Postcards from an L.D. Veteran
Lingering flashbacks from my elementary years, visit me often. Flashes of visions streak across my mind of just making it under the limbo bar (i.e. a C average) of high school years, then the hobbling along with everyone else in my L.D. class in college, then finally during my last three semesters in college did I ever begin to feel confident. Only then to feel the vast emptiness when I began to look for a job in the business world. My metals of honor were always at home, in the form of my parents who gave me the foundation to step out in Faith, and come home to recharge my confidence. It has and is a tough battle of overcoming the written hurdles of our society, and the limits it creates. As a dyslexic with the gift of multi dimensional thinking or thinking in pictures, we are ahead of our time, and it is discouraging to have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up. In the process we are the minority. Sure we have ADA support, but this and every other label comes at a price of whispers in the back of the class and slighted eye contact when it comes to questioning our option, but at the end of the scholastic mission there is victory.
Each of the above has a defining ring:
Elementary school was tough, although I found my place as a class clown, whenever I got close to the edge of disciplinary correction, my fellow students would ask if I had missed taking my Davis pill. Most of which was overshadowed by my likable silliness. Only one school asked me not to come back.
High-school, I thank the Lord for not being labeled as an SLD or I might have qualified for ESD, but they did not exist, as a matter of fact most teachers were not informed that I was dyslectic until my senior year.
The Scholastic Aptitude Test was my baptism into college, only under an L.D. program was I going to venture into college. The L.D. program weighted my enthusiasm, in spite of my better judgement by the administration. The L.D. program would discourage the type of courses I wanted to take, so I transferred.
The University of the South was a spring board which I desired and learned more about myself and studying than ever before. I was responsible, and I accepted the responsibility by studying very hard. I was not efficient, but I was diligent. What a great gift to be in such an academic environment.
What was to follow were three semesters of a balanced diet of hard work with other students who were there for the academic challenge, and the application of reward by having fun, i.e., kayaking, spelunking, rock climbing, watching football games in a coat and tie, (which is also the uniform to class). There were teachers who would step out of scholastic traditional bounds on my behalf. They took time to read my test to me. They also invited me into their offices and homes for private tutoring, or to get a clearer picture of the “gift of dyslexia” and how to help the knowledge I expressed in class into grades. All under the “honor code” of education.
Feeling the grades and quality points failing, I transferred to the University of South Florida. My acceptance was granted after an oral petition. Into the Special Services for the Handicap program, I was allowed in. What I did not know was that I had been academically suspended from the University of the South. Subsequently, I was academically suspended in a year and a half from the University of South Florida, mainly due to my denial of disability and help from the program of the Special Services.
Into the work force for two years after being offered a good salaried position as a manager of a night club, I decided the life style would not be good for me or a possible future family, I returned to school.
By this time my emotional arms had been strengthened by picking myself up from past failures. The deans of Social Behavioral Science questioned my ability to remain a candidate for a B.A. in Psychology, saying that in order to graduate I would have to maintain a 3.0 average; I went on. There was however, one administrator who was interested in helping me, not my “disability.” I was back at my degree. Three straight semesters later, ending in Dec. 1985, I sat front row and center, averaging a 3.0. I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of South Florida.
In April of 1986, I was hired by Rhea Chiles, as an intern for the Florida House, Inc. in Washington, D.C. In October that same year I became the Director and worked for the Florida House and the 50 board members for seven years.
In January of 1994, I was hired as the Administrator for my father’s company Manatee Diagnostic Center. In 1995 I was given the Chief Financial Officers title. We had 21employees in 1994 and one full time doctor and one half-time doctor. Today we have 70 employees and four doctors. As an administrator, I am not a parent of 70 children but a child for 70 parents, which can be quite hard at times, but I do not have anything which the Lord did not give me, and what a great gift He gave me.