My Name Is Dina Taylor West

© 2004, Dina Taylor West

      My name is Dina Taylor West. I am a 19-year-old student at Middlesex Community college. I have been attending this institution since the fall of 2002. I go to Middlesex because- I have a learning disability, and I am a member of Project Connections. My major is Liberal Arts and I hope to be awarded my Associates Degree at the end of this December. I will transfer to a four-year University. I enjoy school, and word hard to get good grades. Also, I have two jobs; I am an extended care supervisor at Holy Trinity Catholic School, and a personal assistant to the president of a business firm, in my spare time I enjoy doing volunteer work for special needs teenagers that have Down Syndrome . I am also a member of several organizations at Middlesex. I am a peer leader for the ASLD club and vice president of the Italian club.

      I do many different things each day. Each and everyday is a challenge for me, because of my learning disability. Life is frustrating and hard struggle, but I am proud or every moment of it. Each day I make new accomplishments for myself, they might be small or big, but its something I could not do the day before. It has taken a lot of time to finally accomplish most of the things I have done, but I do it, I have a lot of patience with myself that helps me very much. My self-advocating skills are strong, I am very good with communicating with myself and other people around me and explaining what I might need help with. I see my professors and tutors when I need help and they help me to understand the material I need to know. I am not embarrassed that I learn differently, I this makes it easier for me to get the help and support that I need, I take advantage of all of the accommodations that stare allows me to have, it helps me to make better connections with my work and understand what I am doing much better. Some of my most helpful accommodations include, use of a Franklin speller, calculator, spell check, and a reader for some tests that I might need reading clarifications with.

      My learning disability affects me most in these area of math. Numbers do not process correctly in my brain, I forget all the steps of the problems, all of the problems look the same, and I just makes no since to me. It will be very hard for me to overcome this, but I can work hard to strengthen it, it have been like this since I learned how to count to the. Nevertheless I do give my all, I get very frustrated, I never gave up, and never will. Each morning I go into my 8:00 algebra class knowing I will mistily fail at doing the problems. Trying my absolute hardest does make me feel accomplished. Math will always be there haunting me for the rest of my life. I will continue to attempt to learn it, like it took me 10 years to learn how to multiply, but one day I will understand it, and that day will be a great day for me.

      I am very lucky to have a learning disability. It has molded me into the person that I am today. It has given me failures, accomplishments, and confidence. I know that I have to do and learn things differently that others so I can get the same end result. I enjoy teaching myself stragies to make concepts more understandable, struggling and working hard, asking questions to have clarifications and to be more knowledgeable, and also being different because it gives me my character.

      In the future, I hope to be able to help many other people like myself be able to understand their strengths and weakness with their disabilities. I want all people with Learning disabilities to be proud of the struggle and never to give up.

      Living with a Learning Disability is a difficult way to live, but the skills I have and the accommodations I use have helped me to balance things out and make information clear to me. Self-advocacy, good self-esteem, disciplined study habits, good communication skills, and being able to get help when I need it are all traits that have helped me to succeed at Middlesex. Struggling through math and spelling will always be big challenges, I will keep working at these subjects to continue to build strength with them. Education is extremely important to me and I love to learn and come to school. I am very thankful that I am able to understand my disabilities and know how to help myself to succeed to the best of my abilities.

© 10/25/04, Dina Taylor West