Change, Learning Disability & IEP when starting a new school year
It’s been a while. I have been wanting to write about what my daily school day looks like having a Learning Disability (LD) but had a bit of a rough beginning this September.
For those of you who know me, I belong to the type, that doesn’t like change too much. I guess, I take a bit longer to adapt to a new environment.
Well, because of my LD and IEP (Individual Education Plan) I was put in different classes for Math and Language, which made me feel uncomfortable and anxious at the beginning of the school year.
It was this September. I was already not too happy about having a new homeroom teacher and different kids in my class. My entire school routine had changed already, when my new homeroom teacher asked me and two other kids in my class to step out of the room. To be honest, I thought I was in trouble. Everyone was like “Oooh, she is in trouble!” and it made me feel anxious and scared. When we were all outside, we were told that we will not be participating in regular Math or English class anymore. I asked why, and I was told that because of my learning difficulties in Math and English, it would be helpful for me to go in a separate classroom, so that I would be able to concentrate better and ask all the questions I wanted to. I was told not to worry and to consider it as an advantage. At first, this scared me because I was thinking of what my friends and classmates would say. I had been putting this kind of IEP accommodation off as long as possible. I was worried that kids would make fun of me again.
It shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to me, since my parents had talked to me about this “IEP accommodation” for a while, but I had forgotten that conversation… When I went public about the fact that I had a LD in Grade 5, I did get some hurtful comments but at the same time kids were surprised that I had a LD because I was just another kid in their class with pretty good grades. It’s that stigma that kids have with LDs.
People think they look or behave a certain way. Still to this day, kids will say things like “Really, YOU have a LD and ADHD? You don't look like anything is wrong with you..." or "Oh your so lucky, you don’t need to do anything... the work your Math teacher gives you is sooo easy.”
These type of comments make me feel sick to my stomach. How many more times will I have to explain to kids and adults that there are all sorts of LDs and that just because I have one, it doesn’t make me a lesser or weaker person.
I would be lying if I would tell you that it doesn’t bother me what other kids say about me or other kids with LDs, or any type of “condition”. It hurts me every time, and I try hard to not care but it doesn’t always work. It’s funny, I advocate for kids with LDs, ADHD and all sorts of disabilities but still find it hard to advocate for myself.
When I went to the “special” Math and English classes for the first time at the beginning of this year, and I saw other kids from grade 8 and 5, I once again realized that it wasn't only me. Now, not only did I get to make new friends but I understand everything so much faster. These teachers just have a different way of explaining that just makes sense to me. The class is small and I can actually concentrate. I really do see this as an advantage now, just like my homeroom teacher and my parents said it would be.
I have accepted that I can benefit from this extra help, and to be honest I really like my new Math and English teachers.
This year has been pretty good so far and I am very thankful, that I am now in these classes. For anyone that has an IEP program and is pulled out of their regular class to join a special educational program, don’t worry! Lots of other kids are in these types of classes too. You can make new friends and share your experiences.
Also, don’t listen to kids that tell you that whatever you are learning is way easier than what they are doing in class.
We are all learning in school! Some of us just in different ways, and that is OK and all that matters!
Believe in yourself always!