Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Learning disability awareness

Claire sc
A student looks down at their desk with a confused expression while jumbled letters float around.

William McKinley, sophomore, looks down at the test and his focus begins leaning towards everything else. He takes a deep breath, refocuses and begins. 

William suffers from ADHD and dyslexia. William says his experience with these disabilities is that he usually gets words mixed up. This experience has caused him to have challenges in his schoolwork. 

“A challenge I faced was when we had to do a whole packet at the end of the day, and I was already so tired,” William said. “I handled it by taking breaks in between.” 

William said to manage deadlines, he tries firmly to “put first things first and last things last.” William puts a lot of work into overcoming challenges that come with learning disabilities. 

“I [try] to read [often] and practice my writing [skills], so that helps [tremendously],” William said. I also [try] to use Grammarly to check my spelling and proofread my writing before I submit.”

William believes he’s fortunate that his learning disabilities aren’t as terrible as they could be. He is able to work hard even with his disabilities. 

“My ADHD and dyslexia do affect me working in teams, and my ADHD and dyslexia do not make me that distracted, so I just listen a lot.” 

“I remember this one time in 5th grade before I was diagnosed that we were doing a spelling game,” Gweneth said.

“Our team needed more people, so I had to go twice. I thought I was dumb or stupid because all the other kids could do it [no problem]. On the other hand, I was struggling and could feel everybody noticing. What I did was that I tried my best, and [I] pushed through.”

— Gwyneth Mckinley

He says whenever he needs to focus, he tries to make sure he’s as prepared as possible. There are two main ways he tries to accomplish this. 

“[I try to] eat a full breakfast and email my teachers [whenever I need] help.” 

Williams’ younger sister, Gwyneth, struggles with dyslexia as well as dysgraphia. Although in the beginning, Gwyneth felt like her learning disability was a considerable disadvantage, she has now learned some strategies to overcome it.

“Dyslexia impacted my learning style by making me feel like I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed,” Gwyneth said. “[The] most effective thing I use in my school [is the] learning lab we have for people with learning challenges. [In the lab] we learn test-taking [strategies] [to prepare us better] for success.” 

Even though she is working on overcoming her learning disabilities, Gwyneth still faces challenges, especially in school. Most of these challenges have to do with spelling.

Though Gwyneth faces challenges, she maintains steady grades in her classes through hard work. For people with dyslexia, working in teams can be difficult, especially if the group project involves writing. 

“I can meet deadlines on my own. However, I’m a visual learner, and if I [don’t] see it, I don’t remember [it]. It’s like the quote: “out of state, out of mind.” “It’s hard for me to help out in group projects. I remember this one time I had to memorize a quote for a fake commercial. I kept messing up at the end and didn’t want to tell the girls I was working with that I had dyslexia because I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I honestly thought of telling them, but I held it in [because] the girls I was working with were pretty toxic. [As a] result, I let someone else do it and just did a voiceover with the lines in hand.”

“[Often] it’s hard for me to focus and pay attention. [I try to] take my medicine, but sometimes it doesn’t kick in [right away], so first and second hour [are difficult for me].”

— Hadley Green

To help her with some of the challenges she faces, Gwyneth uses assistive technologies. One of these assistive technologies is a special app.

“In math tests, I get to use a calculator, and in my English test, I get to have this app that reads it for me, and it speaks clearly in a human voice instead of a robotic one,” Gweneth said. “We also have a testing center, which is helpful.” 

Hadley Green, 7th grader at Nipher, also has ADHD. Although she is in easier classes than the McKinleys, her ADHD still significantly affects her learning. 

Though ADHD makes school work difficult, Green prioritizes her homework over other things. She works hard to maintain her grades. 

“I do what needs to be done first [especially the assignments with] the earliest due date so I can get it done fast.” Learning disabilities come in many forms, and we all need to know that some people are struggling and how we can help them. 



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Lizzie Buckhold
Lizzie Buckhold, features writer
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: reading, gaming, art Favorite movie: The Devil Wears Prada Favorite Quote: “Love deeply, love simply”
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