Learning Disability Week: We’re All Wired Differently

To mark Learning Disability Week 2023, co-founder Tricia Velthuizen discusses neurodivergence, her recent ADHD diagnosis as an adult and the importance of kindness to ourselves and others…

Team Churchill asked me to write something for Learning Disability Week. I recorded this video. Unusually for me, it took several takes.  

That about sums up me and Learning Disability Week. 

Asking me to write something was a reasonable request.   

I am known for being an Open Book. There is not much I won’t answer if asked – or volunteer even when not asked. Some may argue this is a nicer way of saying I am a chronic over-sharer.

Ironically, a symptom I accepted, without question.  

Last year, I would have found it easier to write about Learning Disability Week. 

Last year, Learning Disability Week applied to our son. He has ADHD, Dsylexia and Dyscalculia. I have always found it easy to be his cheerleader and he has always been a champion in my eyes.  

This year, though, something had shifted…

This year, Learning Disability Week applies to me. 

At the age of 50, I was diagnosed with ADHD.  

I was also diagnosed as being Twice Exceptional or Twice Gifted. Basically, my brain has done some clever workarounds to compensate for the trickier bits of my ADHD. 

In many ways, that neurological tap dance routine gave me some slightly eccentric outward facing habits but took the bulk of the downside of my ADHD and internalised it.

I had decided from an early age that I was just not good at being a human.

I was a disappointment to myself, and I thought, others.

I could sit in my dark holes for weeks on end after the smallest of my perceived mistakes. Randall knew that I went there but for many, they mistook me as being too driven, or too aloof or even sulking. I was none of these really. I was just neurologically wired differently and marking myself down for it. 

Pursuing an ADHD diagnosis is not something I did lightly. As I mentioned in this video, Will, our son, was a big part of why I did.

The other prompt came from a candid podcast by Mia Freedman about her own ADHD diagnosis.

Once Randall had listened to the episode, he called me: “Well, I can certainly see parts of you in Mia’s conversation. What would you like to do next?”

I felt seen and for the first time in my life, I was not all kinds of wrong in a world filled with all types of confusing rights.  

Deciding to pursue an ADHD diagnosis for me was a path to kindness and peace; by me, for me. 

Both have come.  

I still struggle with calling it a disability. I prefer to think of it as a different filter for how I see the world and guidance for what I bring to the world.  

And I am prepared to talk about it not because I am a chronic oversharer. Rather, it is because other people sharing their own ADHD diagnosis has helped me. Apart from Mia Freedman’s conversations, I have been encouraged by Simon Sinek’s openness.  

That brings me here, sharing and hopefully encouraging. 

This Learning Disability Week, 2023, may we learn together and be kind to each other – and to ourselves. 

Tricia Velthuizen

Tricia Velthuizen
Co-Founder & Director
Churchill Education

Spotlight on: Diploma of WHS

Demand for WHS professionals continues to rise, making this one of our most popular qualifications.

Turn your career experience into qualifications with Recognition of Prior Learning.  Apply for a free assessment today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.