Julian L., Going to College

Every year, Gemm Learning provides a college scholarship for a student who has had to overcome APD or dyslexia or both on the journey to college. We have been providing these scholarships since 2013, and for the first time, this year the recipient is a prior Gemm Learning student.

Here is Julian’s essay.

My name is Julian, I have auditory processing and dyslexia. For me, this never really never caused a problem. I was happy, had friends, played sports and all of the other things that makes most kids happy.

Sure, I couldn’t read like others in my class, and I didn’t always understand things, but I was smart enough to adapt. I learned to laugh when others laughed and learned to comment in similar ways as my friends, so to me, I was fitting in.

I guess I assumed that maybe everyone had trouble understanding and seeing words the way I did.

Then when I was in third grade I was removed from my regular class and friend and put in a “special” class. That’s when I realized I really wasn’t like others in some ways.  I, unfortunately, lost a lot of friends during that time and was often isolated from the rest of the student body. So, my school years were not the best despite making moderate academic gains.

Fortunately, my parents found Gemm Learning and that made a huge difference in my life. It really taught me to read and understand. It’s hard to explain what I hear and don’t hear or understand or don’t understand to someone whose brain operates in a normal way.  I can’t explain why I have words in my head to say, but, when I speak, they sometimes come out differently or wrong.

I can say that even at my age now, I still seem to be improving each year. Learning to read faster and understanding more has really opened a new world for me. I know if you can read and understand what you are reading, you can learn most anything you want. Learning and understanding is still difficult, don’t get me wrong, but I feel that I have made the most of my situation. In fact, I did another session of Gemm Learning just last summer.  I hope that one day all the kids that have auditory processing issues and dyslexia could have the opportunity to enroll in Gemm Learning.

I believe that it enabled me to finish high school, apply to college and be accepted into the REACH Program at a college in South Carolina. This is a four-year certificate program. I just successfully completed my freshman year. This program enables students with disabilities to attend college classes with tutors, live in dorms and be just like regular students. You are not separated and put in “special” classes and the other students do not know you are a part of the REACH program.  I know and I’m happy to say that my disabilities did not prevent me from applying to, and being accepted into a postsecondary program that provides an inclusive experience with no limitations. College is now possible for kids with disabilities.

My freshman year certainly made up for not being a part of “regular” school in high school. It’s amazing when you have the opportunity to “fit in” that you actually can become a part of a something much bigger. I’m looking forward to seeing what my sophomore year holds for me, and thanks Gemm Learning for helping along the way!


Thanks to all of our APD Dyslexia scholarship applicants in 2019.

To apply for a scholarship, see details here.