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Blog #1: Are You Invisible?

Updated: May 17, 2023

Did you know that over 5 million individuals in the United States have some form or learning disability (LD) or dyslexia? Are you one of those folks? If so, I bet that at least once in your life, you've felt invisible to others. That's because your disability is hidden to those around you. Just because you look "normal", people don't understand you. For instance, maybe you can't read as quickly as they do, always don't remember what you hear, can't follow directions exactly, or easily organize your everyday life. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with you, it just means you have a learning disability or dyslexia. The information described below will help you crack that code of "invisibility".......




First, let's look at the definition for invisibility talked about in Episode 1: "Invisible means something that cannot be seen OR someone who is ignored and treated as if he is not seen. . . "

(Webster's New World College Dictionary, 5th Ed, 2014).


Second, here's some examples of feeling invisible because you have LD or dyslexia: a) not being able to follow multi-step directions at work; b) feeling left out at social gatherings because you can't always follow the conversation or don't get the jokes; c) always having to study extra hard to keep up in class; d) can't gather your thoughts to clearly express what you want to say to your family or friends; e) no matter how hard you try, you can't organize your desk or backpack; or e) always picked as the last person for team projects or sports.


 

Tips and Tricks from Episode 1

TIP #1: EXPLORE YOUR INVISIBILITY

  • Trick 1: Self Observation Sample: Try this for three days. Day One: Think about the material you heard in this podcast and see how it applies to you. For instance, you can write down 2 or 3 phrases/settings where you feel invisible (examples: learning new software at work, overwhelmed by written tests and readings at school, taking tennis lessons, etc.). Day Two: Check the phrases and add or edit as needed. Day Three: Observe yourself in those two or three situations or settings. Watch yourself "being invisible". Describe it for yourself. How does it feel? How does it look?



TIP #2: STEP OUT OF THE SHADOWS

  • Trick 2: Sample Object Sample: Find an object that tells someone about who you are. I use a piece of jewelry shaped like a Mardi Gras mask because it illustrates my hobby and shows my sense of humor, fun, and enjoyment of being with others. You could use a favorite photo, a selfie, keychain or car keys, a souvenir of a special trip, family jewelry, a piece of clothing, a membership card, a Facebook or Twitter entry, etc. What do you want your object to say about you? Share it with others and ask them to do the same for you.....



TIP #3: LOOK FOR PATTERNS

  • Trick 3: Personal Timeline Sample: Draw a straight, horizontal line across the page and put a vertical line at the beginning (Birth) and end (Death). Then put lines in between for various important events in your life (e.g., K-8 or 9-12 education, college, marriage, different jobs, births of your children, move to different parts of the country, favorite trips, special events, illness, loss of family members or friends, awards, hobbies, etc.)


  • Trick 4: Journal, journal, journal: Start a journal about what you've learned from each Podcast that applies specifically to your life as an adult with LD or dyslexia. Illustrate it with pictures, activities you've completed, new insights, photos, and so forth. See your progress come to life as you become more and more visible.....



 

Articles, Links, and Resources:

These are some of the best materials that I've found to help you think about your invisibility. (If you find others, please let me know, so I can share them with others.)


 


TRANSITION CONNECTION:

When was the last time you felt invisible? Although we all feel that way sometime in our lives, people with learning disabilities (LD) and dyslexia have told me that this is a common occurrence. In fact, living everyday with your LD often throws up barriers when you least expect them. For instance, maybe you can't pass the written test for your driver's license because you can't read the exam. Or maybe, you receive a poor job evaluation because you can't do the paperwork correctly. Nobody gets that you're trying as hard as you can. You truly feel invisible because no one seems to understand you or your LD.

Such disconnection with others can feed other problems as well. Psychcentral (2021) says that feelings of invisibility take a long-term toll on your life. For instance, they explain, "Regularly feeling overlooked or rejected can lead to. . . . feelings of: anger, envy, shame, and sadness. It can also affect your attitude toward relationships, making it more difficult to connect with others [and leading to] emotional exhaustion." Such feelings may encourage you to be more isolated from others, with feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation. They will also feed into serious mental health issues, stress, and anxiety.


TRANSITION ACTIVITY

Ask a friend, family member, trusted teacher, or parent, the following questions:

  • What does invisibility mean to you?

  • Have you ever been invisible before?

  • What did it feel like?

  • Why do you think you were invisible in that situation?

  • What did you do about it?

  • What would you do differently?

Now, compare those responses to how you feel about your own invisibility and your own LD. Add this information to your journal.



Copyright Lynda Price, 2023©

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