Jordan Greene is a college freshman with ADHD, an author, motivational speaker, and an advocate for individuals with LD and ADHD. In middle school, Jordan saw the bullying she and her classmates with LD or ADHD faced, and decided to do something about it. Ever since, Jordan has worked to educate others about LD & ADHD, and is spreading the message that there's nothing wrong with being different.
Learn more about Jordan and find her two books based on her own experience "The Confidence Club" and "My Gift of Difference" at https://www.jordanagreene.com/
Lauren Clouser (Host) 00:06
Welcome to the LDA podcast, a series by The Learning Disabilities Association of America. Our podcast is dedicated to exploring topics of interest to educators, individuals with learning disabilities, parents and professionals to work towards our goal of creating a more equitable world. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the LDA Podcast. I'm here today with Jordan Greene, she's a college student, motivational speaker, author and advocate. So Jordan, welcome.
Jordan Greene 00:33
Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 00:35
We're so we're so excited to have you. So could you start off to tell us just a little bit about yourself? What are some of your hobbies, your passions? What are you studying right now?
Jordan Greene 00:43
Yes, absolutely. Well, hello, everyone. My name is Jordan Greene. I am a freshman in college, and I'm studying education and law. And I'm an author, advocate and leader, and I am passionate about advocating for learning disabilities. So then my hobbies are I love to paint, I love to draw. I love journaling. But most importantly, I love being able to be an advocate and use my platforms on Instagram, and just social media to be able to advocate more for disabilities.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 01:09
Absolutely. Well, that's how we were able to connect as well as originally through social media, you've done a lot of posts, a lot of sharing awareness and spreading awareness, so you've been doing a great job so far. Would you be able to tell us about the journey of your learning disability diagnosis?
Jordan Greene 01:25
Yes, absolutely. Well, I have ADHD, and I found that I had ADHD back in when I was in fifth grade. I was always generally a pretty A, B student. I never really struggled in school. But in fifth grade, everything changed, I felt like I kind of just hit this wall. I couldn't remember what was taught in class. I couldn't pay attention. I couldn't sit still, I was very inattentive, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I would spend hours on homework every night, I would be crying on Sunday because Monday was coming and I had to go back to school. And no matter how hard I tried or studied or met with tutors, nothing was clicking. And my teacher said I wasn't trying hard enough. My parents were frustrated with me. My peers called me the slow kid. And that was like, what is happening? Why can't I learn? Why am I always the last one to finish my test and to turn in my assignments?
Jordan Greene 02:16
And then one day my parents wanted to get me...had the idea of maybe I had a learning disability. So I went in, and I got diagnosed with ADHD. And ever since then I've been on this journey of kind of embracing that and realizing how ADHD affects me, what are ways that I can put things in place so that I can be more successful in that. And it's led me here. So it's definitely been a beautiful, but long journey. But I've come to a place now where I'm just embracing that. And I just love my brain and how it works.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 02:49
Absolutely. Yeah, to go from that place of just frustration, to be able to get some answers to know what's happening, to know how your brain works. I'm sure that was huge.
Jordan Greene 02:59
Yes, it definitely was. At first I was like, okay, I've heard of ADHD, what does that really mean? So I went on the internet, and I was like, what is ADHD? How does it affect me? And I wanted to be an expert on how my brain works. I really had to put in work and research into knowing that. And it's paid off because I can now tell other kids, like, what this means and how it might affect you.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 03:22
Absolutely. So yeah, just to touch on that a little bit more, what led you from becoming somebody who has ADHD to somebody who has become an advocate for learning disabilities and ADHD?
Jordan Greene 03:33
Yes, that's a great question. Back in fifth grade, in middle school, I realized that I was not the only kid in my class who had ADHD, who had a learning disability. And I would watch, particularly one student in my class just beginning to kind of shrink back from themselves, they would feel so embarrassed when they had to read out loud because they were struggling to read. And they would...I would see other kids call them slow or call them dumb, and I was like,that's not okay with me. Like, we're not slow. We're not dumb. Our brains are different than yours and that's okay. So it was then just seeing incidents like that along my middle school career, I was like, someone needs to stand up, someone needs to break the narrative, break these like negative connotations, and learn to embrace it.
Jordan Greene 04:16
So I decided then that I wanted to be an advocate. And I wanted to begin to teach kids to embrace their own disabilities, because it really truly is a gift. So that's kind of how it started. And then that led me to publishing books and even some articles, and a whole journey of things.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 04:35
Yes, I can't wait to talk to you about your publications. But I love how you saw the problem. You saw, hey, this has a lot of stigma, and somebody should speak up about it. Why not me? So I love that and just something I wanted to ask too, you know, you mentioned some bullying, some feedback from people who are saying, 'oh, they're the slow kids.' How would you recommend somebody who might be in that situation now, who might be getting those labels? How would you recommend that they sort of overcome that? How can they build resilience?
Jordan Greene 05:07
Yes, the resilience is such an integral part of this journey and having that, but I would definitely say that I think first you have to embrace and accept yourself before you can expect that from anybody else. So for me, I really had to take time to be like, you know what, I don't mind if I'm not as fast as other kids, I do take a little bit more time. But that's okay. Because that's how I was made. And I'm fine with that. So I would really suggest getting to learn to embrace yourself, and being confident in who you are, know that it's cool that your brain works differently. Like that's like a kind of like a superpower that you have to really spend time in that. And don't worry about what anybody else thinks, because like, you're you and like, that's the most important thing. If we were all the same, it'd be a very boring place. So just start on the inside work. And for me, I did a lot of journaling during that time. Because journaling is how I express myself, I did a lot of journaling and self-reflection, and like, you know what, I'm gonna come out of this, and I'm gonna choose to embrace and just shine this new life that I have.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 06:06
I love that answer. Starting with yourself, realizing that you do think differently and that's not necessarily a bad thing. So to start with your publications here, can you tell us about your first book, My Gift of Difference? How did you decide to write that book?
Jordan Greene 06:20
Yeah, so the idea for that book actually came over Thanksgiving break. And in fifth grade I was with my family, and we were just talking about the school year so far. And I told my mom, I was like, Mom, these kids in my class, they don't understand what ADHD means. They don't understand what dyslexia or ADD means. And I want to be able to tell people, I want to share my story. And I want other kids to know that it's okay to be different. You don't have to feel shamed. And she said, well write a book about it. And I was like, oh, yeah, maybe I'll write a book about it. So I just started writing ideas, writing my story, writing questions and prompts that kind of helped me during that time. And a couple months later, this book was born because of just me wanting other kids to know it's okay to be different. I didn't want any other kid to feel alone like I did at first, because community is so important. And it's so beautiful. And that's how my book, My Gift of Difference was born. And since then, I've been able to travel across the country to speak to schools about it, and really empower those kids who might have felt left out or might have felt less than because of how their brain works.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 07:26
That's amazing. And again, it just all sort of ties back to your main message of just spreading the word that learning disabilities and ADHD aren't something to be ashamed of. Well, I just wanted to talk a little bit more, you have so many different endeavors going on. Could you tell us about the Confidence Club and The Shine Room?
Jordan Greene 07:42
Yes. So the Confidence Club is my second book that I published, and that one is kind of based on my life. I moved around a lot as a kid, and at every school it was kind of hard to find friends, it was kind of hard to build confidence. And I was like, you know what, I can use my story again to help other girls feel confident. So it's about a middle school girl who just moved to a new school in a new state, and how she just encounters mean girls, bullies, and how she learns eventually just to be confident in herself. Because part of what I want to be known for is just embracing other kids and helping them be confident. That's what that book is about.
Jordan Greene 08:17
And The Shine Room is one of my newest endeavors I'm doing, it's a series on my Instagram. And it's all about shining a light on diversity and inclusion. Because that space is often not well lit, people look at it as like a really sad or dark thing. But it's not, because we're here, we're loud about it, and we can be proud about it. So it's all about highlighting people in this community who are just doing amazing things. I have a new series episode is gonna go out pretty soon, actually. So stay tuned for that if you guys would like to see it. But it's all about just shining a light on different people or organizations or just like conventions that are in that disability and inclusion space.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 08:55
Absolutely, and we'd love to get some links for all of those things, too. We can include them in the show notes so people can follow up on what you're doing, I'm sure people would love to see that.
Jordan Greene 09:03
Yes, and actually, this happened really recently. But last month, I was invited to be the youth representative for the Georgia Learning Disability Association of Georgia's board of directors. And that is such a huge honor. I'm just so excited to see how this position goes. And it's very new. So I'm still kind of getting committed to it. But I'm just really excited and honored to be a part of the mission here in Georgia.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 09:29
Absolutely. Well, we're fortunate to have you on board. Well, and before we move on, are there any other publications that you want to talk about? I know you mentioned some articles.
Jordan Greene 09:39
Yes. So I did an article, I think a couple of years ago about vicarious trauma. And it's all just about like the trauma of human experience from being isolated from people. And as someone who has a disability, there's a lot of times where I just felt very isolated and didn't have community and felt very alone. But I wanted to bring a light to that and just provide more insight on community in that. So that's what that article is kind of about. And I wanted to just, you know, let other kids know that you're not alone out there. There's someone just like you, who is going to be confident in it and embrace that.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 10:11
Absolutely. Well, you just have so much drive and resilience. And I just wanted to know, where did you get that from? I know we talked a little bit about how it starts with saying, hey, I learn differently, there's nothing wrong with that. How have you built this into...it's been able to let you advocate for so many different people and spread the word and I'm sure help a numerous amount of people.
Jordan Greene 10:33
Yes, I'm so glad you asked this question because when I was first diagnosed with ADHD, that was one of the lowest points in my life, I felt like I was a mistake. I feel like there was something wrong with me, no matter what I did, like nothing would work. And I would just kind of sit in my room sometimes alone and just like, just wonder like, why me, what's wrong with me? And on one of those really dark days my mom came in and she showed me this Bible verse that says, "you are fearfully and wonderfully made." And it's like a light bulb went off in my head. I was like, wait, I really want to be me. But there's no mistake in me like I'm made just how I'm supposed to be. So my faith really gave me the confidence I needed to just use it as a gift and as a foundation to let other kids know you can just be who you want to be. And ever since then, whenever I have times where I do doubt myself, or because I'm in college, and school is still difficult for me, like I'm still on this journey. I go back to that verse. And I'm like, You know what? I'm fearfully, wonderfully made. And I want every other person out there to know that they are too and there's no mistake about you, and you're made just how you're supposed to be.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 11:37
I love that. Yeah, that's awesome. Well, and just if we could talk about that, too, I don't know if we've interviewed anybody who's currently in college right now. Could you tell us a little bit what it's like for you?
Jordan Greene 11:47
Yeah, so I'm a freshman in college. And this is my second semester, so I am like, really in the thick of it. And it's definitely different than high school. But I've realized the importance of advocating for yourself, because I went to a smaller high school and all my teachers knew me, knew my accommodations. But in college, your professor has a bunch of other students, and they may not remember everything that you need. So you really have to meet with professors and advocate for yourself and say, like, I have this accommodation. How can I take this test with this time, or whatever it is. But the journey has been a little bit rocky in the beginning. But I think that now I'm kind of finding my rhythm and finding that. But I realized that I do have to put in way more studying time than I did in high school, because this information is so much more in college. But it's been going really well. It really has helped me develop even stronger advocating skills for myself, and for other girls here on campus.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 12:41
That's so great. Well, I'm glad it's going well for you. So do you have a favorite experience while you've been advocating for learning disabilities and ADHD? Is there a moment that sticks out to you?
Jordan Greene 12:51
Yes. So actually, like I think, a couple of months ago, I'm on the National Center for Learning Disabilities Youth Council, and PBS reached out to them and wanted to do a documentary featuring some of the young advocates in college. And they recommended me for this opportunity. And a couple months ago, PBS came out to my campus and kind of asked me some questions and interviewed me about how my journey has been as a college student with a disability who is also an advocate. And it was just such a cool experience, because they have the cameras there, like I felt very important, like I was able to just share my story. And it airs soon, it has not aired yet. But it was a really, really cool opportunity. Because I was like, wow, my work is kind of paying off now. I think we're being able to just learn more about disabilities and not have this negative misconception about it. But it was very exciting, and I'm looking forward to more exciting things to come in the future.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 13:44
Absolutely. We'll have to look for that, that's awesome. So what advice would you give to another young person with LD, maybe somebody that's in that rough spot that you were years ago, but what would you say to them?
Jordan Greene 13:56
I guess I would say, don't give up. Like I know it's hard. I know you're struggling, I know it feels so long, but please, do not give up. Because we deserve the same amount of joy and peace anybody else does. I would say I know it's hard. I know you feel a lot, but please don't give up because there's something so special about you. And not everyone gets to think the way that we think, so it's kind of like a superpower. You know, just lean into that a little bit. But please don't give up and know that you are made exactly how you're supposed to be. There's no mistake about you.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 14:26
So tell us about your plans for the future.
Jordan Greene 14:28
Yes, so after I graduate, I want to attend law school. My big goal is to be able to attend law school and get my JD, but to really impact positively policy for education and disability in our school systems, like that's what my dream job would be, is to just continue to reform and create more equitable policies for education and disabled students in our schools. So after that, that's what I plan on doing. It's just working in that law and policy field, and hopefully that can lead to some more careers down the road. But I've definitely seen myself working closely with organizations like this. That's where my passion is. And I want use to my passion of law and advocacy back together.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 15:12
Absolutely. Well, we're definitely rooting for you. And we definitely need you.
Jordan Greene 15:18
Thank you so much.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 15:20
Well, and is there anything else that you wanted to add, or any other messages before we close out?
Jordan Greene 15:25
I think I would say just continue to be yourself and keep shining your light. We've all been given just this, you know, a light unique to you. And just to shine like, don't shy away, don't do it for anybody. Shine your light and be yourself because being different is definitely a gift.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 15:40
Absolutely. Well, Jordan, where can people find you? Where can they find your books? Where can they keep up with you, I will have some links in the show notes too.
Jordan Greene 15:48
You can connect with me on my website, jordanagreene.com. And the Greene has an 'E' on the end of it. Or my Instagram, which is @jordanagreene as well. And even on LinkedIn is Jordan Ashley Greene, I post a lot of my Shine series on there, my new books, and products coming out. So please, you know, stay tuned, follow or visit the website for all information. You can see my books on there as well. My books are also on Amazon.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 16:13
Awesome. Well, we'll have links to all of those things. And, Jordan, thank you so much for all of your advocacy work and for reaching out and letting people know that they're not alone and, just because they think differently that's a-ok.
Jordan Greene 16:26
Thank you so much for just all the work that you're doing. And just like looking out for this organization. I'm just so excited and honored to be a part of it. So thank you so much.
Lauren Clouser (Host) 16:42
Thank you for listening to the LDA podcast. To learn more about LDA and to get valuable resources and support, visit ldaamerica.org