How does someone with a learning disability learn to code? It makes me want to quit!
So...I’m dyslexic, have ADD, and deal with situational ainxiety and depression. I have trouble learning at the pace I’m being taught and am so far behind all of these above mentioned traits kick in hard core and I just want to quit. How do I over come this?
[Part 4 of 7]
Regarding ADD... I used to think this was a made up disorder for people who didn't have the self-discipline, commitment, or work ethic to just stay focused.
However, our oldest child, now 18 years old, was diagnosed with ADD when she was only 7 years old. The meds they prescribed made an immediate difference in her hand writing, reading endurance, processing skills, attention to details, etc.
Still, I was concerned this medicine would have other harmful side effects, so I decided to try a dose.
It was at that moment I realized I must have been coping with ADD my entire life. It was like one of those Claritin commercials where they show an outdoor scene at the park on a nice sunny day, but the view is covered by some transparent sheet that makes it a bit fuzzy. Then they peel back that blurry film and everything is super clear and vibrant with colors.
[Part 6 of 7]
I believe these personal challenges, and several others not mentioned, have conditioned me for greater success than I would have experienced without them. Through adversity comes strength.
While I cannot relate to the challenges of dyslexia, my initial thought was, if I had it, it would have made me even more impressive and stronger than I am today. But it's incredibly naive for me to even consider this without knowing. I just know that's been my belief throughout life and every setback, challenge, and roadblock which has allowed me to persevere with great ambition and success.
Rather than letting anything define me as a failure and as being incapable, I embraced the challenge as something to overcome and work through. Of course, there will be limitations to how for this "CAN-DO" attitude can go.
The point is, I never even gave those limitations much thought.
[Part 2 of 7]
However, it could spiral out of control if my mind began to believe the lies it was attaching to in rationalizing the depression.
Over the years I've come to really cope with this. My attacks would occur several times a week and has reduced to once or so a week. The problem with less frequent attacks is it can really sneak up on me.
I've become masterful at compartmentalizing my emotions with this ability to remain unphased by these attacks. Most people who know me in real life are shocked to learn I have this disorder. They only see a person who exudes humble confidence, positivity, success - not that any of those are a lie about who I am.
To be clear, when I say coping, I don't mean I'm somehow able to WILL away the effects of the chemicals in my brain. Rather, it's like being able to seem completely sober after a few drinks over dinner. The buzz, (or rather depression), has to work itself out of the system before the effects are actually gone.
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With such a wide spectrum of depression and anxiety attacks, it's going to be different for everyone. I do know mine is genetic as my children cope with this as well. Fortunately, they have a dad who has been able to help them navigate through these attacks starting from preteen years. Some are taking meds to help make this easier as they are still not quite able to compartmentalize as I am.
Still yet, they are doing much better than I did as a kid who didn't really understand what was going on earlier in life.
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I'll wrap up with links to these inspirational stories from programmers with dyslexia:
Kris... I wish you all the best and hope this was helpful for you!
[Part 1 of 7]
Kris King Wow... Interesting question. I haven't thought about the challenges with dyslexia before.
I do have life long experiences with the other challenges though.
I've coped with an anxiety disorder since middle school where serotonin is released into parts of my brain causing me to feel depression on the level of a close family member passing away. I didn't come to understand this until I was in college. Prior to knowing what was going on, my mind would attempt to rationalize the depression by attaching it to reasons that simply weren't valid.
My mind would attach to thoughts of low self esteem regarding my intelligence and appearance, suspicions of people secretly judging me, the room being too messy, even the condensation forming around a cup sitting on a table for awhile. It could be anything.
The attacks normally last a couple of hours transitioning from very mild to intense and then fading away.
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That is the best way I can describe how the medicine affected my mental clarity.
By this point in my life, I had already been successful as a software developer for about 12 years. I later learned that I had been working 3 times harder than my peers in everything just to keep up. I remember thinking I wasn't as smart as everyone else when I was a kid because I would miss so many important details. I never realized how much harder I was really working than others.
Fortunately, I must have been brighter than I ever realized as I eventually figured out how to cope without knowing I was coping with ADD and in most regards outperform my peers.
Now that I'm diagnosed with this as an adult, I'm on the proper prescription that essentially feels like I've unlocked the full potential of my brain, which has been so satisfying these past 11 years.
Hi Kris ,
I probably cannot understand the full magnitud of the challenge that supposed to be dyslexic and at the same time try something so detail demanding as coding.
However, I share the experience of anxiety at many levels in life including at job, and school.
The only way that I found to decrease this thing is planning. Plan to the detail until I get to task that I can fullfill in an hour or 2. Then just deal with only that small portion trying to forget about anything else.
Meditation also helps. Just stop and try to clear my mind for at least 5 minutes only focusing in my breath.
Wish you all the best man!!!
In programming, you need to stick to correct syntax 100%, computers are unforgivable that way.
You need to think, plan, rethink, how exactly you go about solving a problem, and you spend a lot of time searching for bugs.
Coding topics are sometimes not easy to understand and you will definitely encounter frustration.
So I can see how in your situation it can be quite challenging to learn programming.
At the same time, it will be hard for strangers, and online, to help you with this.
Maybe you need to work that out with a therapist?
David Carroll Man, if that isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is.
Kris King I have heard that dyslexic people often seem stupid (like still being in 1st grade spelling as a 5th grader) but also are incredibly bright at the same time. I don’t know anyone dyslexic personally, but from what I’ve read I have the idea that dyslexic people have enhanced problem solving abilites and can find solutions when it comes to thinking instead of memorizing. And that is exactly what programming is, except you have to memorize the syntax, but it’s still mostly about problem-solving. And about ADD, my understanding is that it keeps you from concentrating on what you’re supposed to be doing and instead makes you think about things you’re more interested in. If you enjoy programming, then programming will be the thing you’re more interested in and the ADD (hopefully) shouldn’t affect you as much if any since you’re enjoying programming. Please keep in mind that this is entirely opinion based with no factual support.
David wow, this can really help a lot of people even myself, this disorder are things that are embedded in people without knowing for years, they will think its normal, with this your experience and detailed words a person should be able to find a eay to beat it
David Carroll, thank you for this report, that's really interesting, food for thought.
I have lately read a bit about the autist spectrum, and there seems to be a similar effect:
Mild cases sometimes seem to develop some mental 'overhead' to cope with their problems, effectively working harder for everything than their peers.
But also they end up with a... well, challenging brain workout and effectively higher intelligence.
Take away the limitations afterwards and - boom, warp drive. (Ideally.)
About ADHD...You need to find what you like to do. I know that for me, data curation is absolute torture (Try looking at 370 CT/CBCT scans for three days straight. It’s torturous). But I also know that when I hyperfocus, I am super productive doing things I like. So for me it’s about finding things that I can focus on. I get through the annoying but necessary stuff by taking frequent breaks and telling myself that I get to do interesting things afterwards. When I say “just 5 more minutes of CBCT cleaning until I can do something else” and repeat this over and over, I get much more done than saying “I have 200 more CBCTs to do and it’s taking forever and I hate this.”
I really don't have a clue, but when I had a computer I can remember a program that I could notice where the error was. I'm just trying to help because I'm dyslexic too and if there's some program or editor that can help out. He has to try everything before deciding what's best for him and the fun is in the motivation because I am really short on patience so I looked at the fun bright side of the outcome to feel motivated. That's all.
you received a tone of information from all this messages that people were so kind to send to you.
1. you said that you find it difficult and you're about to quit from learning programming. 90% of us find themselves in the same situation like you without having dyslexia, add, situational ainxiety and depression. we are almost all about to quit at some point.
2. i'm ok with you failing, what i'm not ok with is quitting. you pull yourself up, you push through, you move forward, you overcome.
stay more in the sun, make physical exercises to attend to anxiety and depression, and when you get stuck with a problem smile back at it.