There is nothing more powerful than a voice in the world of education.

I was diagnosed with a learning disability, dyslexia, when I was in first grade. I was lucky in that they spotted my dyslexia at a young age. I have to express a lot of my gratitude to my mother. I was just 6 when I was diagnosed and had no idea what it meant. While at the time, my mother didn’t either, she made it her goal to learn everything she could about the learning disability to ensure I was getting the proper educational tools to succeed like my classmates. Through elementary school and first year of high school, I had accommodations such as taking tests outside of class, getting tests read to me, and being in co-taught classrooms.

I was familiar with the term IEP in middle school when my mom began telling me about the meetings she attended yearly to examine my IEP. At the time, this frustrated me because I begged the school to allow me to attend my sessions. However, this was not allowed.

My earliest memory of my mom fighting for my education was in middle school when she hired an educational consultant to accompany her to my IEP meetings. Though I didn’t know it then, my mother hired a consultant because the school district attempted to demolish my IEP. I was unaware of it then, but my school was trying to take away my educational rights.

I could finally attend my IEP meeting in my sophomore year of high school. This seemed so exciting to me then, as I could finally be a part of the decisions being made for my education. Unfortunately, the high school staff had a different plan. In the meeting, they told me that my grades were above average for an individual with dyslexia and that the accommodations I had been receiving were no longer needed. At the time, I froze and didn’t know how to respond. So I didn’t. I felt invisible as if nobody had heard or seen me. Having no voice is painful, and it’s scary to feel lost in your educational journey.

That was the last time I let my voice be silenced. Once I graduated high school and began my journey at Elon, I discovered several others shared similar experiences. Unfortunately, several students feel unheard or silenced due to academic struggles. I have decided to become an educator, hoping to change these experiences. I want to end my post with the sentence I began with, hoping you, the reader, can resonate and carry on the message.

There is nothing more powerful than a voice in the world of education.

Helpful Terms

  • Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge” (International Dyslexia Association).
  • “The IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a written document that’s developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once a year” (Baumel).


Baumel, Jan. 2023, December 19. “What is an IEP?” Great Schools.

International Dyslexia Association. n.d. “Definition of Dyslexia.”

About the Author

Kira Campagna is a 2024-2026 CEL Student Scholar and a member of the leadership team for the 2024-2026 research seminar on Affirming and Inclusive Engaged Learning for Neurodivergent Students. She is majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Environmental Education at Elon University.

How to Cite this Post

Campagna, Kira. 2024. “The Power of a Voice (as a Neurodivergent Learner).” Center for Engaged Learning (blog), Elon University. July 9, 2024.