I Didn’t Outgrow NVLD; I Grew Into It, by Megan

By July 10, 2023 NVLD Bloggers

I was blessed with an opportunity to obtain a degree in Disability Studies combined with a minor in Indigenous Knowledge and Experience. Together, these unique educational experiences allowed me to embrace a disability lens which allowed me to unlearn everything I thought I knew about disability.

Previously, my concepts around disability were very much associated with the medical model and I perceived disability with stigma, labels, and shame. It wasn’t until the Disability Studies program that I learned to embrace my disability identity instead of allowing ableism to force me to mask who I am.

The most frustrating and confusing aspect of having NVLD is the complex invisibility that goes along with it. It’s the misunderstanding of the invisible notion that “you’re too smart” to identify as someone with a learning disability.” In high school I made honor roll, and continued to maintain high 80’s and 90’s. This had astounded my teachers and parents who had magically believed that I had “outgrown my learning disability.” What they didn’t know is that I had to work three times as hard if not harder than my neurotypical peers to get to where I am today. The idea of “overcoming” one’s disability aligns with the “Super Crip” trope, which is a term to describe how a disabled person exceeds the level of even non-disabled people despite their disability.

This type of language is harmful, and as I proceeded to my first year in college and had to sit down to do a psychoeducational assessment to prove I still had a learning disability to receive academic accommodations, I was confused when I was told that I still had a non-verbal learning disability. I was reinforced with ableist messages that made me believe I had shed every layer of my NVLD existence. I was fluent in masking, I tried to conceal and hide every aspect of having NVLD in college to my friends, peers, and professors. The agonizing dread of having a conversation to explain how I needed accommodations. I even struggled to explain what NVLD was to confused college professors who believed I didn’t have a learning disability. The struggle to fit in was a frustrating journey and masking was exhausting. It wasn’t until university and when I entered Disability Studies, that I embraced disability culture and grew into my NVLD label. There are a lot of barriers of stigma and shame associated with disability that I still struggle with, however, learning to embrace and accept the messiness of NVLD makes you a masterpiece. I never outgrew NVLD; if anything I learned to grow into it and accept all of my flaws.


I’m a graduate of the Child & Youth Worker program from Cambrian College and recently graduated with a 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.

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