2024 – Awardee – Ruby Jones – Viewmont HS

Mar 26, 2024

The Confidence to Overcome

I thought I wasn’t smart so I started to give up on myself. I am not creative enough. I can’t remember what anyone said. I am not good enough. These were some things going through my head constantly until I learned that I had an Auditory Processing Disorder also known as APD, which is a condition that affects how the brain processes information like language and simple tasks. Without understanding that my brain functions differently than others I beat myself up about not being as fast as other students or not being able to communicate effectively. Navigating high school with APD presented challenges that I didn’t know how to face. However, with help from family, friends, teachers, and a wonderful APD therapist I was able to find effective coping strategies, overcome obstacles, and thrive academically and socially.

When you look up “disorders,” APD usually doesn’t surface. It is often misunderstood and overlooked, as symptoms can be subtle and easily mistaken for other learning difficulties. For me, APD presented difficulties in understanding speech, following conversations in noisy environments, and processing verbal instructions quickly. These challenges were particularly pronounced in the classroom setting, where lectures, discussions, and group activities were integral components of the classes I was taking.

CE English 1010 proved to be one of my most difficult challenges. On the first day, I found myself panicking that I wouldn’t be able to complete the coursework. I was already struggling to keep up with lectures and discussions, often missing important information or instructions. This led to feelings of frustration and inadequacy, as I found it difficult to perform as well as my peers despite putting in considerable effort. During this time I was seeing a therapist to help me through these challenges. I learned that giving myself extra time is an important coping mechanism. So I did. I found myself building a schedule that would allow me time to get my assignments done. Often it was discouraging to know other students were getting it done faster but I realized that I could do it, too. I completed the CE English 1010 with an A! Having coping mechanisms helped me to face my challenges and gave me the confidence to complete the class.

Navigating high school with APD was undoubtedly a challenging experience, but it was also a journey of growth, resilience, and confidence in myself. By finding and learning different coping strategies, seeking out support, and advocating for myself, I was able to overcome the obstacles posed by APD and achieve success both academically and socially. My experience serves as a testament to the power of determination, perseverance, and resilience in overcoming adversity and achieving one’s goals. I have come to learn that I am creative enough. That I can remember what people say. That I am good enough. And, that I am indeed smart. And, that it is worth trying hard every day to overcome those challenges that are hard for us.

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