Thoughts of an NLD Adult

By Al Vadon

           During this summer, I have been teaching a six-week course in Reading Improvement at a university.  I am teaching students who did not pass their reading test when they were admitted.  The Reading Improvement class consists of students who just missed passing the reading test required to take regular classes.  I am an adjunct professor at the university after having received my master's degree in reading specialization, with an emphasis in adult literacy.  In addition to teaching the class, I am a supplemental instructor for a class in Basic Skills, which is a class for students who are reading at levels well below those needed to be successful in college.    My job duties this summer also include tutoring students in reading and writing, and running the reading lab at the Learning Assistance Center on campus.  The Learning Assistance Center is shorthanded when it comes to tutors, and so I am trying to help out, especially since the head of the center gave me the opportunity to design and teach a class on inferences last semester.  With the inference class, I was trying to help students successfully pass their reading test.  Recently, the head of the Learning Assistance Center wrote a memorandum addressed to me about the wonderful work I was doing, and that I was a "great teacher".  She submitted this letter to my chairperson and to the head of the developmental reading program.  It was such a thrill to feel like my work and effort is being appreciated.  Hopefully, my work at this university will lead to other opportunities.  I am scheduled to teach two Reading Improvement classes in the fall, and the Learning Assistance Center wants me to work as a tutor again.  Since I am an adjunct professor, the pay is not great, but I really enjoy teaching and helping students.  It is an honor to have this opportunity.  I think that teaching adults really fits my strengths, and is something I can do successfully.  Also, I am hoping to make a difference in some of these students' lives.  Personally, I believe that it is important to help others, and try to make a difference in this world.

            In addition to teaching and tutoring at the university, I have also been learning my mother's rental business.  This is something that I can eventually do on my own.  Actually, the rental business is something that could produce a steady income for me, but I really love to teach and work with students.  I hope that eventually I can be financially independent through my teaching and the rental business, and I will continue to work on accomplishing this goal.  I am learning that I need to be patient with myself because I do have a learning disability, and that it takes time to put things together.  Vivian, one of the members of our NLD list and a true friend, helped me to realize this in one of her e-mails to me.  I am very appreciative of her advice, and thank her for it.  Even though I have worked hard my entire life and have two master's degrees, life has been a struggle.  I am just very fortunate to have the support of my parents, especially my mother.

            My advice to parents is to have patience with your NLD children, and show support for them.  Try to encourage them to do things that emphasize their strengths, and enable them to build confidence in their abilities.  I honestly believe that all NLD individuals can be successful if given an opportunity, and if placed in the right circumstances.  There are many successful NLD adults, at least in my eyes, even though they may not always think of themselves in this manner.

            In terms of my fellow NLD adults, I want to thank them for being there for me during these last few years, and I consider you to be my friends.  I am thankful for your kindness and support.  You all have made a difference in my life by showing me that NLD individuals have many wonderful strengths and abilities.  You should all be very proud of all your wonderful accomplishments.  Again, thank you.