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My Educational Journey

My Educational Journey

July 25, 2018 2 Comments

My Educational Journey

Rebecca Sharrock_anxiety_special needs_children

Very often I’m asked about how well I did at school, and the answer I give is that I generally didn’t do well academically. My educational story is quite long-winded. Yet in this blog I’ll give an overview of my academic path (inside and outside of school).


As a toddler my mum began doing one-on-one educational sessions with me. The main things she taught me were colouring in, reading, baking cakes, tidying up, writing, doing basic maths and drawing. Prior to beginning school my favourite activities were organising the cutlery drawer, looking at street directories/atlases, and learning to read from the newspaper. I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading at the time. However from that I did learn how to spell and sound out various words. From the age of three years to early school age it was a fun activity for me to ask how each new word I heard was spelled. As a point of interesting reference the first two words I learned to spell were “lightning” and “thunder”.

When I began school I enjoyed sight words, learning spelling lists, and even correcting my teacher’s spelling! Something else I enjoyed thoroughly was learning the world’s flags, countries and capital cities. I also liked learning the planets of our solar system and the names of their moons. From all that many people looked at me as an academically gifted child, who would whizz through school and become a brilliant mathematician or scientist.

However there is much more to life than just rote learning lists of facts, and having a good memory for them. Simply knowing the facts isn’t too useful if a person doesn’t understand exactly why they’re the answers. For instance remembering our times tables at school is useless if we don’t understand how to calculate the sums themselves. The same can be said that knowing how to spell every word isn’t much use if we don’t know the definitions and how to use them in sentences.

Thus the main difficulty I had at school was that despite having a very good rote memory ability, I didn’t have good cognitive and hypothetical thinking skills. That brought my marks down enormously which was a surprise to many, including many teachers. I had been in psychotherapy for my anxiety since I was three years old. Yet my ability to remember lists of facts and words gave many a false impression that I didn’t need extra assistance at school. I wasn’t put on a special education program until Grade 11 and so much work outside of the mainstream curriculum needed to be done by that time, and I only had two years left of school. As a result of that I ended up being ineligible for educational qualifications from my school years.

Though after graduating school in November of 2007 I didn’t want to give up on my life. So I continued to teach myself catch-up skills that I had missed at school. For that I used a combination of useful strategies I was given at school and exercises that I had discovered within myself that worked for me. Materials I used were books from my local library and
educational computer games. In some areas (mainly with comprehension skills) I had to begin from primary school level and gradually work my way up a little higher.

My post school years began in 2008 and since then I’ve advanced far further than me, my family and therapists ever thought possible. It is true that I’ve still got a fair way to go until I’m fully independent. Yet me, my family and friends (some are even former teachers and therapists) am satisfied with the progress made so far, and I enjoy to continue pushing (though not pressuring) myself to go a little further.



2 Responses

Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson

December 01, 2018

Thank you!!!

Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson

December 01, 2018

Can I blog with you too – Your blogs are such a knowledge awakener!!!!
hi Rebecca and all at Special Kids Company
It’s a pleasure reading your blog as it’s so candid in its honesty. I felt compelled to write to you as most of my imeediate family, meaning my husband who I think has, reading from your blog and the info on Special Kids Company website about HMAS.. I had never even hread or read about this condition but reading the excellent description written on your website and doing a bit more research on the wider web myself-. Suffice to say the description of HMAS nearly jumped off the page as it describes my significant other prefectly , and mreo than helps me to understand why he thinks they way he does – Ive long thought he is on the ASD and seems to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of hs world, experiences and memory ,, I thought also bordering on psychic/ psycopathic knowledge, practical and academic , not sure what the right term but now i think it msut be HMAS.

In addtion to this , I have excellent spelling and can pick learning other spoken and visual (BSL) languages quite myself (who has the interlinked Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, ADD (the inattentive version of ADHD), female traits of ASD, OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder), Bipolar Affective Disorder; and mild eczema. Pre being diagnosed ith BAD (Bipolar Affective Disorder) – the secondary less severe type of Bipolar Disorder , and given the right medication back in 2016, I suffered badly from severe anxiety and clinical desprssion (at times suicidal ideation) . Lucklily now I am medicated and my 6 Year old son recently diagnosed with ASD but awaiting assessment for ADHD, & Dyspraxia- and ppossibl Dysalexia, – who may also have a further condition of Worster-Drought Syndrome (which means his body produces too much saliva and he has sensory or-motor issues- – keeps chewing the remote control and destroys bottle lids . He loves learning and can spend hours learning about languages, countries , geography, Flags of the Word, especially languages as he wants to learn to say" hello "in all the worlds languages from Arabic t Zulu . AND he loves learning the Solar System including the Dwarf planets of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Ceres & Eris. imilar to you we/ve been told he’s unerperfomring at the (mainstream) primary schoool. He has also bladder incontinence and sensory issues . To put it concisely , its harder to get him to use the toilet to pass urine , than it is to do his homework set by school.
the only neurotypical members pf our family are our adopted stray apprx 7 human year old cat and our human 14 year old vbirght and sporty daughter who seems to have escaped being afflcted with any neurodiverse

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