I am Jenna Alvarez, a 29 year veteran of living day-to-day with ADHD, dyslexia, countless IEPs, and medications. For a while I bought into the mindset that my disabilities were a weakness that would hold me back, some even predicted that I was an unlikely candidate for higher education. However, when I received The Jason Murphy Memorial Scholarship, that allows special education students to pursue their dreams, I was determined to prove my detractors wrong. I worked hard and earned bachelor's and master's degrees, became a teacher and school counselor. I was achieving but I still was concerned that my spelling errors, impulsiveness and inattention would shine through and expose my weaknesses. I was trying to be average and blend in. I felt like I was working really hard to be really average.
Then a wise mentor kindly pointed out that, what others, including myself, viewed as a weakness, is really a strength. It was in that moment that birthed the idea of being “More Than My Disability”, which means that yes, I have a disability but I refuse to let it define me. I have learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable part of my disability and let my other talents and dreams shine through.
Once I flipped the switch from average to awesome, I decided to reach for what I thought was unobtainable.
I am now a doctoral student at Ohio University, and have started More Than My Disability LLC. My company is about providing information to people with disabilities, educators, and parents and teaching others how to leave behind the notion of surviving and entering into thriving; where dreams are obtainable not unreachable.