5 Reasons Why My Learning Disability Is Actually My Secret Superpower

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Why My Learning Disability Is Actually My Secret Superpower
Contributor
Self

Having learning disabilities as a child taught me many lessons.

I learned many life skills earlier than my peers, and there are still many adults who struggle with the things I have been doing since third grade.

Looking back, having this kink in my brain was a blessing in disguise because it has shaped who I am today.

Here are the five biggest takeaways that have led me to be successful as an adult.

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1. My learning disability taught me how to fail.

Everyone fails in life, but as a child, I failed daily in school.

I struggled just to pass classes and keep up with my peers. For many summers, I had a tutor I would go to three times a week because my "summer slide" was greater than most.

I struggled and mentally fell down every day, but because of that and how young I was, I did not have a choice to stay down.

I got up every single day and the struggle was normal. This constant battle taught me how to fail, brush myself off, and get back up because I had no other choice.

Today, I am a successful college student and when I fall, I have no problem getting back up, as it is second nature. I have failed so many times that I know it does not mean I will not succeed, it just means I have to work harder. 

2. I know how to ask for help.

There are many times in life where people think asking for help means they have failed.

For me, the only way I was ever going to succeed was by asking for help. At an early age, I found that most people were often glad to help, especially teachers.

Teachers are teachers because they want to help children, and I was forced to realize that in order to succeed and actually learn something, more times than not, I would need to ask the teacher for clarifications, extra practice, or one-on-one help.

As an adult, with my professors or supervisors, I don’t give a second thought when asking for clarifications.

I have learned that people would rather I do the task at hand correctly the first time after asking a few questions than have me not ask and do the task wrong.

The older I have gotten, the more I have realized many people have a picture on the wall of what they want, and as I am not a mind reader, it is better to just ask.

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3. It taught me how to be self-confident.

All throughout elementary school, I struggled academically and socially. I am still more often than not, the quiet girl in class.

As I grew older, I was able to grow into myself socially as I realized I am not a math genius, but I am a writer. As I focused on my strengths and successes, I grew to be more self-confident.

Not everyone is good at everything — scratch that — no one is good at everything.

I learned to embrace being a writer, my creativity, and my vivid imagination rather than focus on the fact that I am not a math person.

I have many people around me who are extremely good at math, and I have a calculator in the shape of my phone with me at all times. Embracing this has helped me focus on the things I enjoy and succeed at. 

4. My learning disability taught me how to stay positive.

The biggest thing I ever learned while growing up with learning disabilities is that looking at the positives always makes things easier.

I know it can be hard to look at the positives — trust me. When I was in third grade I was diagnosed with having a learning disability in...writing.

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I now spend most of my time writing. At the time I struggled and was frustrated, but focused on the fact that I liked writing. It was not easy but it made me grow, and I am a better person and writer for it. 

5. I know how to be self-aware.

As a child, I was aware of my academic success, or lack thereof, and how they measured up to my peers.

At many times, this was painful and made me feel like a failure. As I grew up, I became academically competitive, choosing harder classes than I should have just to prove to myself that I could do it.

In high school, I was surprised when I realized that I was no longer behind the pack; I was in the middle and struggling in the honors classes with the best of them.

The same self-awareness that made it obvious when I was the only one struggling now helps me to be conscious of how my actions and words affect people.

The same tool that caused me pain now helps me see how in the middle-of-the-pack I am and at times, how I'm in the top of the pack.

All in all, my learning disability has made me stronger and shaped me into who I am today.

As a child, struggling was the norm for me — there was no other way around it unless I dropped out in third grade.

As that was not an option, I learned how to work hard and look on the bright side whenever possible.

Through this experience, I found a strength in me that is stubborn and unmoving, and it has shaped me in such a positive way that I have no idea who I would be if I did not go through it.

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Charleigh Reid is an editorial intern at YourTango who covers news, entertainment, and more.