One of the things I am the most proud of was being raised in a family that never lowered expectations for me and always gave me the same opportunities as my sister. Although my sister was a much stronger student, and as a result had more opportunities, we shared many similar experiences which allowed me to have a “never give up” attitude, as I wanted to follow her lead. This led to greater success for me than many people believed was possible.
One of the first things that comes to mind is how we were both three season athletes throughout school. Despite our differences in talent and personality our coaches saw how similar we were as we were both great teammates and looked out for others. Consequently, both of us received awards by our respective coaches a few times during our athletic careers. Receiving these awards led to an increase in my self-esteem and helped me gain acceptance. I am also proud to say this was the same in my experience in Key club (a community organization) and in the music programs.
Next, was having equal opportunities for college, and in my personal opinion, this is the one people most forget about. While my parents understood college was expensive and had other concerns, they believed that if both your learning disabled and non-learning disabled child are committed to their studies and social growth you need to give them the opportunity for a new experience too. While I could never get admitted places like Georgetown, NYU, and Boston College to experience the impressive opportunities those places offer, there were several places like Curry, Dean, and NYIT that matched my needs and gave me the experiences that are so important for those of us with disabilities.
What made me happiest as a student was how my parents encouraged me to take a complete academic load despite my learning disabilities. My parents believed my self-esteem would suffer even more if they lowered the standards for me and through my experiences I believe this is true. Without taking a full academic program in high school, getting admitted to Dean and Curry would have never have been possible. And without college, I wouldn’t have made such wonderful social connections. While I couldn’t have taken AP courses like my sister did, by keeping standards high for me, my parents knew we could both experience some of the same opportunities that college offers.
Overall, if you are in this situation it is important to remember keeping the same values consistent from child to child regardless of a disability is especially important and makes life at home easier. However you must be realistic about what their achievement levels will be. Setting them too high can damage their self-esteem as much as setting them too low can. Each decision shouldn’t be made lightly. At the end of the day, your NVLD child will see that their dedication and determination along with your confidence in them played a large role in their success.
I am so proud and am forever grateful my family never lower the standards for me!Share your own story