Why See This Film?
The primary goal of this film is to help young people struggling with ADHD and LD reach their full potential. Their odds for success increase dramatically when they have the support of their parents, teachers and community members. Some ways in which these stories can increase those odds:
Change how the public, families, teachers, employers, and often the people with LD and ADHD themselves, view these issues. Shift the focus away from the deficits and focus on creative ways to access strengths.
Stimulate new ways of thinking about careers and the future by identifying strengths and strategies for managing LD and ADHD issues.
Motivate people with LD and ADHD to persevere in their efforts to develop skills and strategies leading to success.
Inspire hope in people with LD and ADHD- and around them- that their lives can be full and rewarding.
Who Should See This Film?
Students with LD and ADHD in middle school, high school, college
Parents of children with these issues
Teachers and Educators concerned with ADHD and LD
Young people with these issues transitioning to the workplace
Adults and young adults with LD and ADHD exploring their own paths to success
Employers working with people with these issues
Anyone who cares about these issues and the people who live with them
Audrey Bentley-Student at Michigan State University
Audrey was an angry little girl, frustrated that she could not comprehend what her classmates seemed to learn so easily. A talented athlete, Audrey gave up on academics and focused on getting into college on a soccer scholarship.
When an injury destroyed that option, Audrey had to face her multiple learning disabilities, anxiety and ADHD, seek the help she needed to succeed, and find another way to pursue her love of athletics. Along the way, Audrey discovered she was a very bright young woman.
Dave Cole was diagnosed with severe ADHD in second grade. As a teenager Dave became addicted to drugs and alcohol, dropped out of school, and lived on the streets. His journey to sobriety, an Ivy League education, and an accomplished career as an internationally recognized sculptor illustrates both the difficulties and possibilities that are often inherent with LD and ADHD.
LeDerick Horne-Poet, Advocate, Motivational Speaker
When LeDerick was in first grade his mother was told he had a learning disability. Despite his mother’s best efforts to help him, LeDerick knew his work fell far short of his abilities and in high school he contemplated suicide. Determined to realize his potential, LeDerick found ways to face his challenges and graduated with honors from college.
Today he is a successful advocate, speaker, and poet who is determined to help young people embrace their own challenges and let go of their shame.
Nicole Vaiani-Master Colorist, Salon Owner
Nicole was a confident happy child until early problems with reading and writing robbed her of her self- confidence. It wasn’t until Nicole enrolled in a technical high school that she discovered an area that she not only enjoyed but also excelled in- cosmetology. Today Nicole's salon turns out 400 beautiful people a week.
Krys Kornmeier has been a producer/director for over twenty five years. Her work has taken her across the globe to countries including China, Borneo, Africa and Jordan. She has produced non-fiction programs on a variety of topics for Discovery, Animal Planet, Global View Productions, Turner Broadcasting and The Smithsonian Networks HD Channel. EarthScope, a thirteen-part environmental series for which she served as Executive in Charge of Production, was honored with a Cable Ace Award. CritterQuest, a three -part nature series for children she produced and directed for The Smithsonian Network, won a 2008 Golden Eagle Cine Award for Non-Fiction Children’s Programs.
Kornmeier produced and directed Zoo Vets, a one- hour film about the National Zoo’s veterinary team that aired on The Smithsonian Network’s HD Channel. She directed two seasons of Hoarding: Buried Alive! for Discovery's TLC. She has also produced a number of short films for educational institutions and organizations that reflect her belief that her job is to bring an authentic and respectful approach to the story that honors both the subject and the viewer.
The seeds for NORMAL ISN'T REAL: Succeeding with Learning Disabilities & ADHD were sewn over 20 years ago when my husband discovered that our seven- year old son couldn’t read the one - syllable word that he had "sounded out" just moments before. We would soon learn that Jack-a child who loved books and stories- had learning disabilities (LD) and ADHD. This was a stunning revelation that launched us on a journey for which we had no experience or road map.
Delving into the world of LD and ADHD, I learned that Jack's challenges are shared by at least 1 in 5 people. Many are very bright and often highly creative; they include some of our most successful leaders in every field. But these same issues can result in early school failures that spiral into a loss of self -esteem and derail a bright future. A disproportional number of youths in correctional facilities have been diagnosed with LD and ADHD issues.
The more I learned the more it became clear that to succeed Jack would need to discover his strengths and develop them. He would also have to confront his challenges and manage them, and there is no formula for figuring this out. Jack had to become an expert on himself, and we would need to help him. We all needed a perspective that would have helped us see beyond the current challenges and into a future where the differences were not only managed, but often the reason for success.
Where could we find real life examples of what it is like to live successfully day -to -day with LD and ADHD?
My vision for this film was to capture the stories of 4 young adults who would allow the viewer into their daily lives-showcasing their talents, venting their frustrations, and employing some of the strategies they use to work around their difficulties and utilize their strengths. The goal was not to illuminate the latest research or brain science around LD and ADHD, but to share the experiences of successful people with these issues in the hope of inspiring young people like them, their families, and teachers to persevere, accept and celebrate their differences, and give them tools to apply to their own lives.
Jack is on his way to a successful life and I am enormously proud of him. This film is one that would have helped us all along his winding road to success. It has been my profound honor to tell Dave's, Nicole's, LeDerick's and Audrey's stories. I am grateful to them, their families and the others in the film for their willingness to share their candid perspectives. They did so in the hope of helping others figure out not only how to survive, but to thrive.
- Krys Kornmeier