About Jordan Toma
Jordan Toma has a powerful and inspiring message for young students with learning disabilities. He says, “My story highlights the struggles I endured from elementary school through high school. I am sending this message to students of all ages, parents, teachers, and anyone who has ever struggled in school or in life.
“Today I am thirty-two years old and currently a financial advisor a Real-Estate investor. I own a home, and I have a beautiful wife, a two year old, two great dogs, and another business on the rise. While my life is now filled with blessings, it wasn’t always this picturesque. I also have multiple learning disabilities that plagued me for the greater part of my life and made success seem impossible. I have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and a reading-comprehension learning disability.
“My life as a learning-disabled individual has been a roller-coaster of emotions. I let these diagnoses control my life and diminish my confidence for my first eighteen years on this earth. I let my disabilities define me. Disability became a label stuck to my shirt every day, a permanent name tag. My name tag said, I am not as smart as everyone else. I can’t do it, this, anything. The way I saw myself and how others saw me was a result of my experiences in school. Unfortunately, this inadequate identity grew roots into everything I did.
“I felt helpless in class. I struggled to understand why I couldn’t pick up information like everyone else. I remember sitting in class telling myself, I am going to try really hard to understand everything in class today just like everyone else and be a normal student. No matter how hard I wished it and how hard I tried, I couldn’t grasp the material. I was made fun of because sometimes I had to have special lessons, specified classrooms, and learning accommodations. Other students, even so-called friends, called me dumb.
“I let my learning disability and the way others saw me control me until I graduated from high school in 2008. Then, by the skin of my teeth, I was accepted into Centenary University on the terms that I complete a summer school program through the university called Step Ahead. At the time, I thought this program was a cruel punishment and yet another accommodation. However, during the course I quickly learned that it was changing my life. I moved into the university that summer filled with fear and anxiety. Despite my fears, I promised myself I was going to change. It was time to rip off the label that had plagued and limited me for so many years. With the help of Step Ahead and the power of my own will, I started building a foundation of confidence and belief in myself, brick by brick. It has delivered me to where I am today. Because I figured out a way to shed the skin of my disability, I feel the need to share my journey. I have an intense desire to help young students who can relate to my battles with learning disabilities. My desire is to help create the foundations of belief, confidence, and work ethic that you need to become the best you can be now, and not let anything ever get in your way.”
I needed the person who I am now to walk into my school when I was a student. Now I will be that person for someone else. —Jordan Toma