Learning disabilities - an ATLAS blog post

One of our ATLAS members has shared their experience of having a learning difficulty.

A drawing of a brain sits on a counter surrounded by scrabble letters

Learning difficulty or LD for short is an additional need which I have. It is difficult for me to learn things in a normal way, so I have to learn in a different way that is easier for me to understand. I find it a lot easier when things are written down, drawn on a piece of paper or a whiteboard or explained in an easier slower and clear instructions. I struggle a lot with my additional needs when in learning in secondary school, so I got a 1-to-1 for my lessons to support me in lesson and with my work.

Getting diagnosed

When I first found out I had LD (learning disability) I didn't like being different from other normal people but now I like being different from others because I think it makes me more interesting. LD is different and difficult to have to live with day to day, this is because it affects what I do by myself. For example, it takes me longer to cross the road by myself than your average person would but that's just how my brain works. I need help with some things more than I do with other things.

I got diagnosed with LD since I was 4 years old by a doctor in a hospital, but it has become more manageable, but it is still tough. I got given help from the doctors with my LD and I have to go regularly to meet the GP surgeon because I am vulnerable because of my diagnoses. I also go to check my well-being and my mental health, and I have got a meeting soon this year in September, I think.

What it's like to have a learning disability

I have the physical and mental state to ask for help with different things because if I didn't ask for help my learning skills would have gotten worse which I don't want to happen. I can do some things by myself like reading, drawing, and painting but some things I need help with are my spellings, maths, and doing my hair. I get very frustrated when I get my work wrong but that's just a mistake and I can learn from my mistakes. It is not fun having LD, but it gives me the chance to help others with LD like me.

Here are some things I can't do because of my learning difficulty:

  • Put money in my own bank account because I don't fully understand how it works as it has not been showed to me and explained so I can understand it.
  • I can't drive because it is too many things to do at once and to understand.

Things that help me

I used to go into a moment where I would shout when I got my work wrong because I felt like I had to keep up with everyone in mainstream school. Now I look at in a different way and I try again and try my best to get it right by myself. I also now feel that it is okay to take my time and not rush it otherwise I'll make a mistake! I am proud to be different and have LD as it makes me who I am today. I used to think that my LD would stop me from working but it does not! My workplace has made sure that fire alarms tests are not done when I am in the building. Things that help me to work is my dog and fidget toys.

Things that don't help me

I found that out that things that don't help to me work is too many instructions at once and it not being explained in a way I can understand. I found home schooling much easier for me to learn this is because I have more time to do my work with no one rushing me to finish. I am doing more schooling and learning with Surrey Choices and Duke of Edinburgh now.

My superpower

I don't let my learning disability not let me get a job. My learning disability is one of my superpowers, I look at it in that way, but I know that not everyone likes to see their disability as a superpower. I think it is powerful and cool that I think and learn slower and differently. I need and want to learn; it doesn't stop me from learning. I take it as a strength to improve. I am learning things every day! However, people could help me with this if they made things accessible. I think everything should be accessible whether you have a visible or invisible disability.

Category: ATLAS

  • Reviewed: 14 Feb 2023

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.