Dear LDA,

I wanted to thank you for the wonderful conference. I came as an educator who wanted to find resources for the “issue” of HS transition and LD. What happened to me at the conference is hard to describe. I sat back to listen to a scientist. He began to describe his personal experiences, feeling like an imposter and working harder just to prove himself. He used humor, and honesty to talk about the things only I knew. I unfolded my arms, stopped writing, was mesmerized, and heard my story.

Then, I listened to a leader in a non-profit who described himself as wanting to be an LD Ninja. He would know what it felt like to be his students. Be able to help better than those who did not understand. But never tell that he was one of them. It went on and on, an artist, a poet, and a teenager. What I realized was that I was not just an educator who helps change systems to make the transition planning process better for students, but I was reminded that I am a person with a learning disability.

I found a piece of myself that I never think about, that I just deal with. For the first time, I understood myself, I realized that I am not alone. I have been to many conferences. I put them on for a living, but today, I left reminded that I am a daughter, a mother, and a person with a learning disability. I saw myself, found some acceptance for myself, and the strength to not do it alone anymore. I will tell the whole truth about who I am. I will be more content and easy on myself. I will still be a hard worker and driven to help others, but in doing so, I will not forget myself. I walk away, the bowl so full that there is enough to spill out onto others.

Words cannot express it enough, thank you.

Melinda Rafanan

Return to LDA Today, Vol. 6 No. 2 – Home Page