You Can’t Buy A Learning Disability

This picture is from an article I wrote for my high school newspaper about how incredibly hard the college admissions process was for me. So knowing now that people were out there totally cheating the system really angers me.

By now you’ve probably heard about the high-profile college admissions scandal that came out recently, in which parents paid to get their children into universities through bribing faculty, hefty donations or arranging for their children to cheat on the SATs. Paying off a college to get your kid in is obviously terrible. But the fact that some of the parents “bought” their kids a learning disability to get SAT accommodations makes me absolutely furious.

My learning disabilities have affected me in almost every class I’ve ever taken. They often force me to work much harder than my peers to get the same results. They have been a constant source of anger and frustration for years because I can’t do things that come easily to other students. My accommodations are what helps bridge this gap and without them, I would have completely floundered in school. To think of someone taking advantage of the resources I need to overcome a genuine significant struggle is incredibly upsetting.

Thankfully, I have become very good at advocating for myself and my needs in the classroom. But before I developed the confidence to stand up for myself, there were teachers who completely blew me off. Some called me a distraction to the rest of the class and some said it wasn’t fair to give me “special treatment.” Freshman year, one teacher even blatantly denied me my university mandated accommodations and I was felt too embarrassed and ashamed to fight back.

So what makes me so angry about this whole college admissions scheme is that the kind of people involved in it are the reason that teachers don’t always take me seriously. They are why a teacher once told me that I was “obviously trying to take advantage of the system” so his goal would be “to accommodate me as little as possible.”

It is important for the world to understand that learning disabilities are a huge burden for those who really suffer from them. They are not a sneaky way to get extra time on tests or use of a laptop in class. They are the only way to level the playing field so that I can thrive alongside my peers.

This scandal is unfortunate, frustrating and disappointing. But I hope it creates an opportunity for dialogue on these issues so that people can better understand how hard a learning disability really is.

Has anyone ever questioned your learning disability? Let me know in the comments or send me an email.

3 Tips For Improving Impulse Control at the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping is one of those things that everyone assumes is easy. But people with ADD can have a lot of trouble with impulse control, which can make a simple trip to the grocery store a whole lot harder. Sometimes I really struggle with shopping for food – I wander around aimlessly for extended periods of time getting distracted by little things in each aisle. If I don’t go into the store with a plan, I end up buying random foods that don’t mix. And worst of all, I spend too much money on things I won’t eat and don’t need but couldn’t help but impulsively buy (I’m lookin’ at you Gushers). I really am ashamed to admit how much food I waste when I impulse grocery shop. This is partially because I get caught up in the moment and buy silly things but also because I buy so much that I end up forgetting what I bought and it goes bad.

So while I have certainly not yet perfected the art of grocery shopping, here are a few ways I stay on track.

  1. Be sure to make a list of what you need before you go in and do not deviate from it. Try to get everything your list as quickly and efficiently as possible so you don’t get super distracted on your way to the next thing. If it helps you, you could even make it a game by timing yourself to see how quickly you can get in and out, limiting your exposure to things that will distract you.
  2. Don’t impulse buy perishable items. They will go bad and you will regret it.
  3. Go shopping with a friend! It’s helpful to have a voice of reason to dissuade you from buying expensive and unnecessary stuff.

How do manage impulse control when grocery shopping? Let me know in the comments!