A student’s journey living with dyslexia and ADHD

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

Megan Furr, a Minnesota State University, Mankato Student in the elementary education program continues to battle with dyslexia and ADHD as she strives to finish her degree.

It all started in the first grade, when she looked at the board and couldn’t understand anything that the teacher was teaching or what was written on the board. 

In the second grade her condition continued to worsen as her teachers started to notice her lack of progress in school and suggested her parents get her tested for a learning disability. 

Furr states, “During this time, I was this little kid who was only in the second grade and feels like she’s already failing at everything because she doesn’t understand simple things like math and reading skills that other classmates could keep up on but I couldn’t.”

After going to the Mayo Clinic and going through a series of tests, Furr was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, or what was referred to at the time – ADD. 

She says, “I remember being really sad about it, thinking ‘Well there is something wrong with me, I am stupid. I’m so dumb that they even have a word for it.’”

Depending on the day, she feels different about her diagnosis from time to time. She said, “Some days when I’m having a hard time reading and writing and other things, I get really mad at myself and call myself dumb, which is really bad but I do. Where other times, I’ll say to myself, ‘It’s ok, it’s not a disability, it’s an ability. I have to work 10 times harder than other people to get an assignment done, I need a longer time to do it, but I can do it!’”

Daily in college, Furr struggles with things most students never have to worry about. She always fears that she’ll be called to read out loud, that she’ll have to be the designated writer during group work in-class, she gets things mixed up when speaking aloud, she worries about saying the wrong thing to a professor, she struggles with spelling and has to worry about essays, she struggles with tests and reading, she has trouble focusing, etc. 

Because of her learning disability, she was often bullied or looked down upon. “They wouldn’t give me the opportunity to do things. They would say, ‘She can’t do this because she’s dyslexic. She can’t do that, she can’t sit still. Don’t ask Megan’s help, she doesn’t know what the hell is happening,’” said Furr.

Even teachers made her feel incapable, Furr states, “People told me I was dumb, including teachers, multiple times. They said, ‘You won’t ever make it to college. If you go to anything, it would be community college, you’ll get a certificate.’ I had a professor this one time who told me I shouldn’t be a teacher.”

Her learning disabilities have motivated her to become a teacher despite everyone telling her she can’t, “Growing up I always told myself, ‘I am never going to be out of the school, like I’m going to be stuck in school forever, so the best way to do that is to be a teacher. I originally did not want to be a teacher, and spend my entire life stuck in school, but now I figured out I have a passion to teach the second grade, because that was the year I was diagnosed. I want to help students like me right then and there, and reassure them that they’re not dumb, it’s ok to have this, everyone’s brain works differently.”

Furr wants to help all kids, “I want to help kids basically learn, so they can do better and bigger things. I want to be that role model that teaches that you can do things, it’s ok, and be an example of that. I don’t want to be that teacher that makes them feel stupid. I want to be that teacher that makes them feel empowered.”

When asked if she wanted to get rid of her learning disabilities, Furr says, “I don’t think I would, they make me who I am. I wouldn’t have the personality I have right now. All that struggle made me a hard worker. It taught me it’s ok to take your time. It’s ok to ask for help.”

Feature photo by Maria Ly | MSU Reporter.

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