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I’ll Get It Done

Special Needs Stories - Special Education StoriesI remember that the hallway was empty. I was grateful; an empty hallway meant nobody I knew would see me through the three panes of glass artfully spaced on the door clearly marked "Special Education/Learning Disabilities." Flanked by my parents, I sat across from people related in varying degrees to the pending subject, namely my yearly IEP evaluation. I was running my hands along the ridge of the used-gum side of the table. Ms. Boeck my case manager said, "Sasha, you are a real success story." She was referring to my grades as well as appreciating my input at the meeting. Telling the adults at the table what I felt I needed as support and what I didn't think was effective or helpful was a big step forward for me. Nevertheless, hearing her words, I remember glancing up at my mom, tears sliding down her cheeks and collecting in the corners of her beaming smile, and I felt a sense of real accomplishment. I remember when I was seven and had to write a report on basketball. Writing it was so agonizing, so painful, that I actually had less written after an hour-and-a-half of work then I had before I started. That's how bad it was. My parents were doing everything they could to motivate me, but to no avail. At the time, their help was an unwelcome nuisance not because I wanted to go it alone, or because I didn't appreciate it, but because they made me write.

I remember pacing back and forth behind my mom as she sat in front of the pale oak of her desk. On the empty blue ocean of the screen floated my first and only sentence, lonely and started like survivors of a plane crash.

Sasha Letchinger, an Anne Ford Scholarship finalist from 2005, lives by the mantra, "Get it Done," and she has. A twice-exceptional student (diagnosed as both gifted and with LD), he works to inspire his community as well as continue to challenge himself.

I remember words flashing through my mind as I grasped frantically for the right ones. One thought sparked another, pursued until it in turn ignited another. My head was on fire from the inside and I had no way to put it out. When I opened my mouth, all I could get out was a furious jumble of unresolved ideas.

I had nothing.

Finally, in a last ditch of effort, my mom told me that I couldn't leave the room until I had finished. I had my notes, I had my outline, I had my first couple of sentences, My choice was easy.

I slept on the floor.

Lying there, dreaming, looking up and out through the smudged window pane and over the gray and black flecked roof of the playhouse my dad had built, at the flowering magnolia tree bathed in the glow of the yellow streetlamps and the silver light of rising moon, I could never have believed I could write a sentence like this. I could have never believed that I could write an essay like this. I could never have believed that the fire in my head could ever burn its way onto the page.

I remember what it felt like.

The pounding in my heart, the coldness in the back of my neck, the shrieks of frustration in my calves are as real to me now as they were then. I feel them as I write my essay. I feel them every time I write anything, be it a reflection for my AP English class or an article for the school newspaper. But now, when I feel them, I remember myself on the office floor, remember the teacher who believed in me, the mentors who pushed me forward, the books that inspired me and my parents, who made me write. And though I feel the same throbbing numbness each time I sit in front of an empty computer screen, I start with one word, and then another, until I do it. It may take me ten times longer then my classmates, but I do it.

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