encourage children and adults with NVLD to find success and meaning in their lives by bringing their talents and personal interests together.