In 1967 when NVLD was first recognized I was just 2 years old. It’s no wonder it took until age 51 to be diagnosed with NVLD. Although my disability went unnamed for those 51 years I knew I was different. I knew that my math struggles, spelling errors, messy handwriting and how hard it was for me to stay on track and prioritize tasks were signs that something just wasn’t right.
Moms and Dads and fellow NVLDers. Guess what — none of those things stopped me from having amazing life experiences, a fulfilling career, and making loving connections with people.
Since I never had intervention and support I learned ways to cope with this disorder on my own. How I did it was by embracing the things about NVLD that gave me unique abilities and talents and turned them into a successful career and passions that make my heart sing.
My personal strengths turn out to be characteristics many children and adults with NVLD possess. Like our never ending curiosity. I turned my desire for information and unconventional ability to gather it into a career working as a professional prospect researcher and writer.
In fact, one day in a library doing research for work (that was where you did research back in my day, not on the internet), I stumbled upon an article about child modeling agencies. On a whim I submitted my 8-month old son Matthew’s snapshot, one dressed like a baby Bruce Springsteen in jeans, a white tee shirt and American flag bandana draped over his head. Weeks later the agency asked me to bring Matthew in to meet them. He went on to become a successful baby model. Matthew and I enjoyed our experience so much that when my second son Jake became a child actor. He is best known for his role as Nicky, Ben Stiller’s son in the first two Night at the Museum movies.
My days as a stage mom sitting around on movie and TV sets helped mold another characteristic of mine that’s frequently shared with children and adults with NVLD: my insatiable desire to talk a lot. My adventures in Hollywood gave me the chance to be the storyteller my brain was programmed as a means to connect with people in wonderful rewarding ways.
In adulthood there are times the hassle of living with a learning disability makes life harder but it never takes away my zeal and love for it.
Shari H Cherry
I’m a wife and mother of three loving sons. My recent diagnosis of a NVLD sheds light on the parts of myself that both lead to the struggle and successes I’ve experienced over my 51 years. My successes far outweigh the hardships!Share your own story