I remember having an intelligence test as a child because doctors needed to work out whether I was mentally retarded or not. It’s only now that I understand why I had the test. I now know the test I should have been given was a standardized intelligence and standardized adaptive skills test, based on my individual needs. The test I had was more like a standard school entrance test for three year olds.
The consultant advised my father the test wasn’t a true measure of whether I could learn and asked that my father report back so that if he had any concerns about my education, those concerns could be addressed by the relevant authorities.
At that point I didn’t understand what was wrong with me or what I had, so I assumed that’s what my father would do, for the issue of my education to be kept current, so that doctors could keep a watchful eye on me, so that I didn’t slip through the net. That didn’t happen.
As we go through adolescence and through our school years, we begin to learn about ourselves as we grow, both mentally and physically. We become more aware of life and what goes on around us. We begin to understand our strengths and weakness, what we excel in and what we like to do.
It was into my thirties that I became aware of my intuition and that opened a whole new chapter and world I didn’t know existed. Although I found a different way to learn, I still have an immaturity about me emotionally, it’s not always obvious but it’s there. I know that with help I would have understood more about my disability through my school years and how I presented with extra support around my learning both in and out of school.
With a disability, our ability to learn, grow and mature doesn’t happen in the same way and it was no exception for me. Over the years, I struggled to learn, to grow and mature. As I look back on my life to this point, through my added education and accomplishments, like Kate Winslet, who was also written off, I have proved my critics wrong.