Walking the path of having a learning disability

Published on 16 June 2024 at 19:29



"Sometimes a path calls for you to walk alone and still it is beautiful." Angie Weiland Crosby

Walking has always been one of my favorite activities. I am unable to drive because of the visual perception part of my Learning Disability. If I am not able to get a ride, then I need to walk to where I need to go. Sometimes my husband joins me, and I enjoy holding his hand and talking with him as we stroll. Other times I am alone on my walk.  Generally, I do not mind having to go on foot to places. I enjoy seeing the sights that I would otherwise miss if I was driving. I love to take pictures of flowers and other interesting things on the journey. Having a disability has been like walking a path set out for me. I did not get to choose walking this route, but I am not able to veer off of it. Instead, it is a course that I need to manage.

The path may be the same, but the terrain is constantly changing with circumstances. At times the path is smooth, and the journey seems easy. Other times the ground is rocky and has hidden underground branches that cause me to stumble. Deep roots of shame of having a disability have also formed in the past. Slowly I had to untangle them in order to move forward. 

The journey of having a disability can also feel lonely at times. I remember not knowing anyone else who struggled with a math disability.  Most of my Learning support peers struggled with reading. Others who did not have disabilities did not want to be around someone who did. I had to learn to walk along a journey solo, while everyone else seemed to have a friend. I have found others who do have Learning Disabilities and struggle with math. Getting that chance to connect with others who share this has been comforting. 

I have also had to carry additional things with me on my walks to ensure I have what I need. I carry my purse and often a gym bag or reusable tote bag. People often comment that I carry too many things, but I do not have a vehicle to store them. I also have to utilize different methods in order to learn and live. Many times, people wonder why I need accommodations and have thought if I tried hard enough, I would not need them. When I do not use them, it's a struggle for me and makes the journey even harder and more frustrating. 

My journey with having a disability is a lifelong one for me. I will always walk on the path of having one. Traveling this journey also does not feel as lonely as it once did, after finding others who walk alongside me. Some of them have disabilities and others do not but offer support and love.  The road may be bumpy at times, and other times it may be a smoother journey. I no longer feel the shame of having a disability and the extra packaging I need to carry. Instead, being prepared and learning new ways to do things, and the support of others give me confidence to face whatever lies ahead of me.  


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