October is the month of raising awareness for causes which are bigger than ourselves. As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also the month when we raise awareness for Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Rett Syndrome, SIDS, and braces (National Orthodontic Health Month). National Bullying Prevention Month and even National Cybersecurity Awareness Month are also observed in October.
For up to 20% of American children, however, October is the month to raise awareness for children who learn differently than the rest: it’s ADHD Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month and Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.
Most kids who learn differently have more than one obstacle in the learning pathway that need to be overcome. Scout MacEachron was diagnosed early in her school career with dyslexia (language and reading), dyscalculia (math), and ADHD. Through a combination of modifications in learning strategies, accommodations for testing, and medication for inattentiveness, and significant patience from her parents and teachers, Scout was able to succeed academically in grade school, high school, and college. In this month’s Seventeen, Scout takes us on a tour of what her difficult school career was like. She also explains what it’s like to be a student with learning disabilities:
People tell me ADHD or other learning disabilities aren’t real, but spend a day in my mind and you’ll understand. Imagine your thoughts are constantly interrupted. Imagine not being able to do basic math. Imagine spelling or saying things so wrong it’s comical. Imagine being consistently late despite every effort not to be. Imagine having your intelligence and capability consistently questioned because of things you can’t control.
That’s what it’s like to have a learning disability.
Read another essay about how Scout MacEachron finally found the right college for her here.
Read more about how one in five children learn differently at Understood.org.