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NVLD Bloggers

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Leslie’s Story

By NVLD Bloggers

My first time stumbling upon this website, I was relieved. Hearing the stories on the main page reminded me of my own experience. I’ve always known something was off as if I did not fit in with the society around me. I always had a poor memory and I only excelled in subjects that interested me nothing else. Except under pressure I can finish a 7 page essay 1 day before the deadline.

Dread. Thats how I would describe the feeling before I needed to get in the same vicinity as other kids. I would calculate how to talk because I was sure to say something totally bizarre and off field. My lengthy figure didn’t offer any help in my alienation. Even within my own home I was somewhat of a mute- only talking when I went to school.

The feeling I get when I relax my jaws is as if this is the position they were meant to be in. Not talking at all feels so much better. In college my grades were pretty good It wasn’t until COVID hit and schools switched to Teaching Online that the I realized that something was off. No matter how hard I tried nothing seemed dire enough to do. To begin. My grades plummeted that year.

Many children can benefit from getting the proper diagnosis. Looking into ADHD left me with so many unanswered questions. Similar but still not quite right.  Hearing the stories of others has really helped me know that I am not alone and I hope mine can do the same for others.

Leslie

Hi! My name is Leslie (20) and looking into NVLD has put my mind at ease. After initially seeing someone explain it off social media there was silence but I still felt heard.

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Inclusion Part B

By NVLD Bloggers

In my previous piece I wrote about my biggest disappointments growing up in the small town of Ogdensburg. That was while inclusion was so important, there were always pieces missing. This is because they generally went for partial inclusion rather than full inclusion.

For example during my high school years we had C courses which were the least challenging and just for resource room students for English and Social studies. They included support of a resource room teacher, teacher’s aide, and sometimes a speech therapist. Due to these classes being limited to resource room students these students weren’t full inclusion students and for some students this was a mistake.

One of the first issues with this setup is that the teachers and support staff can give too much support. With smaller class sizes and having more adults in the room, you aren’t left alone long enough to allow you to figure out some things on your own. As a result it can be harder for students to step out of their comfort zone to go after academic challenges.  Whereas in a full inclusion you are more likely to have a strong desire to reach your maximum potential as you have more academic independence. For example, my US History class with Mark Henry was initially challenging though he chose to work with me after school. Right away he noticed my challenges were due to a slower processing speed and not due to my abilities as the extra help led to academic achievements. This experience is why I don’t believe that partial inclusion is the right choice for those with NVLD as our strengths are sometimes hidden and being challenged allows for them to come out.

Another negative is that sometimes separation leads to either losing friendships with their non-disabled peers or gaining inappropriate behaviors by having all disabled students together. Both scenarios have a real negative effect and you should never allow any LD student to take a step backwards. The full inclusion sections allowed around much stronger role models and had an easier time with keeping in touch with their childhood friends which is so beneficial for the NVLD students. Since these students learn best by having great role models lead by example and if they see their peers regularly they have an easier time building personal connections.

In athletics my district was like others and welcomed inclusion/mainstream students to be team managers which is an excellent option though is partial inclusion.  What continues to be overlooked is many individual sports teams, like swimming and track, are open for all so full inclusion can be more common than it is. Yes, while at first this may be hard, the truth is you learn more about the importance of determination, sportsmanship, friendship, believing in yourself  and always doing your best by choosing the full inclusion route. For the NVLD student this is especially important as these traits are often a weakness and by being fully included these traits can be cultivated and developed to allow for impressive improvements.

Through my personal experiences I strongly encourage those with an NVLD to choose the full inclusion path for both academics and athletics. While partial inclusion has real positives it can set limits for reaching maximum success.

Since I often achieved higher grades and added more mentors as my teachers and peers were so impressed with my will to succeed, my overall interest in academics and how I could connect with others. For example in English and History we would talk about famous playwrights, current events, and historic places so others saw how much knowledge I had to share in these areas. More importantly, I connected with peers who enjoyed these topics too. I share the same feelings about being fully included in sports. Having a true teammate teaches you many life lessons like the importance of doing your best and being able to care or support each other. Due to this I gained such strong mentors and friendships and strongly believe that the same thing could happen for you by choosing a full inclusion path.

Overall I can’t stress enough how full inclusion can lead to greater achievement and overall happiness. My best classes were the ones where I was challenged the most and now years later my running friends and coaches are still so important in my life. I truly believe that if you choose this path you will understand how beneficial true inclusion can be.

Eileen

I will always think the world of you Mark Henry, Jim Adams, Mary Durr, Beth Bresett, Penny Sharrow, Bill Merna, and Kevin Kendall for making fun sure I stay fully included!

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My Journey to Florida

By NVLD Bloggers

It all began when we loaded up my dad’s car and my car.  My car was shipped from PA to Florida. My dad drove down to Florence, South Carolina. It took about 8 hours. During the drive, my mom and I slept most of the time. I greatly appreciated my dad driving. We stayed at a hotel in Florence for one night and then my dad proceeded to drive to the Homewood Suites in Palm Beach Gardens. That took about another 8 hours. We stayed there for 12 nights until our apartment was ready. Read More

Why Having a Coach and Athlete Relationship is So Important, by Eileen

By NVLD Bloggers

While forming relationships with your teachers is especially important for an NVLD student, or any learning disability for that matter, it is equally as important for these students to have a relationship with a coach. As a coach and athlete, the relationship in many cases is more casual and you can have more heart to heart conversations about what you’re going through. The level of attention you receive is also so greater as your coaches have less teammates than teachers have students. Read More

An Open Letter to Those Questioning the Need of Personal Connections, by Eileen

By NVLD Bloggers

Growing up, I would occasionally become confused about why it was so important to my parents for me to be so connected socially with others as those with similar challenges seemed okay just doing the journey by themselves. Now in adulthood, I understand it completely as having significant personal connections makes the journey easier and is a major self-esteem booster. Read More

Beating Adversity, by Michael

By NVLD Bloggers

I have fond memories of my childhood. I was a dorky little kid with glasses who found excitement in playing with Hot Wheels cars. I was different.

Fast forward to 7th or 8th grade at Catholic school. One day, all the other boys in my class were going to the sub shop on the other side of town to get subs and spend time at one of the popular kids’ houses. Everyone was invited except for me. I was crushed. I cried bitter tears. My troubles with NVLD were beginning. Read More

NVLD and The Importance of Every Day Role Models, by Eileen

By NVLD Bloggers

One of the things I have learned growing up with an NVLD is that it is important to take regular education courses and to be part of activities with neurotypical students. While we struggle to learn the proper interaction in social situations, we can do fairly well learning through experiences with the proper role models. Yes, it requires extra work on your end. In the end, it can make a tremendous difference. Read More

The Challenge of Conversations & NVLD, by Myk

By NVLD Bloggers

Many people take simple things like conversations for granted. However, conversations are a social obstacle course for someone with Non-Verbal Learning Disability. Relationships come and fade away without proper explanation. Loneliness is a massive part of NVLD. Growing up, I always knew there was something a bit wrong with my interactions with peers. Sometimes I would say something that would result in massive laughter, all the while I did not understand why. Read More