Spreading the word

When you work in retail, you learn quickly that merchandise for the next season comes in long before the season in question actually happens. That said, I spent most of my shift setting up fixtures in which to put the fall seasonal stuff when it comes in tomorrow.

Yes, we’re getting Halloween stuff already, including pumpkins.

A photo posted by Emilie Peck (@peckemilie) on

The erasers and rings went VERY fast. The year before that, the little games and bouncy balls went as fast, if not faster, than the candy.

10 Second Conversation
My store manager happened to be there, and I decided to ask her if she knew about the Teal Pumpkin Project. It turns out the store will be selling teal pumpkins, but she didn’t know why.

So, I told her. She seemed pretty interested in it, but I don’t know if the store will be taking part come Halloween.

I know I will, at least.

The project itself isn’t the point of this entry, though. One of the most important ways of spreading the word about neurodivergence, neurodiversity in general and disability is to actually talk about it in your personal life.

Obviously, I take it a little further, what with this blog and the panels I take part in at the convention I attend, but chatting with people you know goes a long way.

You Choose How to Do It
As someone who is neurodivergent, it has been one of the most freeing choices I’ve made to date.

That said, I completely understand why people work hard to pass as neurotypical. I did that for many years, and have experiences the bullying that comes with closed-minded people in power. Not all people are open-minded enough to actually learn about others’ experiences, and too many of them are in powers in institutions like companies, schools and the government.

There’s nothing wrong with not admitting your neurodivergence or invisible disabilities if you’re not comfortable in doing so, but coming back with facts instead of stereotypes could open many more eyes than staying silent. Many minds change when faced with facts.

You can always use the old standby of “I know someone who’s…” or “I have a cousin/brother/sister/parent/whatever with…” to add credence to your words if you’re not comfortable about talking about your personal experiences.

I strongly encourage as many people as possible to speak up when the topic comes up. The only way we can beat stigma is to eradicate it with accurate information. Simple ignorance is cured by education, and willful ignorance is harder to maintain when few people back it up.

Developmental Vs Acquired Disability

An animated picture of a tea setting with the words "Click here for more information about #AbilityChat" next to it. "*No tea was harmed in the making of this chat" is the subtext underneathHave you ever noticed that the vast majority of disability representation in stories, both fiction and none, involve a loss of ability? The characters lose limbs, functionality or sensory ability through illness or injury. Very rarely is there a character born without a limb or sense.

As discussed a while ago, disability is one of the most poorly handled topics in our stories. Disabled characters are almost always seen as needing pity, curing or as comic relief. Rarely are they seen as real people able to contribute meaningfully to their worlds.

It’s interesting, though, how rarely they’re born with their disability.

The topic bleeds into the real world, too. I’ve noticed there seems to be a sharp divide between people who’ve acquired their disability over the years as opposed to those who were born with it.

In many ways, I can understand. Those who are born with a certain ability level naturally learn how to cope as they grow up. They don’t know any other experience, and don’t miss previous ability levels.

Those who were born with normal ability levels tend to feel the sting of their new normal more acutely, because they remember how easy so many things were.

Naturally, this leads to misunderstanding and sometimes conflict.

In reality, we’ll all face changes in ability as we age. That just comes from being human. Our bodies break down at varying rates, no matter how well we take care of them and we all cope with that differently.

However, that’s hard to grasp until it actually happens, which is why it’s so hard for younger people to understand.

Regardless of the “why” or “how” there’s still always frustration over the topic.

Tonight’s #AbilityChat revolves around this issue. If it interests you, join us at 7 pm CST on twitter.

Is Gender Bias Part of My Math Problem?

Numbers and partially solved math equationsSomething’s been bugging me for a long time now.

It’s been writhing there, just under the surface of my every day thoughts and challenges. My doctor summarized it perfectly during our final appointment.

We were discussing the huge disparity between my linguistic achievements and the lack thereof in math. I had always thought I had some sort of neglected math disability, so it came as a shock when she said I can grasp math concepts just as well as anyone else.

No math disability. It all lay in my working memory and processing speed. A huge part of why I had, and sometimes still have, such a hard time reading and writing.

Yet, math was not prioritized in the same way reading and writing was, despite the fact I struggled so hard.

What could have happened if math was treated with the same level of care as reading and writing? Why was it missed?

The doctor summed it up perfectly when she said with her signature dry humor, “You’re a girl. Girls aren’t supposed to be good at math.”

A picture of a kindergarten aged girl - yours truely.

I was a cute kid. Wonder what happened.

The meaning behind that sentiment rings true. I was a girl, and our culture tells us girls just aren’t good at math. Reading and writing are more culturally fitting. All the more reason to concentrate on that.

Girls are supposed to be quiet and day-dreamy. So when my attention drifted elsewhere, it was just me being a girl. It wasn’t me being a child in need of help harnessing their focus.

Had I been a boy, would my day-dreaming have been a cue for extra help early on? Would an interest in math and science have been nurtured more? Would I have been taught to better focus on what’s at hand?

To say nothing of the emotional trauma I’d gone through at that age. Would the lack of pressure to conform to “lady-like” standards have allowed me to clue adults in to my suffering?

How many closed doors would be open now?

Would I have gone into medicine, as I dreamed of back in middle school? Maybe I could be well on my way to curing cancer or asthma.

Would I have gone into environmental science? Maybe I’d be the one to find a solution to the energy crisis.

Could I have gone into an entirely different route to build a career business? Maybe I could have helped make the business world more accepting of those with disabilities.

I don’t know, but in many ways, I feel cheated. I feel cheated out of what could have been.

I also feel guilty for feeling angry. When I was in school, LD wasn’t as well known as it was today.

Most adults who guided me through childhood did the best they could with what information they had at hand. How could I be angry with them?

I’m angry at the system. I’m angry at the centuries of sexism and bigotry that have shaped the uglier sides of our world.

Things could have gone so much differently for me, and so many other girls just like me. Maybe it would have been better. Maybe it would have been worse. I don’t know, but I do know that lost potential makes me sad.

At least now I can channel all that hurt and rage into something more productive. If we don’t change our world for the better, who will?

Adventures in Adult LD Testing: THE RESULTS

Yesterday, I finally got the results of all this testing. It’s hard to believe it’s taken over four months to get this taken care of. I’m still waiting on the report itself, since the doctor’s typist is on vacation.

Of course.

Anyway, there were quite a few interesting results.

An illustrated version of a woman labeled "education" examining a boy with a magnifying glass labeled "Intelligence Tests", titled The New Method. A smaller picture of kids being shoveled into pots labeled "Class A, B, C" titled "The Old Method"

The 1922 cover of the American School Board Journal, now in the public domain.

IQ Test
My overall score turned out to be in the average/above average range. Good to know, but that’s not the interesting part.

IQ tests are broken down into sections, and I had a huge disparity between two of them.

My language skills scores were up in the 96-98th percentile, which means my scores were “highly superior”. My general knowledge scores were, as she put it, “merely superior”.

General math, though? Yeah, that was the polar opposite. I was down somewhere in the 20th percentile. That would sting if I didn’t already know how terrible I am with math.

My spacial reasoning, which also has to do with certain math skills, was in the low average range. That probably explains why I have so much trouble with getting sizing right when I make clothing and constantly slam my knee into the corner of our coffee table.

The bruises. So many bruises.

Anyway, I scored in the average range in the other sections. Strangely enough, I’m average with math reasoning and theories. I just come crashing down when it comes to doing the actual math.

The unique part about all of this is that only about %.04 of the population have similar disparities in scores. Most people naturally have strengths and weaknesses, but they’re rarely as pronounced as mine are.

ADHD-I (Sluggish Cognitive Function)
I was surprised at this one, but the more I research it, the better it fits.

Sluggish Cognitive Function not only makes me sound like a defective metronome, but it’s also a debated disorder. Although the term has been around for 30 years, it’s only hit mainstream documentation within the last 5 years or so. Since the medical profession likes to argue over terminology and classification, there’s no consensus of whether it’s a subtype of ADHD-I or an independent disorder.

For those not in the know, ADHD-I is basically just ADHD without the hyperactivity. It used to be known as ADD before it was consolidated in the DSM.

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo further specifies the weaknesses in function. This means that my processing speed is incredibly slow. That makes it harder for me to focus on individual subjects for long, and manifests heavily in my attempts at math.

That huge disparity between language strength and math weakness also plays into it. I would naturally rather focus more on things I’m interested in or generally good at.

SCT also seems to make people with it very tired. I’m often sleepy during the day, but I usually just dismissed it as my diet not being as good as it should be. I hadn’t thought my neurology could have something to do with it, too.

Ah, justification to go to bed early and sleep in when I can!

NonVerbal Learning Disability (LD-NOS)
My working memory is absolutely terrible. I knew that already, but it’s nice to have it validated. I literally can’t hold more than two or three things in my mind, and needing to manipulate those things makes it worse.

In my case, it also applies to the poor spacial awareness. I’ll probably always have left-right confusion, have massive problems reading maps and putting jigsaw puzzles together.

While I’ve never had huge issues in making friends or getting along with people, I still have trouble with subtle emotional cues. That’s probably why I’ve never really noticed when people flirt with me or realize when people gossip.

The obliviousness to flirting has gotten me in trouble with angering guys on the street who think I’m leading them on, when I thought they were just conversing with me. The gossip bit is a sort of blessing in disguise. It used to hurt when I found out about it, but now I just don’t care.

I also scored low on automatic memory, as well. It’s like how when people drive, they get to the point where they have a routine they follow without thinking about it: get in the car, put on seat belt, use blinker for turns, etc. I have a much harder time with that process.

All of that combined with the slow processing speed has earned me this new label.

Apparently, I’m now highly enough compensated that I no longer test as dyslexic. However, I still am. I still experience reversals and related dyslexic struggles, but I know how to deal with them more efficiently.

I also wonder if that non-verbal disability is an unacknowledged part of my dyslexia. In school, everyone only concentrated my reading/writing skills, but everything else went by the wayside. Naturally, I continued on with concentrating on language, which continued to build those skills.

What Does It Mean?
As far as school accommodations go, I’ll qualify for extended testing times and I may be able to substitute other classes for math. I don’t know how that’ll work, but I’ll ask about it. My doctor also suggested I should be allowed to use a calculator instead of trying to keep numbers in my head.

Considering I’m going back to school for language arts, I’m not entirely sure of why I’d need many math courses.

These new labels may also help me find ways of making my every day life easier, while doing a better job of reaching for my dreams.

The doctor mentioned that SCT has responded to ADHD drugs in studies, but I won’t be taking that route. My body tends to react unpredictably to many types of medications, and I’d rather not risk a severe reaction to those. ADHD can’t kill me, so why medicate it when there are other available options?

Instead, I’ll be working on some more lifestyle changes to help with focus, and I’m planning on researching behavioral therapy.

I haven’t researched LD-NOS a whole lot, yet, but that will be happening as well.

This whole process has taken a lot longer than I’d hoped, but I’m glad I’ve gone through it. It should help with school, but finding related tools will help me better my life, too.

In the end, isn’t that greater understanding of self the real goal of this testing? School is vital for building a better life, but it’s only part of it. Education goes far further than tests, lectures and grades.

Why is it so hard to just say no?

I think one of the hardest things to do as an adult is say “no”.

It’s easy for toddlers and young kids, because they haven’t been conditioned to please other people just yet. Young toddlers in particular are still learning how to care what others think about them.

Most adults, women especially, have been conditioned to make life easier for other people and get approval from them. If you listen to the beauty industry, we’re expected to appeal to complete strangers by staying young and meeting some unattainable version of “perfect”.

When you bring any form of disability, neurodivergence or chronic illness into the picture, things get more complicated.

Part of advocating for ourselves is saying “no” to things.

Do you have a food allergy? You need to decline certain meals cooked by friends, family or co-workers.

Disease triggers? There are certain tasks you just can’t do when triggers are unavoidable in doing them.

Executive functioning challenges? Well, unless you want to put up with huge amounts of frustration and potential unfair punishment, it’s just easier to avoid some tasks.

In my case, I avoid working with numbers or words when under high pressure situations. It’s not a matter of being down on myself so much as knowing myself. There may be some tasks I can’t avoid, but the ones I can without any real repercussions, I do.

I also have asthma, which knocks out tasks that involve a lot of cleaning chemicals or dust. I make my own cleaners at home, or use the mildest ones I can find. I also wear a dust mask when I clean to further cut down on my triggers.

There are certain jobs, however, that I will not do, because the risk of a serious asthma attack is too high. Why risk my health when there are alternatives?

Three bottoles of essential oils, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil and Eucalyptus Oil, sitting in front of a floral box full of more bottles.

From my article, The Green Spring Cleaning Shopping List. I still use essential oils as part of my cleaning routine.

Over the years, I’ve gotten good at saying “no” or finding alternatives.

I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m trying to contribute as best I can without killing myself in the process.

Not everyone realizes that, though. Even when I explain my motives and the ways I’m willing to help out otherwise, I still sometimes get stuck with the labels of “lazy” or “insecure”. In their ignorance and frustration, some people refuse to entertain the idea that chronic illness and neurodivergence limits what I can do.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one this happens to. My current situation isn’t too bad, so far, since most of my co-workers accept my limits and see how hard I work otherwise.

That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes feel guilty about it. There have been many times I’ve wanted to effortlessly do what others can. It comes with the territory of being different. Whenever possible, I assume other people’s’ tasks in exchange for them doing what I can’t.

As the world stands now, we still need to advocate for ourselves in almost every aspect of our lives. I know understanding comes more easily than it did just a decade ago, but it’s still a hurdle everyone who thinks or lives differently must overcome every day.

Summer plans!

It looks like my summer is really taking off.

Next week, I get the results of my LD testing, and I just found out that I’ve been accepted to both panels I volunteered for during my Convention in early July!

One is about being a long time, and now older fan of things generally seen as exclusively for kids, but the other is about neurodiversity and how there’s nothing wrong with having a different type of brain.

The title is “Exploring Neurodiversity: The New Frontier“.

Oh, yes. I am so excited about this one. It’s like it was custom made for me.

The next week, I’ll be taking time off for a hiking trip with the hubby. Obviously, there will be no AbilityChat that week.

A streem relfecting the blue sky, surrounded by lush grasses and trees.

This scenery is why we sacrifice ourselves to the bugs almost every year.

Then, of course, in August, I’ll be returning to school.

There has also been a development on the job front that I need to take some time to think about. I have a pretty big decision to make that could heavily impact my school plans. It’s not something I can talk about just yet, but just know it’s not a bad thing.

All of that said, thanks so much to my readers for bearing with me through the inconsistent posting and all that. Here’s hoping you’re all doing well!

Is Candy Waters’s Art a Scam?

Title image - Dark blue background with the following words in a lighter blue font "Is Candy Waters's Art a Scam?"

A few months ago, I made the mistake of sharing an article about Candy Waters. She’s a young, nonverbal girl with autism who expresses herself through paintings, which her parents then sell prints of online.

I say it’s a mistake, because I’ve gotten a few messages from people who believe the paintings sold aren’t really being done by her. So, I’ve been slowly making my way through what I could find.

Because dyslexia slows my reading down and I’ve been juggling things in my personal life, I haven’t been able to dedicate a whole lot of energy to this until recently.

I had liked Candy’s Facebook page shortly after discovering the initial article I’d and unliked it shortly thereafter. At the time, it had strictly been used to publicize the Zazzle store selling Candy’s prints. Since there’s no point to scrolling through the spam on my feed, I moved on.

I’ll freely admit that I’m no social media maven, but that page was exceptionally poorly run. To be fair to the Waters, it takes a while to get those skills down. To be fair to me, I have finite energy to spend on looking at ads.

Around the same time, the author of the Candy Waters Autism Art – SCAM? blog contacted me. That’s when I started to wonder about the art’s validity.

There is speculation that Candy didn’t actually make the pictures herself, with opinions from various professionals to back it up. After looking at the linked videos, and reading the responses from her parents, I can see value in the skepticism.

On the other hand, the only videos I’ve seen were over a year old. If I’ve learned anything from my friends with autism and those who have kiddos on the spectrum, it’s that folks with ASD build upon their skills, just as alistic folks do.

Could she have made some of the paintings? Maybe. Did she make all of them? I have my doubts.

Her parents have recently begun posting pictures of her painting, perhaps in an attempt to verify authenticity. It’s also important to remember how easy it is to generate deceptive photos. When I used to sell my handmade goodies online, I learned quite a bit about how much of a difference posing makes in selling a product.

The same goes for photos “proving” validity.

What Bothers Me the Most

The worst thing I’ve seen is how her parents have been conducting themselves. Once I checked into various links and posts, I’ve seen them do the following:

  • Threaten legal action against people pushing for proof of validity
  • Expose personal information of those who don’t believe their claims
  • Pose as doctors

There are more than enough personal accounts of them harassing those who comment on the linked blog or ask questions that I no longer doubt they cope with requests for verification through bullying and intimidation.

I also find it incredibly troubling that they seem to be doing the same thing with their son’s art, now. They’ve even set a Zazzle page up for him.

Would I go so far as to call them a scam? I don’t know for certain. They could be, but there’s not enough evidence for me to go quite that far, yet.

Whether they’re a scam or not, the parents’ conduct has completely turned me off from giving them any sort of support, which is why I’m not linking to any of their pages. They have been engaging in what at best are questionable practices. At worst, they’re damaging the hard work real autism advocates are doing.

Bear in mind, these are my personal opinions. I’m not trying to convince anyone else of which actions to take, but I do feel as if I should share my thoughts.

I encourage each of you to look at both sides of the story and come up with your own conclusions.

Failure is the Key to Success

Years ago, one of my sisters gave me a pretty little notebook. It’s come with me through a few moves, and I’ve gradually collected quotes within it for inspiration.

Today, I opened it to the last page to see if I could find a quote to fit what I had in mind for today’s entry.

An unlined notebook page with blue flowers and handwriting on it.

These quotes are from the book, The Art Of Peace, by Morihei Ueshiba.

The first quote jumped right out at me.

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba

Ordinarily, I look at this quote and see it applied to individual people. It’s hard to keep going once you’ve failed at something, especially when everyone else seems to do it easily.

Today, I looked at it and thought of adults relating to kids with learning differences.

The school year is winding down, and it’s a time of relief and celebration for most families. For others, those final grades and news of summer school or grade repetition can be devastating.

Homeschooling isn’t always an option and the fight to get a school district to pay for specialized private schooling can be prohibitively expensive, too. When it seems the only choice left is to stick with a school that doesn’t fit the kids, it’s hard not to just give up.

It can also be hard not to blame the struggling student.

At this point, it’s a good idea to take a step back, and distract everyone from that particular issue in favor of something more pleasant long enough to calm down. Then, look back to try seeing what went wrong the year before.

Which areas did the student do well in? Which ones did they struggle in? How can you incorporate the student’s strengths into the areas they struggle with?

Were there behavioral patterns in relation to life events or classes? How can you improve coping mechanisms?

Like most adults with LD, I’ve done a lot of failing in my life. I’ve done my fair share of giving up, too.

Over the years, I’ve learned to look at failure as a checkpoint in life. It’s a sign that something obviously wasn’t working, and that if I want to succeed, I need to figure out what went wrong. If I can pinpoint that, I can then make adjustments and give it another try.

When I was working as a tutor, I tried to keep that philosophy in mind when I was helping struggling students. They’re under a great deal of pressure and may be nearing the ends of their ropes, but it was my job to help them through the rough patch and help them learn the skills needed to pass whatever course they were taking.

It seems to me that the same applies to younger students as well.

Instead of giving up on these struggling kids when they fail at something, use it as a lesson for yourself and them.

Failure’s not an ending; it’s just a detour.

Yes, Every Day Ableism is a Thing

I stumbled across the Everyday Sexism Project a while ago. The project highlights the sexism that people, primarily women, experience every day.

I thought of it last week, or the one before, in relation to ableism, or discrimination against disability, when something happened at my retail job.

A modern cash register with a retail clothing store in the background.

Via Bella Ella Boutique, [CC BY 2.0]

Dyslexia Means I Stay AWAY From Cash Registers
One of the cashiers has made it her mission to get me trained in on the register. I’ve told her repeatedly that no, I’m not interested. Yes, I have run registers in the past and it never ended well because of my LD.

No, I’m not selling myself short. Yes, I CAN learn, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t end poorly at this job. I work better on the floor, helping customers find what they need.

NO. I do NOT want to be trained in on the new system to make YOUR life easier.

It’s gotten frustrating enough that I actively avoid her, because it’s obvious she won’t listen.

Since getting more conscious of the way language can be used to discriminate via insults, I’ve gotten a little more sensitive to the other forms of ableism that happens every day.

When it comes to disability, it also happens differently, depending on which type of functioning is effected in your life. For me, it’s mostly learning based. Some people automatically assume I’m stupid when they find out I’m neurodivergent.

Others use that bit of information to compound attacks on my gender.

Chronic Illness Counts, Too
It also applies to chronic illness. I’m asthmatic, and I have a hard time finding medication for certain things that doesn’t have severe side effects.

Allergy medication is a good example. The ones that work all have debilitating side effects. One causes chronic migraines, another triggered a severe asthma attack and the one I take as a last resort knocks me out at a half dose. Full doses leave me completely useless the next day, regardless of how early I take it the day before.

So, I’ve turned to nettle tea. It fights allergy by prompting the body to create a very mild antihistamine reaction. Herbology lesson time!

Nettle stings when you brush up against it, because the little hairs on the leaves and stems deliver histamine into your skin. Your immune system then creates antihistamines, which is why you welt up.

When the leaves are dried, the hairs fall out, but traces of histamine stays in the leaves. Brewing it into tea dilutes the histamine, and the natural reaction is mild enough in most people to counteract the histamine response that causes allergies. Although that plant has been used for centuries, our country hasn’t done much study on it, or many other herbs. Some initial studies have been promising.

(This affiliate link is the exact stuff I’ve been using. Allergies have gotten so much better.)

It’s worked for me, but certain parties feel the need to rip me down when I share what works for me with them. Western medication is an absolute last resort for me, especially when it can be so unpredictable and potentially deadly.

That fierce attack on how I manage my health is a form of ableism. Not everyone can safely rely on the options western medication has to offer. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who must rely on it to live. They also get accused of all sorts of terrible things.

The saddest part is, I know I’m not alone in these experiences. That’s why I want to talk about it. It must be discussed.

Adventures in Adult LD Testing: Part 6

Yesterday, I was finally able to get my last round of LD testing out of the way. Over the course of two and a half hours, I completed a test called the Academic Achievement test.

This one concentrated primarily on dyslexia, but there were one or two sections involving a little bit of math.

A spelling test with incorrect answers.

Not my test, but pretty close to how I spelled when I was a kid. by elginwx, via flickr

Spelling Test
Do you remember those spelling tests from elementary school? You know, the ones where the teacher read the words aloud, used them in a sentence and then said them again?

Yeah, those lovely things.

That was one of the first sub-tests in this larger series of tests. She started out with simple words, like “foot” and “scene”, and they got longer as it progressed. I know I got creative spelling the common, longer words, because I just couldn’t remember the correct spelling.

I’m a little nervous that I did a little too well on that, ironically enough.

Fill in the Blank
There was also a lot of fill in the blank involved. Some questions were looking for single words, while others looked for entire sentences. I had a much harder time with single words than sentences, because it’s so much easier for me to string ideas together instead of concentrating them to one word.

Interestingly, those types of questions were used in separate oral and written sub-tests. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Word Recall
There were yet more requests to name objects on a page. I’m sure it was done to measure consistency, but it still feels like overkill, since that was done in the last session, too. I’d have to go back to see if it was done in the first one as well, but I have the feeling it was.

She also had me read words and then name either their synonyms or antonyms. That was surprisingly difficult in some cases.

I knew what the word was. I knew what she was looking for, but I just couldn’t pull the answer from my brain. It was so frustrating.

Socks are to Feet, as Gloves are to __________
For the life of me, I can’t remember what those types of questions are called. Relational?

Anyway, there was a test dedicated to questions like that. She’d show me two related words, then ask me to finish the next set of related words. That one was a little challenging in that the relationships were obvious, but I kept wanting to give obscure answers, because so many meanings came to mind.

Best. #Socks. Ever. I want more! #glowinthedark Could probably use new slip on shoes like these.

A photo posted by Emilie Peck (@peckemilie) on

There was also a long set of true/false questions. I have the feeling it was a way of testing my reading speed, and as the questions got longer, I had to slow down a lot.

They like trying to trick you with these things, and that makes the questions so hard to understand sometimes. I know that’s the point, of course, but it wasn’t fun to endure. At this point, I was flashing back to the standardized tests I took in high school.

I’m sure those were done by Pearson, but these were done by a different company. However, the IQ test I was given at the beginning was a Pearson test.

Story time!
I laughed a little at this one, because a couple of the tests actually used an old tape player and cassette. My doctor is a little older, so she doesn’t have the grip on technology that maybe a younger doctor would, so she used a lower tech instruments.

The tests are the same as the ones given on computers, but it was so funny seeing her pull out that old tape and play it.

Anyway, there were a couple of different story-related tests. The one on the tape tested my memory and attention, such as it is.

She’d play stories, and have me repeat them back to her. Of course, the short ones were easy, but the longer ones just lost me almost completely. I’d get, I don’t know, a half? Maybe a third? Of the main points.

And I’m pretty sure THIS is where I’d need accommodation. Lectures are just not for me, but they’re still one of the most popular teaching methods used today.

After we’d moved through a couple more sub-tests, she brought those stories up again and asked me to recite what I remembered from them when she read the first few words back to me.

I feel like I gave the same answers, but I don’t know if I really did.

The other story-related test was where I had to write sentences or short stories based on pictures, using a few pre-selected words. I was writing by hand, which really reminded me of why I’m so grateful for keyboards.

I make a good number of mistakes typing, but I make so many more writing by hand. I caught myself leaving out letters, and I have no idea what other mistakes got made. I’m pretty sure I was able to keep my handwriting mostly legible, at least.

Instruction Following
The last test I recall involved following oral instruction. This one also involved that cassette player. She showed me a picture, and the recorded voice would tell me to point at different things in said picture.

Like the rest of these sub-tests, it started out simply and got progressively more complicated.

“Point to the cat nearest to the boy and then the clock, but only after pointing at the dog that is not the largest dog.”

“If the TV is on, point to the picture on the left wall before pointing to the lamp. If it is not, point at the rug and the cat on the sofa.”

It got weirdly difficult to keep up with. He wasn’t asking me to solve for pi to the thousandth degree. He was just asking me to point at things on the picture.

If I didn’t know that was purposefully complicated, I’d feel a lot worse about myself than I did after leaving.

The final test was asking me to identify math symbols and solve a few math problems. Blech.

Overall, I wasn’t nearly as wiped out from this round of testing as I had been the others. Despite my problems with spelling and whatnot, I’m a lot more comfortable with words and language than math.

Regardless of what happens from here, I’m just glad the testing is over. I don’t know what she’ll find, but I’m sure there will be something. If all goes according to plan, I’ll find out on June 8th.

As for now, I’m off to keep on with the other areas of my life!

A selfie of a woman wearing sunglasses, a TMNT sweatshirt and leather jacket showing a peace sign.