Recently, I heard the story of a young adult who had some challenges growing up…
She was born prematurely and was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder while in kindergarten. She also had speech articulation issues, which made it difficult for her to pronounce some words. She learned to read later than most of her peers.
These types of difficulties are shared by many and are not so unusual on their own. But, often, difficulties that affect progress in school can snowball and contribute to decreased self-esteem, increased frustration, anxiety, lack of social connections, etc., as a child / young adult struggles with why things are so much harder for them than their peers.
Students are often so exhausted by trying to keep up academically that they don’t have any extra energy to devote to exploring what they enjoy or are good at – they are simply trying to get by. Sometimes, the discouragement is so overwhelming, that a student stops trying at all, since they have never experienced the positive benefits of their efforts. Other times, students don’t want to come across as different in any way from their peers and are reluctant to accept support which would help them level the playing field in school.
Fortunately, in the case of the little girl mentioned earlier, she is doing well. Maybe you’ve heard of her – her name is Amanda Gorman, the woman who recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at last week’s inauguration.