Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

13 things about my learning disability

Today I'd planned to tell you about auditory dyslexia, but when I looked it up on the net, discovered that term doesn't apply to my learning disability. But it is auditory-something and I'll tell you about it.

1) When I read about this disability I was about 40 years old, and recognized immediately that the writer was describing me when I was in school. However, this is not a professional diagnosis, just my opinion.

2) I'd been reprimanded for not paying attention

3) for interrupting

4) for talking out of turn

5) for not following directions, particularly if there were multiple steps

6) for not being able to finish tasks when the other kids did, or doing it out of order, especially if the assignment was oral.

7) That writer called it auditory dyslexia (which makes some sense because the Greek word lexia root means word, but the term usually refers to reading). The writer said she compensated by taking notes, double checking and clarifying instructions by repeating them back. Today I found something similar called, "Auditory Processing Disorder."

8) It didn't significantly impact my academic success--I have a master's degree and was associate professor when I retired from Ohio State University and have published articles in journals. The APD site says the student has problems with reading and spelling and has low academic performance. That's not me.

9) I've always loved school, reading, learning and writing. I'm not tone deaf.

10) But the process is slow, disorganized and frustrating. My mind is always either ahead or behind what I'm hearing. It's like trying to drive while looking in the rear view or side mirror of the car knowing there's a lot of oncoming traffic. Taking notes is essential, but only helps a little, because usually I write down what I hear, which makes no sense when I read it later. Lots of prepositional phrases with no subject or predicate.

11) While reading about this problem in the 80s, I decided to try aerobic dance--hear it, see it, say it, dance it, to see if I could help my coordination work with my hearing. I'm not sure it helped, but I lost 20 pounds, learned a lot of dance steps, and got a job from the instructor.

12) The rate or speed of the spoken word is a problem. In a lecture, I'll usually miss all but the anecdotes; a sermon, which is usually slower, I might understand and remember 2 of the 3 points (a good sermon should have 3 points), but it will be gone by dinner unless I discuss it with someone. Conversation, which is slower than a speech or sermon, is much easier to grasp, but I also have facial cues and gestures for interpretation and memory aids. Committee reports are torture (although that may not be an auditory problem). Foreign accents don't bother me, but probably because those people are speaking slowly.

13) I can't repeat a 7 digit phone number or an e-mail address and will always ask you to repeat while I'm writing it down. In order to say my own number I have to think what it looks like, not what it sounds like. Spelling bees or hearing a word spelled is just gibberish to me.

So the next time you yell at your kid and say, "ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?" the answer might be yes and no, if by listening you mean understanding.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Norma:)

That sounds a little like an attention disorder without hyperactivity.... just a thought.

That is interesting. I have always felt that kids are too quickly labeled. I've never thought hearing, speaking or attention behaviors had a thing to do with intelligence.

Very interesting post :)

Anonymous said...

My youngest brother was diagnosed with an language processing disorder. There are many varieties of this disorder. My brother was quite bright, but didn't do well in a traditional classroom setting without an understanding teacher and some allowances being made.

His disorder affected every subject. In math, the teacher could ask him one day what two times two equaled and he would be able to answer immediately. The next day, he couldn't tell the teacher until she asked what two multiplied by two equaled.

On tests, he would run out of time trying to write out the answers. He would get the first three out of ten answered and answer them correctly, but fail the test. Eventually, his teachers took the time to give him his tests orally. He had the knowledge, he just couldn't communicate it well on paper.

As an adult he makes more money than any of his siblings and is very successful in all areas of his life. Maybe you have some version of a language processing disorder.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing. As the mom of 2 boys about to enter school age I am alwasy interested in learning about anything that may hinder their education. Don't want to label, just want to be knowledgable.

murrayT said...

I learned at an early age some of the tricks needed to past certain tests. For example, with a reading test I simply focused on the key points or names. This enabled me to complete the material on time and the questions were always about the key points and names. Wether I actually got the message or not became immaterial.

I did very well in school until puberty got in the way. Scholastically I didn't handle it well. Fortunately I was able skew the statistics and become successful without a solid education. Could have accomplished more if I would have "brown-nosed" a little! LOL

There are so many personal variables regarding learning that a successful teacher has to be admired.

Chelle Y. said...

I would have never thought you would have a learning disability. You write so well, and seem so learned.

Some of those points sounds like me.

Anonymous said...

Is it really a question of a "disorder" or simply an issue of sensory dominance? I also have a problem remembering and processing auditory information. But most folk are dominant in one or another sense when it comes to processing information. I am very visual. I can remember information written on blackboards by my professors when I was in college 30 years ago, but can't remember a word they said.

I guess I'm just wondering if we aren't a little too quick to call things "disorders" or "diseases," when it may be a matter of developing skills. If I lift weights and develop very strong arms but never work out my legs, my legs will be relatively weak. That doesn't mean I have a "disorder" of the lower extremities.

Tug said...

Very's sad that it takes so long to figure this stuff out.

Happy TT!

Anonymous said...

Wow, very interesting! I'm definitely a visual learner - I learn best by reading, taking notes, making charts and diagrams, etc. But when it comes to aerobics/group fitness I'm definitely auditory - if I hear the instructor cue the move, then I can do it. As a group fitness instructor myself, I realize that everyone has different learning styles, so I try to cue well, use my arms and hands to indicate what we are doing, as well as demonstrate the moves, and provide enough repetition for those who are kinesthetic learners.

Happy T13. :)

Red Queen said...

Very interesting topic Norma. I had never heard of this but it makes great sense. Thanks for sharing. Be blessed today

Melissa H. said...

I've always been a tactile learning. I like hands on and I have to take notes. Once I get the notes down, though, I don't have to look at them again.

My oldest son is a visual learner. He has to draw pictures or diagrams to help with things like reading summaries. He also has problems completing a task if it has more than one auditory command. He's currently being evaluated for behavioral issues, and we think his auditory issue may be linked to a behavioral disorder.

Thanks for sharing this and spreading awareness about things that are out there that may affect our children as well.

13 Reasons I'm Thankful for my Mom

Anonymous said...

My son has dyslexia and dyspraxia
I feel blessed to know you because it helps me to know older people with these types of learning disorders it gives me hope that he will be ok. I often worry about how life will be for him what with high school looming in the next couple of years and when he leaves school.
Its always been a hard slog for him and me as his mum but we just struggle on. I believe 2 things
learning is a learning is life long experience so he does have time and he has had private tution this year which is really helping.
Bless you Norma

Jane said...

It sounds like you found ways to compensate. That is the key.
My T13 is up.

Carey said...

Way to go with the aerobics class, and college degree. See, know matter what we may or may not suffer from, we can all accomplish something of importance.
Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I never heard of this particular disability, but I sure did identify with your list.
Dyscalia and dyslexia are the ones I battle (kinda all the same maybe).

Anonymous said...

My sons are both developmentally delayed (from medical problems they had as babies)and my oldest is in a special preschool now. He is a visual learner. It really helps to have a visual schedule he can look at to know what comes next. Very interesting topic!

Anonymous said...

Very informative Norma. I had never heard of anything like that before.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had never heard of this before either! Thanks for the info!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy TT!

Carmen said...

my uncle has something similar. it's a challenge. horray for you overcoming it and shining in the process.

DK said...

Hi Norma! Thanks for the 101 on this LD. I know several people who have struggled with this, or something similar, over the years. Only difference is, you were savvy and persistent enough to find out what was going on, instead of just believing the negative things others said about you. Thanks for your tenacity and investigative skills! I think this TT will help many people. Have a terrific weekend, and thanks for stopping by this afternoon!

Anonymous said...

It's just fascinating--the more we learn about the brain and how it works, the more we find that what was once labeled as stupidity or laziness is instead a difference in processing.

Kudos to you for finding a way around it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this... I have become very annoyed with my 5 yr old, but have realized that she doesn't seem to "compute" when I am telling her something. She is distracted easily, I have wondered if she has and actual problem with the listening process.

I have a problem when my husband spells something out to me, it's gibberish. i have to have him slowly repeat it sometimes, I I have problems with staying focused too. So I am learning to be less annoyed and know now that my daughter has probably inherited it from me. Medicine is advancing in studies of serotonin and it's affects on the brain, and they are finding that many disorders are linked to a lack of serotonin, and that a lot of these disorders are inherited. it stands to reason that it is due to inheriting the inability to produce enough of the chemical, therefore inherting depression, OCD ect.

Still, it's hard toremember when being frustrated as a parent sometimes, but I am working on it! :O)

Anonymous said...

I have no experience from such things. Sounds a bit tough. I recognize certain bits of it NOW, because I have severe problems to concentrate because of my back pains....

I do think it's important to spread information about these kind of disorders though, in case of that ther is someone that is unaware of it.

Irish Church Lady :) said...

Hi Norma
I've heard of people being auditory or visual learners. I am definitely a visual learner (my preference) but I believe you can improve your skills in the other area by practise. Being on lots of conference calls and listening to on-line radio call in shows helps in this area from my experience! However, if I'm in a meeting, I am much more comfortable if I have a copy of the slides that are being presented in front of me, or even slides period. Meetings with no overhead and just talk, especially if I have to take minutes, leave me feeling drained. Actually taking minutes is not my favourite thing to do anyways! If I'm a participant in the meeting I don't mind, but if I'm facilitating it and having to do minutes, I hate it because I usually miss something.

Unknown said...

I have a problem as well in learning. My brain requires that I take an extra step in translating the abstract. Anything written does not probess as fast for me as the normal person. I am not sure what the cause is. I was tested carefully by Scottish Wright in Dallas when I was about 7 yrs old. So, numbers, letters, music, all take me longer to translate. I think it is similar to dyslexia. Anyway, things have improved over the years.
By the way, Wyland paints these giant murals on the sides of buildings and they are usually whales and always under the ocean scenes. They are truly amazing. Just do a google or yahoo search on Wyland Whales and see what turns up. He is also on a Discovery channel speciall next week I think.