When I first began my search for answers about nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) and then I began this blog I presented myself as just another person who has NLD and is in no way an expert.

 I saw websites and read blogs where people were presenting themselves as experts in just about everything and had far fewer credentials than I did and do.

 Because they presented themselves with confidence, degrees, certificates, coaching credentials, and said they charged for their services they were and are taken seriously.

 I shortchanged myself a lot.

My Master's in Social Work is from a more than decent school——Fordham. I passed the licensing exam while still in school (it was a certificate then.) My final evaluation at my internship and at work were both excellent. I was disapointed in my cum but only because I was shooting for a 4.0 (perfect.) Mine was a 3.84. I believe the exact words my therapist at the time used when I said that was: "you're crazy." (She really was very professional.)

I've done post-grad (doctoral) work in research and have worked in some large research projects. I thought up the grant that (at the time) got my place of employment the largest ongoing grant monies it had ever gotten.

I'm not presenting the above as a resume. It's truly for me!

I'm telling myself that my expertise is equal to or more than many many people who present themselves as experts. I present myself as a schmiel. 

Do you know what it feels like to get phone calls after midnight when you're on vacation because somebody wants your help? (I don't answer.) And I know that if I charged people would automatically respect me too much to "bother" me at such an odd hour.

 Yes people have problems after midnight in the period between Christmas and New Years——probably more than usual——but I'm not a hot line.

 I do return the calls (more than one person calls me) when it's more convenient. But what does the word "vacation" mean? I'm not blaming the people who call. It's all on me as I allow it. Well sometimes.

 My personal blog's registration info is "private" but for awhile Goddaddy, the host company, had it public. I didn't know this and couldn't understand why people were calling me. Finally I got the nerve to ask. Yes, people were calling me and I had to work up the nerve to ask how they got my number. I did get a year of free hosting.

 I'm a person who lets my problems show but also has more than a fair amount of expertise. I'm good at counseling. That's why I went to grad school to begin with. It was a natural fit. I chose social work as it had more oversight then than pure counseling degrees. I took many post grad courses (doctorate level) especially in research. Again I chose never to make a big deal over this.

 Many people with NLD love to argue with me. If I say "orange" they will say "black." The truth is that orange might be the new black but many shades of colors separate them on the color spectrum. The real answer or answers are somewhere in between, maybe somewhere else. Or maybe just maybe my answer was the one that made sense.

 I gave up participating in most NLD groups for several reasons. The most important one being that I need to feel good about myself.

 I can't stand it when people tell me what I can't be or what I can't do. As I didn't know I had a disability I did a lot of things that people with NLD aren't supposed to do and I did many of them successfully for extended periods of time. My burning out was more a function of trying to keep long hours for long periods of time, and insisting on doing everything "perfectly" when people without disabilities would probably have known and respected their limits.

 Yes people with NLD are generally literal. That doesn't mean many of us can't understand abstract concepts. Perhaps my being a literal thinker enables me to take abstract concepts and rewrite them so that most people can understand them. Perhaps that's both a gift and a talent I took for granted.

 I always took my intelligence for granted. When I learned about NLD I learned that our working memories are always faulty. Yes I have problems solving complex equations. I understand that's supposed to show a person can't work out complex concepts as our working memories are only supposed to hold onto a limited number of concepts at once. I'm not sure that's always true.

 I don't have problems understanding and explaining complex concepts. Because I could do the later my entire life it was difficult to understand exactly where my problems lay, and they were often mistaken for laziness. I can understand that.

 I can no longer take myself for granted. I was beginning to resent everyone who asked me a question; everyone who wanted a second of my time. Of course I want to help people. But I'm not a hot line.

In no way do I want people to "look up to me."

I'm a professional and it's time that I acknowledged that. Me—Pia.

My first love is writing and I'm devoting the majority of my time to my memoir. I will be be putting bits of it in my blog, Courting Destiny.

About the Author

Pia Savage

Pia Savage is a writer, journalist, and former social worker diagnosed with Non Verbal Learning Disorder.

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