Brooke’s Story

Posted by in Contributor Biographies


Hi my name is Brooke and my hometown is Virginia Beach, Virginia. I am nineteen years old and currently in my second semester of my sophomore year at East Carolina University. I have been diagnosed with dyscalculia along with some processing and short-term recall disorders. My major is elementary education with a concentration in reading. After I graduate I plan to go to graduate school and get a master’s degree in special education. Once I finish my graduate degree, I hope to get a job as a kindergarten or first grade teacher back in Virginia.

I wasn’t diagnosed with dyscalculia until the sixth grade, but my mom knew something was wrong back when I was in the third grade. I couldn’t remember my multiplication tables or finish the timed worksheets we were given in class. After a lot of testing, I was finally diagnosed with dyscalculia. My parents quickly found a tutor, Mrs. Spence, who was finally able to teach me all my basic math skills. I met with her three times a week before and after school for three years. Even after all the tutoring, math was still a constant struggle. High school was when I really noticed how difficult math was for me. No matter how hard I tried, I was almost always struggling to pass my math classes.

Because I went to public school, it was often difficult for me to get the in-school help and the accommodations I needed to pass my math classes. If it weren’t for all the meetings my parents had with my principals, work they did with guidance counselors, and the tutors they found for me, my high school years probably would have turned out very differently. Without all the help and support I received from my parents and teachers, I probably would not have graduated with an advanced diploma or have the grades to get into college.

Because my high school experience with an LD was not the best, I thought I would always struggle. I assumed that was just the way things were. I didn’t realize there could be so much support for students with learning differences until I was accepted into Project STEPP at East Carolina University in 2012. Now that I am in Project STEPP and have access to the support I need, my grades are far better than they ever were in high school.

In my free time I like to participate in events with my sorority, Phi Mu, and on the weekends I like to relax and hangout with friends. I sometimes make trips home to visit my family and my puppy for a few days, and take a walk on the beach to get my mind off school. During the summer, I am constantly at the beach with my friends whenever I am not working as a waitress at a local bar and grill.