Shawn Norman

Personal Trainer Texas, USA/ Freethinkers University Class Of 2009

By Stacy Poulos © 2009 Playback.net

Dyslexics incapable of living their dreams?

Not Norman Shawn, determined to cross the finish line, and grasp his success over hurdles and odds. Even if it was a race that took him eleven years. "People did not like me, but they liked the athlete who was good at sports." He crossed the finish line with grace and honors. He advises fellow dyslexics "...in the sure knowledge that, if they [dyslexics] can come to the realization of their own true abilities and talents, like me, they can shed the sense of shame..."

"...It took me 11 years to finish my degree even though I flunked my classes 10 times and I was made fun of, I never stop giving up, I wanted to drop out but I had a teacher who believed in me, and would not let me give up.... ...I now have a degree in Health Physical Education & Recreation... ...I was Just determined, People tell me something's not a choice, but I say it's a choice now" -Norman Shawn. Now a Freethinkers University Alumni he wants to share is journey with other colleagues.

 

In his own words.... By Norman Shawn My Story... Here is my story about having a learning disability/Dyslexia This is the story of how I came to accept that my learning disability/dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. Though a long, painful journey to arrive at this acceptance, I have come to know my strengths and found skills that I did not know I possessed. I offer my story to other people with a learning disability/dyslexia, in the sure knowledge that, if they can come to the realization of their own true abilities and talents, like me, they can shed the sense of shame, which all too often leaves people with learning disability people feeling dumb, stupid and altogether incapable of living their dreams.

When I was in the first grade, I knew something was not quite right. After completing the school year, I was returning to the same classroom, and would see the same teacher and the same students. My mother had me test and I was later repeat the first grade. My mother never told me why I kept seen the same teacher and the same students every day and ever year. The real reason was that I could not read, write or spell my name or say my ABC's, or count to 10.

One thing I remember is I had to take a lot of tests, and see a speech therapist. When I was going to see my speech therapist, I would get mad because I though the therapist was making fun of what I was saying so I stopped going.

The next thing that happened to me was that I was moved into a special education classroom. I wondered what was so special about me being in there. I'm just a normal kid who wanted to fit in, do well in school and make my mother proud of me, but some how my ability to read, write and do math seemed to make me special. So the special kids went into a special class with other special problems, I felt different and abnormal.

I remember going to school trying to make some friends, but I really did not know how. My poor social skills made it difficult for me to relate to other kids. I had trouble understanding humor, keeping up with conversation, and using and understanding body language. As a result, I had a hard time making friends, and some of them did not want to play with me. They use to call me slow boy, there goes the special kid. They use to call me red eye boy big lips. I use to go home cry and getting real mad at myself because the way I look and I could not fit in. My early school years were filled with isolation and loneliness, during most recesses where I sat alone.

In high school, I was still in the special education program, I new that I was going to be talked about, but I could not let that stop me for doing what I came to school to do. I was very active in sports like football and track and field. I was on the varsity football team and as a freshman; I was on the varsity track and team where I was a four-year latter man. People did not like me, but they liked the athlete who was good at sports.

In the classroom, I still struggled but I fought it out. As the year went by my grades was looking a little bit better been in special education, I received honor role awards for my grades. I started thinking about college because I always wanted to go to college since I was a little boy when I read book call Dr. Shawn. That book really helped me and some time when I get to where want to give up I think about that book about a young black kid who never gave up on is dreams. I said to myself, I want to get an academic scholarship and not a sports scholarship; l just have to work hard at it. When I reached my senior year in high school my counselor said to me that college is something I should not think about. I tried to take the A.C.T. test but they would not let me take it. Why? I don't know why.

When I graduated from high school, I ranked in the top fifty out of a class 200. I did not even receive any type of scholarship information. I was hurt. Why give me this entire honor role award and not help me get into a college?

I applied to lot of colleges, but I could not get in because they said I have a high school diploma through special education program, I could not even get a scholarship. On my high school transcript, anything that was over a 3.0 G.P.A. and above was crossed out, they said it did not count. I did not get any scholarship points. I was hurt for all my work I put into in school and could not get anything for my hard work.

I kept applying to college and still could not get in, so I attended a community college. Some of the professor's saw that I was having a problem and they said I needed to think about it "Maybe College is not for you." I did not listen. I kept going but they did not pass me. So I attended another community college and was told the same thing there, college maybe not for me, you can succeed with out going to college. I did not want to here that. College was a goal for me. I was doing so badly in a community college that my G.P.A. was a 1.90. A friend told me to try a four-year school; I attend Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma a Historically Black College and University.

When I got to Langston, I went out for the track team and got a walk on scholarship. I started doing well at Langston even though I still was being talked about. At Langston, my G.P.A went from a 1.90 to 2.30. I felt good about myself I completed in the 1998 (N.A.l.A) National Association of intercollegiate Athletics National Track & Field Championship in the 4x400 meter relay. I was named most improved track & field male athlete of the year; I also receive the Male Track & Field Academic Achievement of the year. I also received the President Dr. Ernest L. Holloway award for Student of The Year for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.

It took me 11 years to finish my degree even though I flunked my classes 10 times and I was made fun of, I never stop giving up, I wanted to drop out but I had a teacher who believed in me, and would not let me give up. She was getting ready to retire. I now have a degree in Health Physical Education & Recreation and I'm planning going back to school to finish my master degree in Kinesiology.

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