Not being able to communicate as effectively as everyone else has made a huge impact on my life. Having NF1 as well as A.D.D makes you think and act very differently than most people of any age. You don't know how to handle social situations like “normal” children. Making and keeping friends has been difficult my entire life. As a child, there were times when I was bossy, impatient, moody, aggressive at times and very eager to be a part of everything. But at the same time I was friendly, always eager to share with others, well-behaved, nice and did my best to be helpful, perhaps to counteract the times I seemed to misbehave. Looking back. it's not hard to imagine that it was difficult. It made socializing and relating to people very difficult growing up.
I managed to get through high school with very few problems. I attended a small all girl's school, where they had very little knowledge about how to handle someone with disabilities, let alone NF, I managed to get through my education without much (if any) of their “help”. I was exempt from a language until I felt too embarrassed to explain my need for the exemption and took French my last two years of school.
High school surprised me with administration's lack of knowledge of learning disabilities, but the teachers had some degree of knowledge of them. In grade school most children with various disabilities were in mainstream classrooms, there were social workers and most of the school administration and teachers had at least some knowledge of students with special needs. So from my perspective as a child, I never thought having disabilities was a big issue, just an annoyance. In high school, I always felt as though the principal and guidance counselor treated me like I wasn't able to do anything. I knew they didn't understand and probably didn't really want to. It angered me when I would hear their tone and their words, as if they looked down on me.