Just because some premature babies are born with little to no birth defects, it doesn't mean that they won't have problems in the future. Complications, like learning disabilities, can affect them [premature babies] later in life. I was born at 24 weeks and was in the NICU for 74 days. At birth, I weighed 2.8 pounds. I was lucky that the only drastic effects were that I was born with low birthweight and bradycardia—being in the NICU helped me recover. I want to share my story so it can give hope to other people.
When I was in the second grade, I was diagnosed with a learning disability that affects reading, writing and mathematics. It greatly impacted my ability to excel in school, and psychologists said that I wouldn’t be able to graduate high school because of my extreme difficulty grasping and applying certain concepts. Throughout my schooling I was given accommodations, such as extended time on tests and homework assignments and free access to tutors after school. I have worked incredibly hard—staying up nights to learn and practice—in order to identify my weaknesses. I worked through the difficulty of understanding concepts, and slowly learned to make up for the difficulties I have processing information.
March of Dimes has played a vital role in my life—they fund research and programs, and educate professionals, like the specialized doctors I saw when I was younger.
I’m currently attending Miami Dade College, studying computer science and am enrolled in the Honors College for my Associates degree. I’m applying to universities to further my education and receive a Bachelor’s degree. My career goal is to become a software engineer and my educational goal is to receive a Master’s degree in the area of technology. I am working toward these goals each day.
– Jennifer Viart
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