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And now for the other side of the ADHD coin: the “twice exceptional” population. This is a group of individuals who may have ADHD, learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and are also categorized as “gifted.” The author is right: these individuals seem to be a people without a country. They don’t quite fit in with the rest of our special needs families; they don’t quite fit in with the rest of the world.
What are your thoughts?
My name is Susan and I’m a twice exceptional adult-gifted learned disabled or 2e who happens to be ADHD. Yup, there’s my introduction. My label. My label is my introduction and I think that’s lame.
So let’s change the introduction and share a story.
Can you imagine the conversation a parent must have with their child; that conversation where it is explained to the child that they are different. My mother had that conversation with me when I was twelve. I was diagnosed late in my school career as gifted learning disabled and ADHD. That conversation only confirmed my suspicions. I had known for some time that I was different. I had started to recognize attributes that made me different.
School was another issue. It was strange to me that a school couldn’t figure out how to educate me. Receiving accommodations or an IEP was next to impossible, and it wasn’t until I was going into college that the Americans with Disabilities Act passed. It was in college that I received accommodations and it was scary to ask for help.
You Know You Don’t Fit In When…
It’s hard to know that you’re different and have nowhere to go; especially when you’re younger. I felt like I was in competition with other special needs kids. I remember that first disability services office I walked into and I knew I was going to have to prove my disability.
The special needs groups? Forget it! I didn’t fit in because those groups weren’t prepared to deal with a college student. I think what I found so insulting about those groups is that they seemed to think that I shouldn’t be there. Young adult support was someone else’s problem and not theirs.
My late teens/early 20s were the hardest time in my life. Learning how to advocate and keep my cool was so tough. College was a difficult time because I didn’t fully understand my rights and there was no one to explain them to me.
It Is Possible
It is possible to get help despite the hurdles that need to be jumped.
It is possible to get the support that is so desperately necessary in order to succeed.
It is possible to know that you aren’t alone in this journey that is called “special needs”.
It is possible to be okay.
I have learned how to fail horribly because of my disability, but I have also learned how to get back up again. And I get back up again and again.
I know what pain is, being bullied and made fun of feels like. I rise above now because I know that words are just that; words. I choose to be the better person.
I also know when to defend myself, and when to advocate for myself.
It is possible to turn a disability into ability; an ability that is so life changing that you barely recognize yourself some days.
It is possible to enjoy the new you and remember where you came at all the same time.
I’m really enjoying all these possibilities.
Written by Susan Reynolds. Susan is the founder of “Re-shaping Our Children’s Future By Using Our Heads,” and passionate advocate in the Tricare for Kids legislation.
You can also find more of her writing at Bad Mother Advocate
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