Being a Mom With a Learning Disability: How Dance and My faith Helped Me

Updated: Feb 16

I want to start by saying that I am a mom of two young girls with one little on the way. I am a graduate student and I work from home. Oh, I also have a learning disability. I read a lot of articles discussing different topics about how moms can do this and that, but I was curious about moms who have some type of disability, mental, physical or learning. In this blog I will talk about my experience as a working mom and a student with dyslexia.

I remember when growing up, I did not like school. I didn’t want to go because I struggled with the majority of my classes especially in reading. I was in seventh grade with a reading level of a 3rd grader. Yikes. For that reason my mother decided to have me tested. We discovered from the results of the test that I had a learning disability. I have Dyslexia and Language Processing Disorder. I would see words backward in my head. The sounds would scatter and sound different to me. I would wonder what was wrong with me? Why was it so hard for me but easier for everyone else? Even though I did not like school, I wanted to learn. I enjoyed learning but I felt stuck.

This went on for years, and I was only a kid at the time. I felt lonely, lost, dumped and I became extremely quiet about everything. Then one day I went to see my Aunt who was a dance performer. She was a beautiful professional dancer. When I saw her she inspired me. Her movements were expressive and beautiful. It was like I could understand what she was trying to convey through her unique body language. Dance made me so happy. I finally found something I was good at.

Yet, there was something missing in dance, missing in my life that felt incomplete.

My grandmother always took us to church. Not just one church but many different churches. We church hopped. I didn't enjoy going to church because I felt judged by the people there. People pushed me to read my bible, but I couldn't read. I had a hard time focusing on the bible stories. However, I was still curious about God.

At 22 years old I got saved and baptized. I finally felt free and that I belonged. God really guided me on how to manage and work through my challenges that I was having with reading. During this time I built a great intimate relationship with God and this is what He taught me and what I would like to share with you.

How My faith Guided

Determined Faith- What does determination mean? It is defined as a cause (something) to occur in a particular way to be the decisive factor in. The synonyms for determination are assurance, boldness, persistence, and firmness. When we begin to build our relationship with God, we have a mustard seed faith that starts growing into something much larger like a beautiful tree. During this process, God will start giving you the tools that you need in order to fill your spirit which helps you experience growth. These tools will help you grow from your old self into your new higher self in faith.

God revealed to me through my trials, that determination is a characteristic that I have spiritually. It was in me but it was dormant, therefore, He had to test me to bring it out of me. I had to be determined to learn, trust and overcome challenges in my life.

Be determined to learn & understand God- When people have internal battles, others may not fully understand what that person is going through. Growing up with dyslexia, people were not sensitive. They did not understand how challenging it was to learn and read. Throughout the years my learning and reading abilities improved. But the greatest blessing that was given to me that helped me to grow was when I was working at the library. The library gave me access to different ways to help me improve my reading. God opened this door for me so that I could grow in my faith. I first learned about God’s word through visuals tools and listening to the Bible. When I felt confident, I picked up my bible and read it slowly. Although I had my own battle when it came to reading, I was determined to learn and understand the word of God on my own. I used the resources that God blessed me with. In return, it made me better in all areas of my life. In 2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ it says,‬ “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work.”

Are you teachable? Are you willing to allow God to be your teacher? The areas in your life that need to improve, are you going to learn how to improve them?

We have to use the word of God to help us grow in faith. God will help us to become willing students to learn his word. Because like it said in verse 17, using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do good work. God has given us access to do better and be better.

Be determined to trust God MORE- My favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.”

When I heard trust in God with all my heart, I didn’t trust Him as much as I would like to. I believed that I trusted him but I did not do it with all my heart. If we are going to be honest we often trust God in one area of our lives, but not the other areas. We have to willingly trust him more with everything. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” We care about a lot of things but are you bringing all your cares to God?

I brought my cares to the Lord because there were times when people would doubt me, and constantly told me college is not for me. People would criticize me for every mistake I made. However, when I trust God I realize that God had me going at a certain pace. God had me at the pace of grace.

Start embracing God’s timing and wait on God. It can be difficult to wait on God especially when His plans do not make any sense to us, it’s unknown and it’s scary. Yet in the Bible a central theme is to trust in the Lord. When people in the Bible trusted God, they experienced His very best, but when they trusted in anything other than God, they got less. Trusting God and His process is key to our faith journey. In ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ it says “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. ‭” You need to know that God will do it for you. When we start trusting in Him more we can overcome our challenges

Be an overcomer- We have the tools that God has given us. Tools such as His word, His Spirit, prayer, worship, and etc. When we are faced with challenges, we need to utilize these tools. The question is, Are you going to discard all the tools God has given you or are you going to apply these tools effectively to defeat challenges that you are faced with?

When I reflect on my early years, I realize that my upbringing was negative and toxic. It was hard at times to lean on God. The enemy likes to use our environments, homes, friends, and family members to derail us from being faithful to God. We start becoming victims of our struggles. We need to commit to speaking life over ourselves. The word of God is our weapon. I was determined to remain faithful to God. Jesus told us that offenses would come. In John 16:33 He said, “In this world you will have tribulation” but He also said, “I have overcome the world.” So if Jesus has given us the tools we need to be an overcomer, we have no real excuse to live our lives offended or as victims of someone else’s opposition. Galatians 5:25 “We get our new life from the spirit, so we should follow the spirit.” We are told to follow the spirit and allow the spirit to be our guide.

I heard a pastor give a sermon titled, “Are you a victim or a victor?” We can trust God, but we also have the tendency to fold as soon as challenges come our way. In some cases, we end up playing the victim meaning we start blaming everyone else (sometimes even God) instead of seeking God. You’re stuck in a victim mentality when you pity yourselves and always blame others. God has given you tools, but we need to learn how to utilize them to their fullest capacity.

Let's make space to reflect on things we need to work on to be victorious. Let's leave behind the victim mentality.

Dance Is A Spiritual Gift For Me

When I was younger I went to community events with my family. My Aunt was dancing. She was a beautiful professional dancer. When I saw her she inspired me. Once I saw her I wanted to dance and a month later my mom signed me up for dance classes.

When it came to school, the structure of a classroom did not work. Sitting at a desk, listening to a teacher and trying to follow instructions was extremely difficult. However movement helped me to understand things a lot more. I practice learning words and phrases and putting movement to them to remember certain material for classes. In order for me to organize ideas and complete certain assignments I would move and speak the material. The phrase helped me greatly because I visually recall that specific movement phrase. God showed me I had the gift of dance and movement. I believe this is the reason why he guided me to the field of Dance/ Movement Therapy. I learned that I am a kinesthetic learner. Kinesthetic is a tactile technique that is used in combination with visual auditory study techniques while producing multi sensory learning. Once I embraced my gift, I used it to help with the things I was weak in and I believe you can do the same. Here are my tips to help manage your learning disability.

Tips for Managing a Learning Disability in Adulthood

  1. Be your own advocate. It's important to know and speak up for what you need. Think about what will help and speak up about. Remember the enemy likes to see us as victims but you are not a victim. You are a victor.

  2. Ensure that your surroundings facilitate helping you to succeed. Work with your school, employer, and family to create a supportive learning environment, such as access to software that will help you succeed now and in the future.

  3. Take advantage of assistive technology. The use of the computer tools and customizing it at your own pace such as reading text out aloud will help you articulate your thoughts and provide structure to your writing. If you have dyslexia like myself here are other tips:

  4. Listen to audiobooks as an alternative to reading.

  5. Typing on a computer or tablet instead of writing.

  6. Apps that can make learning fun by turning decoding into a game.

  7. Using a ruler to help read in a straight line, which can help keep you focused.

  8. My last tip is to be organized. Order is important and can help you structure your thoughts better. When you organize your space, notes, etc. this will help you understand clearly what is happening and how to take the appropriate steps. Organization looks different for everyone. For example, when I write, I can not write about a subject in chronological order. To organize my thoughts I write everything down no matter how messy it looks. Once I got everything down I put everything in an order from A. B. or C. After this, I don't start with A, sometimes I will start with C or B because it just makes more sense in my head and this is how I organize my thoughts. You must do the same, find your order and still to it.

I leave you with this, Moms and friends, that you are smart and you can do anything in your ability despite your disability challenges. Your learning disability is proof that you can do it your own way by creating a system that works best for you and not how society structures it. However, you also must believe and trust God in order for it to happen. Here are some resources that I use that help me.





Peace and Blessing Friends

Khadijah S.

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