Learning has been hard for me my whole life. Right now, it’s fall and we are in full swing getting back to school. This time of year was always hard for me, because I immediately felt behind in school. I didn’t learn as fast or the same way as the other kids, I thought I was dumb, slow or just not smart.

I had undiagnosed ADHD, dyslexia and multiple traumatic brain injuries at the time. It was until much later (and dropping out of college) that I learned about my brain and why it was so hard for me to get through school, and part of the reason why I dropped out of college.

Today, I want to take the first step and share a little bit about my experience with ADHD/dyslexia and TBI’s. And, I want to make you aware of an amazing resource called Understood.org.

>Access Understood.org here.

If you are a parent or student or anyone who has learning disabilities, Understood is a must have resource. This is not an ad. It’s back to school and I am thinking of all the parents and children who may not have the tools they need to identify and overcome a learning disability.

While I now see my ADHD/dyslexia and TBI’s as a gift, it sure didn’t feel that way back then.

Comment below, do you or someone you know have a learning disability? How has it hurt you/them? How was it been a blessing and a gift? Let me know.

I hope my story inspires you to take action, to have compassion and to use the tools from Understood.org.

Remember to get out there, take action and make it real.

Your biggest supporter,


P.S. If you know anyone with a learning disorder that could use tools and mentorship, please send them a link to this blog. You may just change their life.

6 thoughts on “Getting Real About My Learning Disorder (And A Tool That Can Help)

  1. Hi Mastin! I was beginning to worry that I hadn’t heard from you. Glad to see you back in action and still giving. Just wanted to send YOU some love and to let you know to keep the emails coming. Sometime they are so on point I’m like is he astral projecting into my life ’cause several of your emails made me feel you are in tune with the spirit that flows through all of us. Loving the book. Hoping all is well with you and yours. Whatever is going on in your life today, I hope you choose peace and I hope you are finding your joy.

  2. I always struggled in school when it came time to do route memorization or learning from audio cues. When I was 9 yrs old, my family l moved from Michigan to Atlanta. It was then I was tested and diagnosed with an audio processing disorder, ADHD, and dyslexia. I believe the cause was brain trauma from falling down a flight of stairs as a baby in my walker and sexual trauma in my early childhood. Instead of being held back a grade, my parents enrolled me in a school for children with learning disabilities. There I was taught through organizational techniques and identifying what type of learner/thinker I am. Like healing and recovery, this type of learning was not a linear process. It wasn’t until high school and college, with added maturity that I learned how to teach myself. However, I was always burdened by the stigma and teachers who were unable to understand that no, I wasn’t lazy, I just was a slow learner who thrived on visual learning and once mastered information retained it forever. I did drop out of college after being hospitalized from walking pneumonia, at the time, I was a single mom who taught preschool, attending school full-time, a McNair Scholar with imposter syndrome that someone was going to find out that I was fooling them all and wasn’t smart at all. I was doing too much and my identity was getting wrapped up in how smart I was. Life had been throwing pebbles to warn me, but I ignored them until I forced to stop. This lead to a “divine storm” as I was living for external validation. In the journey, I left my degree as a Literary Theory major and began teaching art. As an art teacher, in addition on the side, I started to tutor children with learning disabilities in processesed art. In my research I discovered that the pedagogical models in standard educational systems was to teach auto-sequential learners, but there are others type of learners. I discovered that I was a visual-spatial learner that is exactly is what is best suited to be an artist. Through tutoring these children, and combining these models of teaching, incorporating an auto-sequential process while stimulating their visual-spatial minds, I saw my students confidence thrive. They relaxed into process, they were able to break down information and taking it to move fluidly through both micro (audio-sequential) and macro (visual-spatial) perspectives. In helping them I also was able to liberate the stigma of my own intelligence and that it is the educational models that are too rigid and in fact I wasn’t “disabled” but rather it was the lack of expansion in the ways we teach children. Now, I have left teaching, as I have raised my daughter and can fully focus on my life course as an artist without time constraints or the pressure to provide a stable income and college for my daughter. I had burn out and fekt like I was in art time out as an art teacher, everyone else getting to do art except me as I was facilitating their art discovery. My journey now is in stepping out from being a shadow artist and fully claiming my internal gifts as an artist. I do feel that I will find more sustainable ways to teach again; however, this part of my path is the wilderness in which to find and fully actualize my gifts as an artist (like Luke training with Yoda and his time away between Empire and Return of the Jedi). Funny how the universe gives you all the tools you need. None of it has gone to waste, as the literary track was training for me to synthesize archetypal and mythological research with visual expression. I am just now in “creative recovery” working with my therapist in the Artist’s Way. Since beginning this journey it has been a daily shower of synchronistic blessings, including your email on this matter, as many of your post tend to affirm signposts in my internal journey over the years. Thank you. If you need any lists of books and articles on research I have done and modes of thinking, I would be happy to share. Light and love to all that reads this. My art is still in the emmergent stages, but you can see some of it on my Facebook page: JinxRemover737.

  3. Thanks Mastin and JinxRemover 737 for your posts. Great to come out as brain injured people! Yes yes!
    I have a brain injury from a car accident in 1991 and find that I learn slower and differently than other people. Will read the
    website material. I also use Constance Miller’s website http://www.headinjury.org. and talk to her on the phone- great advise and help for brain injured people. She has done effective work in the Washington state legislature advocating for funds and services for head injured people. I started a community college program in Web Design today and would love
    some support and help navigating the system so that it works for me. Thanks JinxRemover for the light and love.
    I’m soaking it up. Mastin keep sharing about your struggles and what helps. Meditation helps me.

  4. Your story is inspiring, courageous, and much needed in society today. As an entire culture, we’ve come so far in our understanding and compassion for people with learning disabilities, but we still have work to do. One of the greatest things I’ve ever heard is you addressing your learning disabilities as a “gift.” Our thirteen year-old son has autism and I thank God every single day for sending my family this beautiful child. From the day he was laid on my shoulder, we communicated with our eyes. I held him close and said quietly, “This child will never leave me.” I didn’t know what I meant at the time, but I do now. Instead of seeing his autism as a detriment, I see it as a powerful manifestation of God on earth. Think about how much we, as helpers, protectors, teachers, and leaders, have to do to convince people. We use examples, books, statistics, and thank God for those, but my son has the ability to change the way a person thinks just by merely existing. All he has to do is walk through a room, people are drawn to him and watch him, and a hard heart can experience a silent but spiritual epiphany in a matter of moments. I do have to protect my son, for he could wander off following a butterfly; however, this is not a deficit. Think of all the children and people who cannot or refuse to see the butterfly. Now, that’s a gift.

  5. Hi Mastin, my son has dyslexia and post concussion syndrome from multiple brain injuries. I was excited to read your post and I went to the understood.org website. However, to sign up you must enter in your U.S. zip code it does not except Canadian postal codes and we are from Canada. I just thought you should be aware.

  6. Hi Mastin. Heard your I love marketing podcast and LOVED it. My life’s purpose is operating a dyslexia learning center in Iowa. This is my fourth Dyslexia business I started. 2 learning centers and two nonprofits. 3 are thriving. My son was dyslexic and I was so upset with the lack of services that over a period of 10 years I networked and created organizations to help. My first tutoring center teaches 130 dyslexic kids to read, and my new one has 18 students.

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