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Why I Chose Education: Elliott Roubicek

At the age of 22 I was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. That means that from Kindergarten to University I had no idea that my brain worked differently than my peers'.

ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopment disorder that affects an individual's ability to focus or their ability to do things like sit still because they tend to be hyperactive. For me, I have ADHD with a predominant deficit in attention. This means that I have struggled to start or finish a task, hold information in my mind, focus on details, follow instructions in a specific order and so on.

This meant that I often missed due dates, lost attention for a few minutes and missed instructions about an upcoming assignment, struggled to start homework and transition to doing more homework. Anyone who knows me best knows that I came to school with a new nail polish color all the time because when I sat down to study, I would paint my nails, as that was more desirable activity that caught my attention.

It cracks me up every time I write out the word dyslexia. You would think that the word that defines a deficit in reading and spelling would be an easier word to read and spell! All jokes aside, dyslexia might not be what you think it is. People who have dyslexia have difficulties connecting letters to the sound they make. For example, the word "hat" is made up of three sounds, each connected to one of the letters h, a, and t. Someone with dyslexia struggles to connect those sounds to the letters. This becomes more and more difficult as word length increases and new rules in reading are introduced.

In school, I would avoid reading at all costs, especially reading aloud. I would often ask to go to the bathroom before it was my turn to read a paragraph for fear of being laughed at because of stumbling over words I was unfamiliar with. I would also often get questions wrong on tests because I didn't read the prompt right.

I could go on and on about the specific ways I struggled in school. But something important to understand is because I had these experiences, I thought that I was less than my peers. I felt I wasn't as smart and couldn't accomplish what I wanted to. When I was diagnosed, I learned that ADHD and Dyslexia have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence and IQ, but everything to do with a difference in approach to learning.

It is proven that students with dyslexia have the ability to read as well and fluently as their peers with the right reading interventions. I believe ADHD is a superpower because when there is something that I feel passionate and motivated by, I have the ability to hyper-focus

and create something amazing.

This journey has lead me to becoming a Special Education Teacher. I have felt first hand some of the hardships that come from having a disability, but I have also found the great joy in being different and learning in a different way. I believe that as a teacher, I have the potential to inspire my students to believe in themselves and reach any goal they have. Individuals with disabilities have great potential to learn and grow in ways others might not see as possible.

I choose education because I believe that I can make a difference in the lives of my students, no matter what their lives might look like.

To learn more about Special Education, or any major in the McKay school, click here to schedule a meeting with a student ambassador.

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