I see myself as a unique learner. My epilepsy and the medication to control it made learning an extreme challenge. Teachers expected me to meet the challenge of learning to read, write, and do math, but it was like climbing Mt. Everest for me. The medication slowed me down in my learning, speech, and seriously affected my balance. I consider myself as a unique learner because of my learning style, socioeconomic background, and diverse needs, as well as abilities.
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Each person’s learning style is different. Mine was much more hands-on. I was also visual. The medications made me have extreme tunnel vision. What I was doing or learning had to be right in front of me because of the medication. As I got older, I went through growth spurts, so the doctors kept giving me more and more medications. At the age of thirty-three, my mother took me to a new doctor, and she immediately recognized that I was over-medicated. She told my mother that I should be taken off the Dilantin and other things to do for me. I was able to drive eventually as a result of this doctor’s treatment. My brain also started to work in the way it should, not the way it had been for so many years. It took five years for me to learn how to read at a higher level. At that point, I was able to attend college and become a C.N.A.
My socioeconomic status moved from upper middle class when my parents were together to poverty level when they got divorced. I was thirteen at the time. When I was younger, both parents worked at the post office. My mother and father both had graduated from high school. When my sister was born, my mother quit working. I was almost four. Life and income were really good. When my parents divorced in 1976, we went to the poverty level of income, due to my epilepsy disability. The neighborhood children were my only friends to play with because we had balls. In junior high school, I had only one close friend, Maryann, who was also disabled due to a hearing loss. She was informed that her parents had died in a car accident. She remained my friend for a long time-all through high school. Then she was placed somewhere in an institution for the disabled. Other students made fun of me and bullied me during my school years. In spite of this, I graduated from high school, which was a real accomplishment for me! I am now attending college to learn to be a teacher so that I can help those who are like I was when I was young. I think I am a great example to others who are disabled and still go to school.
My diverse needs make me a disabled student, which is a part of my cultural identity. These diverse needs include needing tutoring, extra time for assignments, a recorder in my classes, and extra teacher help due to my disability. Tutoring helps me with my studies and helps me understand the subject better. The recorder helps with midterms and finals because I am able to review what the teacher said. Notes have always been hard for me to take on the spot. I am learning how to do them better, but I am not there yet, so a note taker has been handy. I need extra time for assignments because I need a quiet place to concentrate. Communication with my teachers is needed to clarify my assignments. Being a disabled student with diverse needs helps me to ask for what I need and be comfortable with whom I am. Outside of school, I like to crochet, and I am good at it. I have made afghans, pillow dolls, and kitchen accessories. I have other abilities that enhance my life and my learning. Persistence has gotten me through learning to drive, jobs, and into school.
My abilities have grown, so my cultural identity has also grown and developed. My background has influenced my cultural identity and helped me to become the unique individual and learner that I am today. My learning style and diverse needs are being met due to my persistence in pursuing my education and my future career.
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