Over the years, however, when strangers found out I had Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) they tried to shun or isolate me from activities and work. Still, that never stopped me from working hard or trying to achieve my goals.
Last October I completed the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes and exams but I didn’t pass the state exam. After going through the process, two main problems I found were the lack of support for people with disabilities at nursing schools offering the CNA classes, and not enough photos or graphics included in the state exam for those of us with developmental or learning disabilities.
As we move forward as a society, I would like to see these training programs offer more help, and secondly, see an expansion in how Rhode Island delivers these exams so those of us with learning disabilities can be successful in the exams. Additionally, it would be helpful to make some changes to the exam room by having a separate room available for people with disabilities like ADHD who can be easily distracted.
Another thing that would be helpful is having someone in the room who can further explain a question that may seem complicated for some of us. We may know the answer, but because of how the question is framed especially with long words and inadequate photos, sometimes we don’t understand what they’re trying to ask us. Therefore, having someone available to go step by step in the exam would be helpful.
If we don’t get the extra support we need especially in exam settings, we can’t be successful and it’s not because we don’t try. Not enough attention is given to people in the disabled community, and it makes me feel angry because we need to have more support like other people do. We lack adequate exam and course offerings; we simply do not have enough mentors; we don’t get the same access to jobs and as a result, we earn less or nothing.
I want to urge everyone to be more helpful and be inclusive of people with disabilities in our everyday lives and policies.
Editor’s note: Jossie Canalda is an intern with Planned Parenthood.