We asked our Star Sisters, a private Facebook group for individuals with Turner Syndrome (TS), for their insights on education. Read below to see what three ladies with TS had to say about their educational journey, their biggest challenges, and what they are most proud of. TS can present educational challenges, but people with the condition can reach a high level of educational success!
How Would You Describe Your Educational Experience Thus Far?
“College was a little different [because] I have social anxiety issues and trouble relating to people, but I graduated with [Bachelor of Science] and [Bachelor of Arts degrees].”April
“My K-12 [years] were a little difficult [because] my parents did not realize I had hearing problems. I had a hard time keeping up, but I got tutors. College was a little different [because] I have social anxiety issues and trouble relating to people, but I graduated with [Bachelor of Science} and [Bachelor of Arts degrees].” (April, college graduate with two degrees)
“I can describe my experience as a successful one. In Kindergarten, … I had difficulty with motor coordination and drawing things. My teacher saw the difficulty and contacted my parents, who helped me. After a short time, I was at the same level as my classmates. … I started reading and writing at 6 years old. Of course, the subject that I had the most difficulty [with] was math, but it was not a big issue, and I always got good grades in math (generally B[s]). [Since] my classmates bullied me, I focused on being a good student. I concluded high school being in the top three … students with [the highest] grades.
“At university, I got a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism, … being the student with the highest grade (9.76) [out of 10] and [earning] a scholarship for a post-[graduate studies]. I got my Master’s Degree in social policy and human rights in 2017. Now I am in a PhD program, to obtain a certificate in communications, which I will finish in 2022. Of course, I succeed the most in subjects [in which] I have to read and write. Although I have classic [TS], I did not have problems talking in public or in front of other people. I always asked questions and was one of the first to present assignments for my classmates.” (Maria, from Brazil, currently pursuing a PhD)
Though I have excelled in many of my classes, there was always something different about me. Special accommodations were made for me, like being able to go to the nurse any time I needed, being able to eat
snacks in class [due to low blood sugar], and having extra counseling support if ever I needed to talk. (Jasmine, high school sophomore from New Jersey)
What Challenges, if Any, Have You Faced in School? Do You Attribute Them to TS? How Did You Deal with Them?
“… learning to accept it and think of it as a ‘superpower’ rather than a curse really helped.”Jasmine
“I had a hard time time making friends [and] was picked on a lot. [I] had a hard time comprehending what I was learning, except for science. Math was very hard; I don’t think I could do the new math I’ve seen. I… attribute this to my slower processing abilities. My brain works slower. I ask people to explain and show me in different ways.” (April)
“My two biggest issues were not related to study. The first was mak[ing] friends. My group of friends was small, and I always felt different. The second one was with prejudice. My classmates gave me nicknames because I was small and always made fun of me. I believe both [issues] were related to TS. I had difficulty [with] abstract concepts. For example, when I leaned what [a] “noun” [was], it was difficult for me understand. I understand things by examples. If there is no example, it would be harder for me to comprehend it.” (Maria)
From a young age, I realized I wasn’t developing and growing as [quickly] as other kids in my class. I was much shorter, and it bothered me. But learning to accept it and think of it as a “superpower” rather than a curse really helped. (Jasmine)
What Are You Most Proud of in Your Educational Journey?
“Getting high grades was a way to … show others that, although I am different, I am intelligent.”Maria
“I graduated college; neither of my parents went to college. I was also on [the] Dean’s list for a semester. My science background helps me be a great 4-H leader [for] my club so they can learn more about animals.” (April)
“I am proud of being a good student, … being dedicated, and achieving educational success. Getting high grades was a way to make me stimulated and show others that, although I am different, I am intelligent. [Because of that], I decided to pursue an academic career and … am preparing myself to be a professor.” (Maria)
I am proud to be a straight-A honors student who has received the [President’s Award for Educational Achievement] twice. (Jasmine)
Despite the challenges Turner Syndrome can present in the educational arena, we hope these insights on education encourage you to pursue your educational goals–whatever they may be–with confidence!
Written by Susan Herman, TSF volunteer blog post writer/editor and translator.