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A New Kind of Facebook, for Young Adults with Learning Disabilities

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Hello everybody! My name is Quinn C. Bradlee. I was born on April 29, 1982. I just started working for The HealthCentral Network about a month ago to help head up FriendsOfQuinn.com, a new social networking site that will allow young adults living with learning disabilities to connect with one another and share their stories.

When I was born I had two holes in my heart. One closed up by itself, but I had to go into surgery for the other when I was three months old. During the surgery I went into heart failure, and when I came out, the doctors told my parents that I would never be able to read, write, spell, make friends, play sports, go to school, go to college, and that I would have to spend the rest of my life in an institution. I was later diagnosed with Velo-Cardio Facial Syndrome, which is the second most common syndrome in America after Down 's syndrome. VCFS is characterized by 30 different features, some of the most common of which are heart defects, distinct facial characteristics, learning disorders and speech problems - all of which I live with or have dealt with. I have been in special schools all my life.

The first school I attended was the Lab School of Washington, DC for twelve years. I was there from K-9 grade; I was held back once. I left my freshman year in high school and then went to boarding school at The Gow School up in Buffalo, New York for four years; I repeated the ninth grade. During the middle of my first year at Gow, my math teacher, who also just so happened to be my adviser, called home to my parents and said to my mom, "there are some people that get math, and some people that don't, and Quinn is just one of those people who doesn't." Well at the end of the year when they were giving out academic awards, wouldn't you know that when they got to the mathematics awards, they called out my name. It was only for Pre-Algebra, but I think I am the only one in my entire families' history who has ever received a mathematics award.

I never ended up graduating from college, but I completed two years at Landmark College, which is located in Putney, Vermont, then went to American University for a year, and finally spent one year at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), where I studied directing and editing films. I had always thought that I would make documentaries and movies; I never thought I would end up working inside an office. But my dad was a Classic Greek major and he is now a journalist, so I guess what you study in college doesn't always matter after all. Some of the most intelligent and successful people in the world never even went to college. And that's part of the reason I wanted to start a website for people with LD - so that everyone out there who feels just a little bit different or left out can meet others who understand, and know that it's okay, we're all in this together and we can succeed.