Learning disabilities explained through “Normal Isn’t Real” 

Minnesota State’s Accessibility Resources center hosted a special screening of the film “Normal Isn’t Real,” a film about the everyday lives and challenges of people with learning disabilities. 

The film, shown in Ostrander Auditorium, was created by filmmaker Krys Kornmeier and features the stories of four young adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder: university student Audrey Bentley, sculptor Dave Cole, poet and speaker LeDerick Horne, and salon owner Nicole Vaiani. 

The four individuals shared their journeys to success in school and work and the many challenges they had to overcome. 

Beth Claussen, associate director of the Accessibility Resources Center, said that the film’s purpose  is to help young people struggling with LD/ADHD reach their full potential and gain success and support from their peers. 

“We wanted to provide this event primarily to raise awareness to students, faculty and staff about people with learning disabilities and ADHD. Because the film featured four young adults with learning disabilities and ADHD, we thought it was relevant.” Claussen said. “Their own narratives are from a strength-based perspective as the film portrayed them as people with challenges but also having various strengths. They each found great success. It’s important to recognize that as often students with learning disabilities and ADHD are looked upon as lazy or not smart.”

The screening was followed by a presentation and Q&A on ADHD and learning disabilities which was led by Allison Lundahl, a new faculty member in the School Psychology Doctoral Program at MSU. 

Lundahl said that, for MSU students with LD/ADHD, resources on campus can help them gain a strong support system in their academic studies. 

“The accessibility resources that supported this screening provide many of those opportunities to support academics on campus, and I know students that benefit from it. So for individuals who already have a diagnosis, reaching out to that department and identifying how they could receive more support.” Lundahl said. “There’s a counseling center on campus that provides support as well, especially in college as it can be a stressful time and especially if people are away from home and away from the support that they’re used to.”

With the film having been screened in several locations and institutions, Lundahl hopes that its message will inspire students with LD/ADHD to continue their academic journeys and careers even in the face of difficulty. 

“I would hope that they could see the hope behind it; the inspiration; the importance of individuals identifying their needs, their strengths, and as the film quoted, their work around so that they can get themselves to the point of these young adults who are so confident, so self aware, and really be successful long term in careers.” she said.  

To learn more about the film, visit and for accessibility resources provided at MNSU, visit or stop by the Accessibility Resources Center located in the Memorial Library 132. 

Header photo: The film shown in Ostrander Auditorium was created by Krys Kornmeier and showcased the everyday challenges people face that have learning disabilities. (Daulton Grubb/The Reporter)

Write to Anahi Zuniga at

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