Trying to fit into the academic mainstream really got difficult by the time Kate Davis hit Grade 4.
“I was kind of struggling overall in school,” the now 25-year-old University of Windsor student said. “Struggling to keep up with the other kids, to read at the same level, to write at the same level.
As I got older, even though I had accommodations, I still wasn’t able to make the same gains as other students.”
Davis was diagnosed with a learning disability and eventually with inattentive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
While she had a great many understanding and supportive teachers through grade school and high school, not all of them grasped that a learning disability or ADHD “does not impact IQ.”
Her sense of self-esteem and self-worth took a beating to the point where she was struggling with mental health issues by the time she was in Grade 11 at Kingsville District High School.
“I had very high anxiety,” Davis said.
Teenage peers can be insensitive and cruel to anyone perceived as different.
“Teenagers can be rough whether you have a diagnosis or not,” Davis said. “And having a diagnosis can be isolating. You can feel as though no one else understands the way that you learn.”
Davis got help and much-needed support from the Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor-Essex County. She began to advocate for herself at school and is extremely grateful to all the teachers who stayed back to explain a classroom assignment to her a second or third time.