I have always been pretty up front about my struggles. I have mild dyscalculia and an auditory processing disorder. I have always worked and been pushed very hard (Thanks, Mom!). I do think that I compensate quite well. I do some odd things sometimes, but most of that can be written off as "she's a little quirky." I do have a very hard time with directions, remembering numbers, and understanding voices in a crowd. Modern technology has saved me! I love the GPS!! My husband has also helped. At first he really couldn't seem to fathom that I honestly can't remember numbers. After 20 years, he believes me now. I have spent most of my adult life "re calculating." If something isn't working, I come up with a way to make it work. I write down important numbers in a special notebook, I live by my calendar, I purposely add 10 minutes to departure time in case I get lost (the kids make this harder and harder). So far I have made it work and I think that I have gone far beyond what my early elementary teachers ever expected of me.
I think that this is what makes me a compassionate teacher. If you work hard enough, you can surpass even what you expect of yourself. You have to set realistic challenges for yourself. Of course, when I tell others about my disability, I tend to get two reactions. I can see some people look at me and mentally think that I am full of it and exaggerating. Others instantly treat me differently. They slow down how they speak and treat me like I am incompetent. There are also the very few who get it and are comfortable with my honesty about it.
Well, the older I get, the harder compensating seems to be. Especially, in the area of auditory processing. My weaknesses tend to be: differentiating between background and foreground noises, understanding accents, and understanding people in crowded places. Trying to hear the kids over the TV or radio or washing machine is so difficult. If I can stand close to someone and see his/her face, I have no problem. Lately, it has been so frustrating and makes me impatient. The kids tend to say never mind instead of explaining what they want to me. I miss parts of conversations and I think that my family is tired of it. The last time that I got my hearing tested, I was able to hear quiet well, I just couldn't process what was being said. The doctor suggested that I try ADHD medicine to help me focus. I didn't think that I needed it. Honestly, if I focused anymore, my head would explode. All my life, I have heard people accuse me of being a dreamer and not paying attention. It is quiet the opposite actually, I am trying to figure out what is being said. I am recalculating and analyzing and filling in missing pieces. At times it makes me seem out of touch or aloof.
This summer, I decided to get it tested again and if the medicine was suggested, I should try it. I went to get tested today. Imagine my surprise when the doctor told me that on top of the auditory processing issues, I have high frequency hearing loss. My hearing looks like that of the normal 60 year old (with auditory processing issues). The hardest part is there is nothing that can be done. No surgery, no medicine, and no hearing aid. I need to continue to do what I am doing and ask people to be patient with me. I need to keep recalculating. I am glad to have an answer, but disappointed that nothing can be done. I wonder what will my hearing be like at 60? The older I get the more I wonder how my LD issues will impact normal aging? I guess that I'll find out.