When a child or parent has a disability, I think it’s hard on everyone. Sometimes people don’t understand what they are going through, which causes friction among each family member. There is a lot of stress, lack of understanding, and sadly, sometimes relationships do not last. In my case, with my disability, I don’t have a job. I am lucky to have a roof over my head, and my parents try to help me the best they can. Even though my parents try their best, they don’t completely get what I’m going through.
Some research has shown that genetics may be the reason why some people have learning disabilities while others don’t. From my understanding, it has to do with recessive genes. There are times that a parent has learning difficulties, but the child doesn’t, or when a parent has no learning difficulties but the child does.
Personally, I believe it is a combination of how the fetus develops in its mother’s womb and the strength or weakness of the genes the fetus inherits from both parents. However, I do know almost all conditions can be passed to a child from a distant generational relative.
Approximately 60% of children with learning challenges have at least one close relative affected the same way. One study of children with learning difficulties in reading concluded that language processing problems were found in 88% of family members. Many researchers are working to isolate the gene that seems to be responsible for passing down disabilities in families.
I have Pervasive Developmental Disorder and a mild intellectual disability. Ever since I was a little girl, it has always been difficult for me to relate to people. Some people have never understood the challenges I have and want me to be someone I’m not. They see me act in a different way or not comprehend something, and have a hard time understanding why. It’s easier to state I wasn’t paying attention than to explain that maybe I view things differently than them. It’s also more difficult for me to make friends when many people know I’m unusual. Even my parents have never really understood me. Many people won’t because they don’t comprehend what a person with a disability is really going through.
Ever since I’ve been a young child, I’ve never really liked to be touched. It has to do with the disability I have, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I know even with my parents, I don’t feel comfortable with touch. As a child, my mom never really hugged me, and my dad blames her and says that is why I don’t like to be touched. I don’t agree. Many people I know who weren’t hugged as a child grew up not having a problem with being touched. My dad would get upset because I don’t like to be hugged or touched and think it’s strange.
IQ (intelligence quotient) is measured by an IQ test. The average IQ is 100. A person is considered intellectually disabled if he or she has an IQ of less than 70-75.
Professionals usually use the term “intellectual developmental delay” rather than “intellectual disability” when speaking about a very young child. A serious illness, a change in family circumstances, or a temporary physical problem may result in a child being slow to learn. A child in this type of situation usually catches up on learning and continues developing as other children in his same-age group. But if a child continues to exhibit significant learning delays as he gets older, which affects his development in a number of other areas, professionals will then speak of intellectual disability which, unfortunately, will follow the child for the rest of his/her life.
I think something as simple as reading and writing is something we all take for granted. But many people with disabilities struggle with this. What do Albert Einstein, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Steilberg, and Cher have in common? They have dyslexia. Despite having this disability, these people have become quite successful. Having a disability like dyslexia, or any other learning disability, does not mean that person will not get a great job. With lots of hard work and determination, anything can happen.
Not every person is the same. The same goes for disabilities. Some disabilities are more severe than others. Dyslexia is an invisible disability, and it goes unnoticed. Before, many teachers didn’t even realize the reason a particular student was struggling. Now, teachers are trained and understand disabilities.
I have a Mild Intellectual Disability, which I’ve dealt with all my life. I admit sometimes I hate having a disability because things are much harder for me. It is difficult making and keeping friends, and some people change once they know I am different. When I was in school and friends found out about my disability, they changed. I don’t have some sort of disease people will catch, I’m just slower than most people. Yet many people don’t understand this, as much as I try to explain. It left me sometimes frustrated, because I deeply wanted to feel accepted. I was made fun of because I seemed different. I know I am not the only one who experienced this; there are many individuals with disabilities that go through this. Sadly, some people put others down who seem different or even quiet.
When I was 16 years old, I was old enough to get a job. But I never realized having an intellectual disability would get in the way of finding employment. It was very difficult finding and lasting long at a job, which left me quite frustrated. It was a struggle when there was too much expected of me and attempting to do more than I am capable of.
There are many jobs I've worked over the years, but the longest I lasted at one was eleven months working at Burger King. I have allergies, and other sensitivities, and over time, my body couldn't take it anymore. From the steam of food and other smells, it started to bother me. Plus I am slow, and it took time to learn instructions. Unfortunately, many employers don't understand people with disabilities or challenges..
I've dealt with my disability my whole life, and I've had struggles with being accepted. I find it saddening how people change when they find out a person has a disability. I don’t understand because they are the same person underneath. Even if the person weren’t a friend, as soon as they hear someone has a disability, they act like it’s the worst thing to hear. A disability is not a disease that you can catch but a condition that gets in the way of living a normal life. It could be communication, mobility, reading, writing, or anything else.
When I was younger, I was diagnosed with a Learning Disability (LD). For a long time I’ve struggled not only understanding my symptoms, but accepting myself. I hated having challenges caused by being unusual. I wished I was like everyone else, but sadly I wasn’t. As a youngster I always felt different, and I desperately wanted to feel accepted. I hated myself for so long for having learning challenges and even questioned why this had to happen to me. As I got older I realized I had to accept that it is part of my life, and I had to try my best in whatever I do.
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