Growing up not knowing she had learning disabilities affected Atira Roberson's education, and now she wants to help other kids who are struggling.
"I never thought I would be doing anything like this, but you know, I'm thankful for the opportunity because there are a lot of kids in Arkansas, a lot of Black kids in Arkansas, that deal with this," she said. "And the more I can raise my voice and go speak out as much as possible, then I hope I'm doing my job."
The Hot Springs High School graduate started her education in Catholic private school before switching to the public school system, she said.
"And then I was able to get tested, and that's how they found out I had learning disabilities," she said.
Diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia as well as an auditory processing delay, Roberson didn't find out about her disabilities until she was in college.
"As far as me finding out about it myself, I didn't really do that until I got to college because, you know, when you get to college, your parents are not really allowed to have access to a lot of your information," she said.
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"It was very, you know, eye-opening, and having access to an amazing disability resource center is what helped me also get more comfortable with navigating that. Because at first, I was very much ashamed of the fact that I had a learning disability.
"I just kinda got to a point to where I was like, 'Why am I gonna be sorry for something that has been assigned to me for a reason?' I can't shake it. It's not a bad thing. If anything, you know, it's a good thing, and (you) just have to learn to work with your learning disability, not against it, otherwise, you're gonna definitely go through a period of time where it's just something you don't wanna talk about."
Even after finding out about her learning disabilities, Roberson didn't let it stop her from receiving a bachelor's degree in public administration from Henderson State University, and she is currently working on her master's degree in public administration from the University of Texas in Antonio.
Roberson recently started a new job with Little Rock School District, in Mabelvale Elementary School, where she serves as the community school site coordinator.
She also served on the board for the National Center for Learning Disabilities' Young Adult Leadership Council between 2019 and 2021. Although she no longer serves on the board, she is still "heavily connected with the organization," she said.
"We've done a lot, but I think we need to do more because I'm only one voice in one picture of what it looks like," she said. "I mean, how many others are there, you know? And I always think, you know, I'm trying to do this because I want to be what I wish I had access to growing up because I did not see this."