Heart to Heart with Anna

From Learning Disabled to College Professor

July 02, 2019 Season 14 Episode 5
Heart to Heart with Anna
From Learning Disabled to College Professor
Chapters
Heart to Heart with Anna
From Learning Disabled to College Professor
Jul 02, 2019 Season 14 Episode 5
Kathy Ware

Kathy Ware was born in 1974 with tricuspid atresia and pulmonary stenosis. Her first surgery occurred in her first year of life when she had a Potts shunt. At age 5, she had a central shunt inserted. In 1989 she had a Potts reconstruction and modified Blalock-Taussig shunt and then a classic Glenn procedure. All of these surgeries were done with the plan of having a Fontan Procedure, but she developed pulmonary stenosis and has never had the Fontan.

In this episode of Heart to Heart with Anna, Kathy Ware talks with Anna about what it was like to be diagnosed with a learning disability and how she overcame her issues to become a college professor. She gives advice to other heart families about dealing with congenital heart defects and learning disabilities. She also demonstrates through her own life how perseverance and determination can allow people to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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Show Notes Transcript

Kathy Ware was born in 1974 with tricuspid atresia and pulmonary stenosis. Her first surgery occurred in her first year of life when she had a Potts shunt. At age 5, she had a central shunt inserted. In 1989 she had a Potts reconstruction and modified Blalock-Taussig shunt and then a classic Glenn procedure. All of these surgeries were done with the plan of having a Fontan Procedure, but she developed pulmonary stenosis and has never had the Fontan.

In this episode of Heart to Heart with Anna, Kathy Ware talks with Anna about what it was like to be diagnosed with a learning disability and how she overcame her issues to become a college professor. She gives advice to other heart families about dealing with congenital heart defects and learning disabilities. She also demonstrates through her own life how perseverance and determination can allow people to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Please take a moment to follow us on your preferred social media platforms:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/heart-to-heart-with-anna/id1132261435?mt=2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HearttoHeartwithAnna/

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If you enjoy this program and would like to be a Patron, please check out our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/HeartToHeart

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spk_0:
00:00
I'm very grateful that I was removed from L. D at the end of seventh grade and that in some ways that label didn't follow me.
spk_1:
00:18
Welcome to heart to heart With Anna, I am Anna Gorski and a host of your program. We are in Season 14 and we're so happy to have you here with us today. I'd like to announce a new contest that will be conducting for the summer of 2019. We want to hear your stories. We want to know how an episode of Hart to Hart Madonna has impacted your life. Share your 500 to 2000 words story with us. We'll post them on our Web site. Of all the people vote for the story that touches them the most, the first place winner will get a heart to heart with an a shirt of their choice. The second place winner will get a heart to heart with an a tote bag in the third place winner will get a heart to heart with Anna Mug. See hearts Unite theglobe dot org's for more information. Today show features Cathy wear, and our episode is entitled from learning disabled to college professor Kathy, where was born
spk_2:
01:12
in 1974 which her custody atresia and pulmonary stenosis. Her first surgery occurred in her first year of life, when she had a pots shut at age five, she had a central shunt inserted in 1989. She had a Pots reconstruction, a modified Blalock Taussig shunt and then a classic Glenn procedure. All of these surgeries were done with the plant of having a Fontane procedure, but she developed pulmonary stenosis and has never had the Fontane. Kathy. Where is a return guest? Duri Season nine and 3/4. Kathy was interviewed by her good friend Laura Brian. Laura Ryan was heart to heart with Anna's guest host. Our ladies, both heart warriors, participated in an episode called Ah Heart Worriers, Early onset Menopause, and I really enjoyed that show. Cathy, For one thing, just knowing that heart warriors could make it to menopause, it was just such an awesome show. Welcome back to the show, Cathy.
spk_0:
02:12
Thank you very much for having me
spk_2:
02:15
today. We're going to be talking about something completely different, but this is something that is so important, and that is the diagnosis of learning disability. Let's start by having you tell us what your mother and father told you about growing up with a congenital heart defect. Is an infant like Did they ever tell you if you saw any specialists on a regular basis, that kind of thing?
spk_0:
02:40
No, I did not. I think part of it is being born in the seventies. There was no expectation for me to enter kindergarten. There was no expectation for me to see my teens or adulthood. They basically told my parents that there wasn't supposed to survive the pots. And when I did, there was like, Well, we'll see where she goes. But there wasn't this expectation of longevity and long life. It was See where she goes. I didn't get any physical therapy. I didn't get any occupational therapy. And I didn't have feeding tubes either. So I weighed £15 at year one in £17 in here,
spk_2:
03:27
too. Oh, my goodness. You were teeny tiny.
spk_0:
03:32
I didn't really walk or talk much until I was two, so I was delayed. But again, there weren't. Those service is to provide the extra care or the catch up, I guess, is what I'm trying to say. the catch up for us,
spk_2:
03:50
right? Right now. Kathy, do you have older brothers or sisters?
spk_0:
03:55
I have one older brother. He is six years older than myself. And my mother will tell you that I did my best to keep up with him. But I did get out of breath sooner or quickly. And my parents were told that I would self limit. And I did. So they never set down than told me that. Stop.
spk_2:
04:14
Yeah, right. Well, the education of all handicapped Children's act was not passed until 1975 which was a year after you were born. Do you know if you participated in any early childhood education program as a youngster? I'm not even sure that they had any early childhood education programs back then. But
spk_0:
04:36
no, none that I know of. I was put in a pretty school for a year or so before I went to kindergarten. But it was your run of the mill local pre school. It wasn't a specialty type to do anything other than socialize and alarm your alphabet on and those sorts of things.
spk_2:
05:05
Yeah, kids today have so much more available to them than what they did in the seventies. I mean, it's a totally different world now.
spk_0:
05:14
My husband and I both attended the same Mrs Guards preschool.
spk_2:
05:19
Ah, So you've known your husband says preschool?
spk_0:
05:23
No, but he's actually eight years older than May, so no.
spk_2:
05:27
Okay, Yeah. He shouldn't have been there when you were there. If he's a hole, so but how cute is that? That both of you attended the same preschool? I think that's sweet. Okay, so let's talk about your elementary school years, because by the time you were born, they had the act, that legislation that handicapped Children would be allowed to attend public schools. You know, I remember being an elementary school, and the first time I saw a kid coming to school in a wheelchair and everybody was like, Oh, you know, I didn't know that there was legislation passed to allow that kid to be there. But before 1975 if you had a handicapped child that just stayed home. Oh, so tell me about your early years. I
spk_0:
06:12
had my first surgery while I was in kindergarten and was removed for three months, and then I had separation anxiety when I went back until basically my mom laid down the law and said, You will stay there. You're not coming home anymore. So I finished up here in kindergarten was moved on first grade.
spk_2:
06:34
That in and of itself is remarkable. You miss three months of school in kindergarten, you had an open heart procedure, and yet you still passed to first grade. They didn't hold you back. That's pretty remarkable.
spk_0:
06:47
No, they did not. They tried their best to catch me up when I returned, working with numbers in the alphabet again. This was 79 80 school year and kindergarden wasn't as intense and making sure you could read when you left the work. Things like that. It was much right. Right. Numbers, Your alphabet socializing. Playing right. Coloring within the lines. Yes. Those things.
spk_2:
07:19
Yeah. There are actually different expectations for kidnap garden Children today, compared to when we were kids growing up.
spk_0:
07:25
Yes, yes, but I went on to first grade and first greatest win. I first noticed that I'm struggling and
spk_2:
07:37
wow, you noticed
spk_0:
07:39
I never said anything to anybody that I even noticed it. But my learning disability wasn't finally picked up on until fourth grade when my fourth grade teacher finally said, No, she's not keeping up and send a letter home and started the process of getting tested
spk_4:
08:00
takes his heart into street. We're offering us a mechanical hot, and he said, now that I've had enough to give it to someone who's worthy My father promised me a golden dressed twirling held my hand and asked me where I wanted to go. Whatever stripe for conflict that we experienced in our long career together was always healed by humor.
spk_5:
08:21
Heart to heart With Michael Please join us every Thursday at noon, Eastern as we talk with people from around the world who have experienced those most difficult moments
spk_6:
08:36
forever by the Baby Blues sound collective. I think what I love so much about this CD is that some of the songs were inspired by the patient's. Many listeners will understand many of the different songs and what they've been inspired. Our new album will be available on iTunes amazon dot com. Spotify. I love the fact that the proceeds from this CD are actually going to help those with Joe Hart effects. Enjoy music home
spk_2:
09:05
Tonight forever.
spk_1:
09:14
You are listening to heart to heart with Anna. If you have a question or comment that you would like to address our show, please send an email to Anna Dworsky at Anna at heart to heart with anna dot com. That's Anna at heart to heart with anna dot com Now back to heart to heart with them.
spk_2:
09:32
Cathy Before the break, we were talking about your infancy and your early childhood, but you said right before we left that you were in fourth grade before they realized something was wrong. Can you talk to us about the testing that they did and what your parents were
spk_0:
09:47
told? They did the typical psychological test learning test. The risk? I think it's called tests, and I enjoyed some of the tests I really did. I enjoyed the spatial test. I did quite well with it and picking out the order of sequence of this story and so forth. But it all came down to I could not spell and I was taught phonics. I was in the school in the early eighties, were tracking was the thing, and so I had been placed with the higher level students, probably because my older brother was gifted and talented and my father was in the educational system, so there was an expectation that I would have that high outcome is my guess. Blahniks never made sense to me, and I think the problem is And even though it has never been described or told to me exactly what was wrong, I think the problem is I can't hear or I struggled to hear the difference between certain letter sounds. All the short vowels sound the same. My aim, i e my eye, my eye. Oh, you sound very, very similar to me. Sees and s is found similar gays and V sounds and allergies and t sound similar. And so that was my struggle and I was placed in learning disability program and fifth grade I was tested in four and I was tested again in seventh grade. Somewhere in those middle school years, I don't know what happened, but something clicked and the only started figuring out how to read. And so I tell people My best guess is that I had to memorize enough words and how they looked and how they were spelled and how they were pronounced in order to read and write decently. I am forever grateful for whoever came up with spellchecker. I think it's the greatest invention may
spk_2:
12:09
rush absolutely well, It sounds to me like you had an auditory processing problem and that over time you learn to compensate for that auditory processing problem. And it just took you years. And it sounds to me like you were, Ah, people pleaser. You wanted your parents to be proud of you. You wanted to work hard to be like your big brother. And you knew he was talented and gifted. So you just found a way to compensate.
spk_0:
12:39
I don't know what clicked, but I will tell you that my mother did not take the diagnosis laying down. My father was a middle school principal. At this point in time, he knew what that diagnosis meant and he did not have my expectations and me going to college. My brother was second class. Granted, we graduated in a very small high school. I graduated with 92 other people.
spk_2:
13:08
Ah, that's neat.
spk_0:
13:10
He was second in his class of probably a class of maybe 100 or less, but he was very, very smart. He was gifted and talented and all those things, but my mother was a preschool teacher and beyond high school had no formal education. But I could tell you my summers were filled with workbooks and spelling and reading and all those things. I remember playing Boggle and to try to work on my spelling. She did everything she could to make sure that I could want to read and write and spell.
spk_2:
13:48
She was your special education teacher in the time we get waas issues so alive. Yes. We need to say Thanks, Mom.
spk_0:
13:59
She'll be 80 next month, so
spk_2:
14:01
Oh, my goodness. Wow, She'll be 80 next month. She was ahead of her time.
spk_0:
14:08
Yes. I don't know how she did it, but she raised me to be very independent, stubborn and especially. And to not take no laying down
spk_2:
14:20
good for her. Wow. Well, you were raised really at the beginning era of public education for all handicapped students. Do you think that was an advantage or disadvantage for you?
spk_0:
14:34
I don't know because my parents never let me think of myself as handicapped. So I don't know that they thought of me as handicapped. So in that regard, I think it was an advantage for me and the other advantages. I think that having been in a very small rule community school, even though I was in tracking and starting in fifth grade, I was put back with the slower Warner's and 5th 3 Seventh was middle school for me eighth grade, and started high school for me. Oh, wow. At the end of some grade, I was picked out of LD Really? Yes. They basically said we can no longer do anything to help you. You basically accomplished everything we could have dreamed free through.
spk_2:
15:25
How awesome is that? Why
spk_0:
15:28
so high school? Even though I had been tracked with the slower learners through middle school in high school, I was given again free range to pick whatever accelerated classes I wanted to take. But my mom will tell you that my brother would come home and study for the same sort of class for 15 minutes and go ace the test and I would come home and study for 34 hours and go
spk_3:
15:55
Wow. Wow.
spk_2:
15:58
So you still had the same ability. But it didn't come as easily for you.
spk_0:
16:03
No, no. And I will tell people I was very prepared for college because I just kept doing what I'm doing, right? My brother was like, Oh, my gosh. What happened?
spk_2:
16:19
It's kind of a rude awakening to him. He was actually gonna have to apply himself a little bit harder. Yes, So it sounds to me like you had no special service is no no takers, no extra time for taking tests. You're some of the current modifications that we hear kids have in school today. You didn't have any of that?
spk_0:
16:38
No. I may have been allowed more time or possibly a separate room to take my test, but there was no I never had a note taker. I never had someone read the test to me. None of that night personally. Looking back, I wish I would have had someone to read the test to me from s a tease.
spk_3:
17:01
I'm
spk_0:
17:01
dizzy because there were probably words on there that I knew, but I had never seen before and again going back to my issue with words. I had no idea what that word waas,
spk_2:
17:13
right? Right. You Could it fall back on phonics to help you figure it out because you were using a whole word reading technique.
spk_0:
17:21
Yes, that would be my guess. And that's what I think today. And I even tell people today if you give me a word that I have never seen before, you're going to get some letters in there and probably a a strange order of letters that you you've never seen in that work before.
spk_2:
17:42
Are you telling me you're a creative speller, Cathy?
spk_0:
17:45
Oh, yes. And I will do my best to sound it out. And I'm better at doing that than I was in first grade because I kind of had enough experience with words to kind of understand how their structure and stuff like that. But you will get some funky letters in there if I've never seen or heard of the word before.
spk_2:
18:09
That's so interesting. So what you're saying is that you have a greater understanding of meta linguistics, but it's still something that you struggle with. Yes, and yet we know from the title, and I
spk_1:
18:24
know from knowing you personally that you've gone on to become a professor yourself. We'll talk more about
spk_2:
18:29
that in just a minute.
spk_4:
18:33
Hi, my name is Jaime Al Croft, and I just published my new book The Tin Man Diaries. It's an amazing story of my sudden change of heart as I went through a heart liver transplant. I can think of no better way to read The Tin Man diaries than to cuddle up in your favorite hearts. Unite the Globe sweatshirt and your favorite hot beverage, of course, in your hearts unite Globe Mug, both of which are available. The Hug Podcast network, online store or visit Hearts. Unite theglobe dot
spk_5:
19:06
heart to Heart with Anna is a presentation of hearts, Unite the Globe and is part of the hug Podcast Network Hearts Unite The Globe is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing resource is to the congenital heart defect community to uplift and power and enrich the lives of our community members. If you would like access to free resource, is pretending to the CHD community. Please visit our website at www congenital heart defects dot com for information about CHD, the hospitals that treat Children with CHD summer camps for CHD survivors and much, much more.
spk_2:
19:43
Kathy and this segment I really want to talk to you about your decision to become a college professor. That's a lofty goal. When did you decide that you wanted to perceive that profession.
spk_0:
19:56
I can't say that there was a decision made.
spk_2:
20:00
Really? But you come from an educational family. Mom and Dad were both teachers. And what did your brother do? Did he become a teacher too?
spk_0:
20:11
No, my brother is a mechanical engineer for the government.
spk_2:
20:14
Oh, okay. So they totally different. Okay?
spk_0:
20:17
And I swore because of my father and my mother that I would never go into education. I started my college career is a nursing major because that was my dream all my life. Okay, but I begin to realize that I couldn't physically be a nurse because of my heart defect.
spk_3:
20:38
Mmm. Mmm.
spk_2:
20:38
It's a very physically demanding profession. Yes, but so is teaching. Sometimes. I was a teacher. I was on my feet all day long.
spk_0:
20:48
I sit in a lecture. Okay, That's how I accomplish it. So I graduated with a degree in psychology and left college not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up.
spk_2:
21:05
I think there are a lot of people in that situation.
spk_0:
21:08
I got married. We moved away, We moved back. And shortly, like, three weeks after we moved back my dad died. I'm so sorry. I knew that I needed a position or a job that will allow me the flexibility to be there for my mother. And so I started looking at medical coding and billing. Okay? I went back to school and learn how to be a medical coder and builder. And I worked in that in a doctor's office for two years and became a certified professional coder.
spk_2:
21:42
I'm sorry. That just kind of amazes me. You had problems with reading and spelling, and you became Ah, professional code Earth. Isn't that amazing?
spk_0:
21:54
Yes, that was what I did. And I passed the national very difficult certification exam for it. Wow. So I went worked in that field for two years and once it became certified, I wanted to find another job a little bit higher pay and I began to look and without sounding too religious, God hit me in the head with a brick basically and said, Go teach. And so I finally said, Okay, I'll go teach. So I started a business college junior college. You could sit a and I was there for secu tres. And while I was, I was teaching there because all you had to have was a bachelor's degree. I was teaching coding medical coding and billing.
spk_2:
22:43
Okay, well, that's perfect. I
spk_0:
22:45
was teaching anatomy in fist medical terminology. Psychology, because that's my undergrad. Human relations, ecology or environmental science. Microbiology.
spk_2:
22:56
Wow. These are a lot of different classes. Yes. Wow, You did all of this with a degree of psychology.
spk_0:
23:05
Yes, be impressive, because I had a lot of those nursing classes behind me. The pre nursing classes. That's why I was allowed to teach the medical terms and a and anatomy and fizz all of those things. While I was there, they came out. My boss stood up in a meeting and basically said, I need people to get more masters. So I have been looking online, and I found from the University of Maryland that you could get a master's in chemistry and life science. All one line except the one class. And so that's how I got my masters in chemistry and lifestyle.
spk_2:
23:41
Wow, you could do that all on line.
spk_0:
23:44
All but one class. I had to do a lab class in person.
spk_2:
23:49
Uh huh. Well, that makes sense. That's impressive, though,
spk_0:
23:53
so I did that locally. It was three years of running about as hard as I could run to do it, and my master's is in chemistry and life science and I took classes focused on human anatomy and physiology, genetics, those sorts of things.
spk_2:
24:10
So were you working full time while you were going to
spk_0:
24:14
school? They would not classify me as full time or part time at National College at the Business College, but I was carrying a heavy load. Yes,
spk_2:
24:24
wow, that's really surprising,
spk_0:
24:27
that's why. Okay, three years.
spk_2:
24:30
But that's not uncommon nowadays for it to take 2 to 3 years to get a master's degree, especially if you're getting a degree in a different feel than what you got your bachelor's. Yes, it's not uncommon at all. Wow! Well is a special education teacher myself. I know that there were times when parents are afraid to have their Children be part of the special education system because they don't want their Children to have that label forever. Do you think this is something that parents should be concerned about or that your parents were concerned about?
spk_0:
25:04
I think they were concerned, particularly my father. He knew what that meant. That label. Like I said, my mom didn't take it. Laying down the concern I have. The way his heir structured today is that I want kids to still have that flexibility to get out from under that label or out of these programs. If they accomplished what they need to accomplish to show that they're going to overcome it, right, If that makes sense as the college professor, now that I'm at a community college, I see accommodations come across all the time for students. And I know this isn't proper to say, but I struggle with some of them,
spk_2:
25:53
Do you
spk_0:
25:54
not? Because I don't think that accommodations or something we shouldn't give. But if I have a nursing student who's requesting more time to take tests, I am concerned not for the test that I'm giving them, but for their future.
spk_3:
26:11
Mmm.
spk_0:
26:12
Yeah, maybe a good nurse. If they need more time.
spk_3:
26:17
No.
spk_0:
26:18
Do I want that person to be une our nurse? Know what to be in charge of resuscitating may
spk_2:
26:25
That might be self limiting, though just like you were self limiting with your heart defect. That amazing thing about nursing is There's so many different kinds of nurses. All our nurses have totally different responsibilities compared to a school nurse compared to a nurse, a worse with cancer patients compared to a nurse who works in a cardiac unit where mad things are happening fast. You're right. You don't have extra time when you're in that kind of situation.
spk_0:
26:51
There are those concerns that I do have with accommodations because I know there you can limit you in the type of job you're gonna be ableto cheese.
spk_2:
27:03
So do you talk to your students about that?
spk_0:
27:06
No, depending on who they are and depending on how they approach me with it. But for the most part now I teach health information management. And so time limits aren't quite as important, like right as when I was teaching anatomy and fist so they can have more time. They can do those things. However I do stressed my coders that time's going to be of essence, even on the job, feel they're going to want you to be ableto code so many records so quickly and you're not gonna have necessarily all the time you want, even for someone who isn't learning disabled you might really have all the time. You
spk_2:
27:46
right? That's true. To investigate it. Yeah, I agree with you. And I think that's one thing that we see two generationally. It seems like there are differences in the way people behave. And I wonder if some of it is because of some of the accommodations that they were given in the real world. Doesn't always give you those kind of accommodations.
spk_0:
28:10
No. No. And I'm very grateful that I was removed from L. D at the end of seventh grade and that in some ways, that label didn't follow me. All right, so what it does mean is that I worked incredibly hard for all my degree,
spk_2:
28:28
right? But you're still able to achieve, And to me, that's what's so inspiring about your story. Kathy, you are able to progress to the point where now you're the teacher. I just love that story. It's amazing. So tell us what advice you have for parents of heart warriors today, whose Children might need those special service is,
spk_0:
28:49
I would say, take them, but also push them as best you can to explore the areas that the really interested in. I know sports can be very, very desire ing to put Children in. Hi. I couldn't run. I couldn't keep up with anybody. But for me, my passion has always been science, and I am very grateful that my parents did what they could. Two. Allow me to enjoy that. I grew up on a farm, so we butchered. I was out there with my hands and the animals drink. What's this organ? What's that? What's this don't have? And I think that helped me to continue to push forward in my education because there was that love off, something that I could do, and that was science.
spk_2:
29:44
I love that. That's perfect advice. Thank you so much for coming on the program today. Kathy.
spk_0:
29:50
You're very welcome. Thank you.
spk_2:
29:53
This was a lot of fun, and it's always inspiring to me to hear other people's stories and see how they deal with problems and turn those problems in tow opportunities. And I think a lot of times that's the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is the way they attack problems. And your parents. While I'd love to give your mom a hug, she just sounds amazing. Well, thank you that does conclude this episode of Heart to Heart With Anna Face Felicity today, Please check out our patri on page. We'd love for you to become a patron of our program. You could check out our Hug Podcast Network page, or you can check out our website. Go toot hearts. Unite the globe dot org's or patri on dot com slash heart to heart. That's all for today's episode, Please remember my friends. You are not alone.
spk_1:
30:43
Thank you again for joining us this week. Way. Hope you have been inspired on. Empowered to become an advocate for the congenital heart defect community. Heart to heart with Anna With your hose down, Dworsky can be heard every Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern time.
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