It’s easy to write a post about LD (ADHD, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, etc.) Anyone can take my son’s advice when in need of information, “Just Google it.” Sure, I’ll get a perfectly detailed description about LD and anything that falls under that category. Everybody knows that! But it’s much more difficult to write about the children or teens that suffer from various LD issues and describe how they really feel when experiencing the effects of their specific LD. There are many children’s books about dealing with anger, frustration, etc. I value these books that deal individually with each and every feeling. But I choose to explore a number of feelings in Lisa’s storyline as they come up, and as she confronts her struggle with learning disabilities.
I observed my daughter suffer the effects of LD and in a sense I actually experienced those feelings along with her. Mothers do that sometimes. I did my best to share those feelings with the reader in my YA realistic fiction If Only…
I would like to quote Lisa the protagonist of If Only… in two instances. These are just two examples of how Lisa truly feels as she struggles with LD. The first one brings out Lisa’s anger with school, with herself and with her mother. She is obviously totally frustrated in the first quote.
Quote number two expresses Lisa’s anger with her “inferior” self in comparison to her best friend G., again total frustration.
1. “I hate school, I hate being me and most of all I hate how my mom really doesn’t get it.”
2. “You totally don’t want to be me. I’m not good at anything. I’m always messing up.” But G didn’t really get it! Her vocabulary was way better than mine. She always had the right answers to the teachers’ questions. I always got stuck for words and everybody got impatient while I tried to explain myself.”
There are many more examples you will find while reading If Only… These feelings of frustration do not disappear with time. Lisa will carry the burden of LD with her forever because it has become an integral part of who she is. Children and teens with LD need an education which presents them with opportunities whereby they can shine and succeed. Only then will the burden of LD diminish and take second place.
Most importantly, I hope If Only… will help kids with learning disabilities by enlightening their peers, parents and teachers to be more sensitive and empathetic. I believe sensitivity and empathy play a major role in the right education for children with learning disabilities.