October 21st, 2019

2019 Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship Winner: Caitlyn Meyers

Caitlyn Meyers

“Some people would mourn the fact that they are different… but I don’t. It makes me see the world in a completely different way than my peers. Sometimes I just want to scream out loud, ‘It’s OK to be different! Always be proud of who you are. Who you are is who you were made to be, and there is no reason to change that.” When reflecting upon Caitlyn’s early years, people described her as “a kid whose brain was ahead of her body.” A precocious, early talker, Caitlyn struggled to organize her thoughts and share her knowledge, characteristics that continued to define her journey throughout her school years. She spent countless hours every summer reviewing skills at home, determined “not to be defeated” by forgetting what she learned when school resumed in September. Caitlyn’s interests are a perfect reflection of her exuberant personality. She loves nature (studies floriculture and collects moss… in Texas!), restores old furniture (“because old objects have history and tell a hidden story”) and is fascinated by bugs and “the smallest elements in nature that make up our world.”  Her short-term goal is to pursue college study in Visual Arts, with aspirations to be a documentary film maker.

Caitlyn Meyers Personal Statement

My name is Caitlyn Meyers and I have ADHD and a visual-spatial organization deficit disorder. I understand now that my so called “disability” is a gift. I see the world in a completely different way than most people. As a child, learning and making friends were extremely difficult. Being a girl with ADHD is completely different than being a boy. It’s like watching a TV with constantly changing channels. Now mind you, I was extremely hyperactive and having a visual spatial disorder on top of that didn’t mix well. I remember running into walls all the time and, without realizing it, I tended to get too close to people during conversation. I distinctly remember the days I had to study for tests in ways that most people would say were unusual, like spelling while bouncing on a trampoline or playing ‘munch room math.’ I remember endless hours of looking at other kids and knowing that I wasn’t like them. Being so different hurt. I remember crying under a table every time there was an all A’s honor roll, because my grades were so poor, and no one knew, or they wouldn’t give the extra time and attention to help me learn. My victory was learning how to work with my disabilities. I have climbed that mountain and left dust behind, and I haven’t looked back since. I have surpassed the low expectations all of the people who said I would never drive, never get a higher education, never function like a “normal” person and never be able to live without assistance. I have gotten all A’s on multiple occasions and have a vast number of people who love me for who I was meant to be. I wouldn’t change me for the world. There is no doubt that I see things differently than “normal” people, but that’s absolutely beautiful. I still have problems with visual spatial skills, and my brain likes to skip over certain important information like “Oh, there is wall over there,” or “I must have walked past the remote at least seven times,” or “Boom! Where did that pole come from? Oh well, a little yellow paint on the car isn’t so bad.” But in all seriousness, my life, though sometimes filled with challenges, is still a beautiful creation, and I am predestined to be me. I am me for a reason, and feel blessed to be who I am. It is a very interesting relationship I have with my brain. That’s the easy past. What’s hard is when I tell people about my disorders, they seem to think that I’m better off than people with other types of disabilities, like “you seem fine,” and I can see in their eyes they didn’t believe a word I said. It’s sad and frustrating when people don’t believe that your disability is very real. I gladly live with my disabilities and would love for other people like me to accept who we are, with our unique brains, and not set boundaries for how far we can go and what we can do with our lives. NCLD’s scholarship will widen my educational horizons so I can do the things that I want to do and accomplish in my life, with no boundaries.

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