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Language disorder: Quebecer Marie Soleil LaBelle knocks on the door of the NASCAR series

Language disorder: Quebecer Marie Soleil LaBelle knocks on the door of the NASCAR series

Immersed in motorsports since she was 12 years old, the Outaouais driver knocked on the door of the prestigious NASCAR series while pursuing her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and computer technology even if she had to deal with a language disorder (LDD), formerly called dysarthria.

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When Marie-Soleil Labelle took up go-karting for fun with her father, she didn’t know she had a language-related disorder (LDD). She received the diagnosis on 3H High school, which allowed him to get help. She was also diagnosed with dyslexia.

“Before the diagnosis, I didn’t have the necessary tools,” she says. I was 14 when I got the resources to help me. In order to help people in my situation, I am the spokesperson for TDL Québec. I want young people with the same disorder as me to believe in themselves and their dreams. Just because you have a little difference doesn’t mean you can’t achieve big things. »

Marie Soleil Labelle during one of her visits to the Mont-Tremblant circuit.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Woodbury

No need to be shy

The 19-year-old pilot continues: “At first I felt shy and didn’t want to say it.” I integrate my disorder into my daily life every day. I realized that I had a problem that would always exist, but I didn’t want to define myself only as someone with a language disorder. »

After discovering karting, LaBelle began racing at the age of 14, and owned her own car a year later.

She drove the car in the Nissan Sentra series last summer. I became hooked while watching the TV show Slipping.

“Box”, back to the pits

Communication between driver and team is essential in motorsport and we had to develop some things taking LaBelle’s condition into account. TDL includes parallel language that can cause confusion in exchanges.

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“At first, I tried to form sentences, but we adapted by focusing on key words,” she explains. When the mechanic says to me “box box,” it means I have to go to the pits. Sometimes I have problems with sentence structure and the meaning of sentences doesn’t always work. I also have my own vocabulary sometimes. When I was younger, instead of saying turn off the lights, I said turn off the lights. »

Share your experience

“When I started racing, I didn’t want to talk on the microphone and hid in the trailer. Now I’m practically running for interviews. I was very embarrassed and didn’t talk much, but sport allowed me to get rid of the burden I had on myself. Motorsport gave me confidence and made me grow as a person »

She confidently shares her experience when given the opportunity.

“I can inspire people, that’s why I share my story. I talk to young people, but also to parents about the importance of providing good supervision for their children. Parents have to be flexible because the journey is more difficult. Having the opportunity to inspire people with a disorder and highlight Highlighting that feelings and sports can change the course of destiny is a valuable opportunity.”

Double baccalaureate

After high school, LaBelle skipped the CEGEP program to attend the University of Ottawa, where she began a dual bachelor’s degree, which she will complete in three or four years.

“I realized that TDL is not serious and that others succeed. My journey is much longer than that of an ordinary student and I have to make more sacrifices, but it is not the end of the world. It is just a different journey. I will be very proud when I finish my studies.”

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At the University of Ottawa, LaBelle is receiving the help she needs to succeed.

“There is someone who takes my notes, and I also have the right to the teacher’s notes,” she explains. It takes a long time to read and understand the questions. So I need more time. »

Father is always present

If LaBelle can count on help in school, she relies on a strong ally in her daily life.

“My father told me he would always be with me,” she admits. Because I cannot do everything on my own, my father is never far from helping and supporting me. Motorsport is not my father’s passion. My father is not a tank man, but he is retired and helps me. »

What is TDL

Developmental language disorder (DLD), formerly known as dysarthria, is a neurological disorder. It is a disorder associated with brain development. So it exists from birth and is permanent. Affects the understanding and/or expression of language. TDL is expressed by attacks of a nature and intensity that can vary. It has implications for the proper functioning of oral and often written language (comprehension of sentences and then texts, writing, etc.).

Sources: TDL Quebec and CÉNOP