On Paper, In Person





90% Unintelligible.


These were the labels tied to my name, or at least written on my old IEP reports starting from Kindergarten.

I have the luxury now of re-reading these reports and smiling, but at the time they were written, there was nothing to smile about.

I smile now because everyone involved in these meetings-me included- had no idea what I'd amount to years later as an adult.

You read these terms, these labels, and we naturally assume the worst for the future ahead.

On paper I was destined to struggle.

In person, I was destined to be whatever my abilities allowed.

Paper can change. It's the person-and their hopes and hard work- that changes it.

These sheets of paper could easily have been a crutch. But why would I want that? If others can succeed without these sheets of paper, then why can't I?

Time and time again I'd take the harder route just for the satisfaction that I was doing something that the 'Normal' kids did.

I'd rather fail trying something with no accommodations, then ace something with accommodations.

And trust me, I failed a lot.

I took Pre-Algebra Three Times because I kept failing exams given Test Anxiety and my inability to understand, well, numbers.

When I did finally pass that class-I was 3x as proud that's for sure. No one could tell me I only passed the class because I had 'help' or a 'shortcut.'

I got a 1 out of 5 on my AP Spanish Speaking Exam, no accommodations either. Those grading didn't work nearly as hard as me to speak, but again no one could take my hard work and studies away. That failure, well, I worked hard for. Ironically, I later majored in Spanish in college.

My grades weren't nearly as important to me as the work I put in.

I didn't want a single person, a single college, no one questioning or challenging my abilities. I would rather fail working twice as hard with no accommodations than pass with accommodations.

Because I knew how those conversations go, two people who both get an A-but one that had 'extra time' or some other accommodation- the other will say "Yeah, but you had some "extra help." I couldn't stand hearing those words, hence why I avoided them at all costs. Don't even get me started on how rude it is anyways, but this, unfortunately, is a conversation that occurs more often than it should.

This isn't to discredit those that request and require accommodations, many of my peers did throughout High School and College. I had certain accommodations as well in Elementary and Middle School to get me to that point where as a teenager I could take riskier classes and make riskier moves.

For me, I was too prideful trying to prove myself as a teenager that I'd rather take the risk of failing a class than the comfort of relying on accommodations.

For me, my motto then and even now as an Adult (within reason of course): "If it's scary, then do it."

Meanwhile, my parents were certainly waiting to swoop in if needed to put me in my place and give me support if needed, but that's the job of a parent afterall.

My pride, my work ethic, and my perseverance  motivated me to challenge the girl identified on paper as 'slow,' 'challenged,' or 'uncoordinated.'

I had to work almost twice as hard to not only prove to myself I was not this girl as written on paper, but to convince those writing that I was 'improved.'

You'd be amazed at how much it takes to prove people wrong. It takes a lot of ignoring, very little talking, and a lot of hustle.

But the rewards of finally distancing myself from the girl identified on those early IEP reports, it's beyond satisfying. Knowing if I could do that at such a young age, then I really can do anything I put my mind to.

It's that strength and hard work that children with Apraxia acquire at such a young age, that assures me all will find their success and happiness.