The Story of Kayla Wilson: Embracing intellectual disability to study and work

“I have a college degree and a successful career in accounting”

My name is Kayla Wilson and I have a learning disability. I confess I have not always embraced my disability. During elementary and middle school I really struggled with learning to spell, with multiplication tables, and with being able to read in class. My classmates noticed that I did not understand things the way that they did and made fun of me. I did not know why I was different; it was very confusing and I had very low self-esteem.

In the seventh grade my parents had me tested and observed, and that’s when I was diagnosed with a specific learning ability that affects my reading and writing skills. As a result, I was given accommodations to assist me with test taking and I started doing much better in school. In high school the classes were harder and I still struggled. Fortunately, I had a strong support system with my parents, and I started participating in Georgia’s High School/High Tech (HSHT) programme.

In my junior year I participated in a HSHT Youth Leadership Forum, where I made many friends and found a great many other people who were experiencing the same struggles that I faced. The speakers at the forum were amazing. They embraced their disabilities, shared their difficult journeys to success, and were so inspiring. This forum was life changing for me! It was at this moment when I started believing in myself. I graduated high school and went on to college, where I had to advocate for my own accommodations for my classes and no one noticed or cared that I had a disability.

Now I have a college degree and a successful career in accounting. In fact, in 2013 the Governor of Georgia asked me to serve on the Georgia State Rehabilitation Council.

Read more about Georgia’s High School/High Tech Programme.