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At Eye to Eye, one of our primary objectives is to encourage self-acceptance and self-advocacy in everyone with a learning disability and ADHD. To make this happen, it's important to know you're not alone and to show others they're not alone either. Speaking out about your unique personal journey and the strengths you have developed celebrates your different way of thinking and learning - and it also creates a safe environment for everyone else to do the same.
We believe young people labeled with learning disabilities and ADHD must find their voice and be open about their label in order for there to be a significant shift in the way society views learning differences.
It's not always easy to talk about your LD or ADHD with others. Any time you tell other people personal information, it can feel a bit scary, and that's even more true when it comes to your LD because of all the misconceptions out there.
But those misconceptions are exactly why it's important we talk to others about our LD / ADHD. At Eye to Eye, we have seen how nothing helps remove prejudice and preconceived notions about the LD / ADHD community more than knowing someone with LD / ADHD and talking with them.
WHO SHOULD I TELL?
Find someone who doesn't know about your LD, or who knows you have an LD but doesn't know much about it. You could try a friend, family member, coworker, or classmate who you don't know well, or maybe take the opportunity to chat with a close friend with whom you've never had a long chat about your LD. The key is to identify someone you can be honest with and who you think would be open to hearing about your life and LD issues. And if you think you've already talked to everyone you know about your LD, you're probably wrong! There are people in your world who still don't know what it's like for you to have an LD. Go out and find them!
HOW SHOULD I START THE CONVERSATION?
If you are looking for them, there will be plenty of opportunities to have the conversation about your LD. Let's say you are talking to someone in your class about a homework assignment or a coworker about a deadline: that's an opportunity to bring up why you sometimes need extra time to get the work done. You can also use LD issues that show up in pop culture ("Did you hear that Sam on Glee is dyslexic?") and news ("Did you read that article on ADHD testing?") to get the ball rolling.
When you start the conversation, make it personal. You may be a representative of the LD community, but you can only speak for yourself, and not for others. Talk about your LD journey, from diagnosis to struggles to successes. Talk about how having an LD makes you stronger. You'll find that just talking about your life as someone with LD will be a powerful experience for both you and the person you are talking to. Also tell them how you are a proud member of a movement to make others aware of LD issues, but be careful not to make it seem like talking to this person about your LD is some kind of assignment.
Make sure your conversation is a two-way street by giving them a chance to ask you questions about your experiences. Some of those questions might be offensive to you because they are based on ignorance about people with LD, but don't get angry. Remember that you are having the conversations to combat stereotypes, and a misinformed question is the opportunity to do just that.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER THE TALK?
Whatever you want! The conversation won't change things between you and the other person. If the people you talk to want to learn more about LD issues, or get involved in the LD movement, you can suggest they go to Eye to Eye's website or Facebook page. We want to hear how the conversation went!
BACK TO GET INVOLVED