What every parent of a kid with learning issues needs to hear

This blog post is dedicated to every parent or ally of a kid with a disability who didn’t think their advocacy was working.  Watch the video or read the transcript below.


Watch the video here!

The schools oftentimes told my  parents that Catholic school was not for me, that it wasn’t a place that I belonged and that they only served the “typical” kids. And the one story that I really wanted to share with you was when I first got diagnosed, the schools kinda tried to push me out. My mom tried to educate them about what a learning disability was.

And so she called up Cal at the time, and they had a disability office. And they specifically had a program for students who had LD. And she got a letter from the school and presented it to the teachers and said, “Look at  this! You think she’s only gonna fry French fries. I think that  was your exact term, McDonalds.”

So she said, “She’s only gonna work there,” which by the way, if they increase the minimum wage, that would be awesome. [ laughs ] You wouldn’t have any loans. And showed that letter to the teachers. And the teachers just kind of ignored it, and it didn’t really work.

But she folded it up and put it in the drawer next to my savings bonds from my first Communion and a lot of other really important things like my Social Security card. And it sat there, and for me, even though it didn’t help with the teacher, it helped that I saw her actually do that.

And I eventually went to Cal, and I think it was a big part because I knew that that was a school that they had accommodations.

And so sometimes the interventions and the activism and the advocacy that you do as  a parent, it may not work on the person that you’re trying to direct it at. But it may work because of the impact on your kid.

#activism #advocacy #specialed #catholicschool #disability #dyslexia


Stuttering Authentically

Stuttering Authentically is the first of many videos that you will see on this blog.  Check out the video with the transcript below.  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on the youtube video!  Thanks for checking this out!


Watch the video: Stuttering Authentically

I was in speech till I was in high school. 4% of the childhood population stutters, and 1% of the adult population does. And that could, in part, be because of spontaneous recovery.

Now, if you are a girl who stutters, and it’s a ratio is for every 4 stutterers, only 1 is a female, which makes your odds at a stuttering conference very good, if you’re a straight woman.  But if you stutter and have a learning disability and you’re a girl, you’re not less likely to not stutter as an adult. So you’re probably going to stutter. And that’s all stuff in the brain.

Now, the strategies that I learned to control my speech or to manage my speech [draws out words really long] were to talk like this and prolong my words. I didn’t stutter, but was that interesting, was that fun? No. That wasn’t fun for any of us.

And so for some people, it works. For some people who may stutter “covertly,” they may talk around their stutter.  For me, with dyslexia, I come up with like two words or three words for the word that I’m going to stutter on, and likely that third word is probably a vulgar word. So I can’t use that in the workplace.

Our authentic selves, and no matter who you are, whether you stutter or not, it’s really important to be your most authentic self and do that whichever way that is.

Sometimes, our society wants you to act a certain way, and especially in academia, I’ve always found you know, this is how I talk, the way that I spoke this evening.

This didn’t work that good when I was talking a psychology class in my doctorate program, when I was like, “You know what? Freud hella sucks!”

And they’re like, “She said that. Why’d she say it like that.”

[audience laughs]

But it’s really important for you to stay authentic to who you are. And for me, part of that is speaking the way I do.

MAN: Absolutely. Thank you.

NINA: Thanks.


The Ted Talk Donald Trump Doesn’t Want You To See!

Donald Trump Campaigns In Fort Lauderdale

Ok, I lied!  I thought if it worked for overseas fake news outlets that it might work to tell you about my Tedx Talk in honor of Anti-bullying week.  So many times we tell kids and adults, “don’t bully” but what about when you witness something?  It is just as important to not be complacent in bullying as it is not to bully.  My Tedx Talk, The Everyday Ally, explores what it meant for me when I was bullied or discriminated against and what people did to be on my side.  Even doing small things when you witness something can make someone feel less alone.

Check out the video HERE!


#bullying  #antibullying #disability #stuttering