Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do I Dare Share?

Well, I learned some interesting information this week. At first, I didn't want to share it with people because it's kind of personal, but then I got to thinking about how much this vital information explains about me and my past. There is not a reason in the world for me to be ashamed. So here it goes... I have dyslexia. There I said it. That wasn't so bad!

You would have to understand my history to really get why this "diagnosis" explains so much. For starters, I was never a "good" student. I always had trouble with charts and graphs, I was hyper-sensitive to dractions, to the point of being agitated and frustrated by someone tapping their fingers on their desk, and I had to work very, very hard to even get a "C." I would know material but it was never clearly reflected unless I was writing an essay, which was always my strong point.

I can remember being in high school Boology and really enjoying the material. I studied my butt off and got a a grade in the upper 70's. I was pretty excited! I went to a Christian high school and my teacher wrote on the top of my paper, "Do everything as unto the Lord. Is this effort really unto Him?" I will never forget ripping the test up and telling myself that if I was going to get accused of not trying, even though I studied hard, then what was the point of trying? I pretty much stopped all attempts at studying and had more fun skipping class and goofing off. It was easier to pretend like I didn't care than to acknowledge that I really DID care and it just wasn't clicking.

My "lack of intelligence" has always bothered my inside. I know that I have other gifts and abilities that make me unique but I've often wondered if people take me seriously or think of me like I'm an idiot. In a social situation it kind of makes me feel insecure. I'll want to interject something that I know about but deep down inside I wonder if I really do know what I'm talking about and I'll choose not to share things. Sometimes I wish that I had some way of validating what I know because I really do know things and I'm not stupid!

I've always had this uncanny ability to speak backwards. It sounds weird but when I'm trying to focus, I repeat words backwards. If I can remember how a word sounds backwards I can remember how to spell it forwards. I also read sentences backwards. When I read a road sign, for instance, I will automatically go to the last word because in my wacky brain I don't think that I'll be able to read the whole thing. It's odd. I know.

So, what really lead to this discovery was a couple of things... My math teacher this semester noticed that I have a great understanding of the mathematical process but along the way, I transpose my numbers incorrectly and make silly little errors. She suggested talking to the staff at the college that specializes in learning disablities. The second issue that lead me down this path was my testing abilities thus far this semester. I took a quiz in Biology and I KNEW the material. That wasn't the issue. I studied very hard. However, I got a mere 60% (luckily it wasn't worth much and I had some extra credit points to bring it up quite a bit) and when I reviewed the mistakes, I realized that I had inadvertently chosen answers which I knew to be wrong. It killed me!

I went to talk to the learning disability specialist fully expecting that they would tell me I was fine. I thought these differences for all these years were "normal" and that I just wasn't as smart as my peer counterparts. However, the lady told me that in 30 years of working with people with learning disablities, she has never seen someone with such an interesting and severe case of dyslexia. Thanks, I think? She told me she was fascinated by me because I have come up with such creative strategies to compensate for the unusual ways I take in information. She said the very fact that I graduated from high school and even had the courage to come back to college shows intelligence on my part and she's confident that a few little tweaks could make me an excellent student. AHHH! I wanted to hug her!

You have to understand, I had a principal give me a quarter in his office once. He said, "Do me a favor... Use this quarter to give me a call if you're ever successful. I'll have you know, I never expect to hear from you." I had teacher after teacher wrongfully accuse me of not trying. I'll admit, I was a trouble maker and I probably deserved to be disciplined, but I never deserved to be treated so poorly in regards to academics.

From here out I just have to do things a little differently. I'm given time and a half for all future exams to allow me to process and re-read questions if neccessary. In addition, I'm also allowed to have someone read me an exam and based on my oral answer, they will choose the appropriate response. I'm able to do this from home with John and my school is okay with that. I take my first BIG test using this method tomorrow and I'm so excited! I truly do know my material.

I'm really excited for the days ahead! Knowing that my oddities have a name know is so encouraging and I've decided that when I do graduate, the success will be that much sweeter!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Soooo Much to Report!

I have been crazy busy. Actually, crazy busy probably doesn't adequately describe just how insane and jam-packed my schedule has been as of late. Let me get caught up!

Vacation was wonderful! We spent an amazing week on the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland. We did some shopping, ate lots of seafood (Well, everyone else did... I'm allergic), played in the sand, walked the boardwalk and relaxed. It would have been the perfect vacations if it wasn't for a few factors. For starters, Bailey did NOT sleep well the entire trip and it was frustrating. Luckily we had family that put us back to sleep a couple of mornings (John's mom and sister) and we were able to catch naps from time to time. Once Bailey and I even feel asleep under and umbrella at the beach. It was amazing! Also, I started school on the middle of vacation and the house that we rented had no Wifi so I had to run back and forth the local McDonald's to get assignments and figure out what the heck I was doing. It all ended up working out okay! We came back with awesome tans and we had an incredible time.

Brookie started Kindergarten last Wednesday. I'm not going to lie... It's been tough being away from her. Every time I drop her off I just want to hold her and squeeze her and not let her go but she's always ready to start her day. She loves school so far and she has some really good friends and an amazing teacher. I find myself looking at the clock all day and wondering about what she's doing and if she's happy or tired or having fun.We also started letting her ride the bus home (but we still drop her off in the mornings) because the pick-up time is at 2:30, which is the middle of Bailey's nap and it's just not possible.  She loves to ride the bus and sits with 2 of her friends so that makes me feel better. All this school business is a lot to take in! People tell me it will get easier. I hope they're right!

Adrienne is a new kid while Brooke is at school. It's crazy. From 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon she is compliant and happy and eager to please. Then, once Brooke gets off that bus, she is like something out of a horror movie. Lol. She throws herself on the ground when asked to do something, she hits and yells, and is overall very grumpy with Brooke. I'm not really sure why this is but I'm attempting many strategies to make the afternoon hours less stressful.

Bailey has had a rough go of it lately. For starters, on Labor Day we were walking around our neighborhood and all three girls were in the wagon. We stopped to talk to some friends and she stood up. At the same exact time, we started to walk away and she fell straight back and hit her head on the concrete sidewalk. She was obviously upset so we tried to comfort her but then we realized that she was cut and bleeding like crazy. We took her home and tried to determine where the blood was coming from but her curly hair was completely saturated, making it hard to see what was going on. We quickly threw her in the tub to get a look and there was blood dripping everywhere. Not a pretty sight. She then started having a hard time staying awake, which I didn't know if it was because she had a concussion or because she was just so upset. We took her to the ER to be safe and the doctor said that she could have used a staple in her head but because the bleeding had stopped we wouldn't put her through the trauma. And apparently CAT scans carry a high cancer risk with young children so he opted to not do one and wait and see how she progressed throughout the day. Thankfully, she was completely fine! What a scare.

Not to give Bailey 2 paragraphs and my other girls only one... But she's also having substantial issues with her ears lately:-( She has yet another infection and her ears are dripping with blood. Her ENT hasn't been the greatest with the reoccurring infections so I took her to our pediatrician, who we love and trust. He said that her ears are completely colonized with bacteria, to the point where he couldn't even see her eardrum in the one ear. He also thinks that her tubes are about to come out. He referred us to another ENT (who is supposed to be great) and we're getting a second opinion. It just gets frustrating for the poor girl:-(

As for me, I'm plugging away with schoolwork. I'm enjoying my Human Biology course, which is notoriously hard. It is a time consuming course but it's very interesting. My English class has been really easy, which is a blessing. and as for my Trigonometry class, I'm really struggling. The teacher awesome and lenient so my grade isn't suffering but I'm having a hard time staying on top of it. I know it will click one of these days. It's been a lot juggling the girls, John, the house and school but I think I've done pretty well so far and I'm coming up with a great system that doesn't really interfere much with anyone else's life but mine.

So, there you have it. A complete update! Don't count on another one for a while:) Lol