Love + Support = Success with a Learning Disability
2013 Allegra Ford Thomas Scholar
“There is a brilliant child locked inside every student.” –Marva Collins
My learning disability has made it difficult for me to do things at home, school and in my community. When I was younger it was hard to play video games since there was always something to read or memorize. In the second grade it was difficult to stay on task and keep up with the rest of the class. I found myself falling behind and did not understand why. Even hanging out with friends was challenging, since I would get confused by directions and when I tried to buy something at a store, my computation was not adequate. These are just a few ways my learning disability has affected me in school and in the community.
I was able to overcome the barriers that were presented in my life with a lot of support from my family and teachers. They saw something in me I had not yet actualized. My tutor and eye doctor helped me get issues with my vision corrected. My family demanded a defined Individualized Education Program (IEP) dictating the supplemental services of extra testing time, pull-out support, extended time, textbooks at home, and home tutoring. I received a spell checker, books on CD, in-class support, study guides and a tool I did not particularly like to use, the live scribe.
|2013 Allegra Ford Thomas Scholar Kcory Woltz had a team of "secret weapons" to combat his dyslexia: a relentless team of mentors, teachers, and advocates (led by his mother and aunt) who helped him come to understand his learning disability, develop strategies for success in school and life, and find ways to use his unique strengths.|
The people who have been there for me are my mother; my Grandmother Joanne; my Aunt Jacqueline; my tutor Mrs. Dixon; my former guidance counselor and mentor, Mr. Granderson; Diane Rasbury, my confidant; Mr. Floyd Ruffin, who has given me moral support; and my resource teachers Miss Christopher and Miss Shupe. My Aunt Jacqueline has been there through the long nights of homework, projects, book reports and papers. She made sure I was given equal opportunities just like every other student in my school. Her advocacy has taught me to stand up for myself as well for my academic achievements.
As a result of this strong advocacy, in sixth grade, I met an amazing woman named Mrs. Suzanne Dixon. She has been there for me as my tutor and mentor for the last six years. Our story is similar to the movie The Blind Side. Although the main character’s family life did not resemble mine, I could identify with being invisible in school until she found me. Her commitment led her to tutor me during the summer months and extra evenings. She has worked nonstop, and was never afraid to give me a stern lecture I needed it. I don’t know where I would be without her love and support.
I will attend Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey to complete the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program to become state licensed and certified to perform basic lifesaving skills. At the same time, I will earn my associate’s degree. As I am working towards my degree and certification, I will have the opportunity to volunteer as an EMT and get experience in this important field of study. Saving lives as a paramedic will help me give back to the community who has given me so much.
I am proud of the progress I have made in school. It has taken hard work and a relentless support team. The Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship will help me accomplish this goal by assisting me financially in this time of need.