As a result of a learning disability, Dakota struggled to get through her undergraduate years, but came through graduate school with flying colors. But as she began her employment career, her troubles began. First she was assigned a mentor named Valerie whose idea of mentoring was to come to the class ten minutes before the classes ended. She finally quit the teaching profession. At her next job, her boss was a paraplegic who ran a center for independent living with a strong hand. Because she was physically disabled she felt superior to those whose disabilities were invisible.
"I'm not like them," Tennessee Reed would tell her teachers to get them to see that the approach they used for students with '"normal" brains didn't always work for her. As it turned out, she was different in quite a few other ways as well, including the great reserves of courage she could call upon to fight an educational system that often defined her disabilities as laziness or stupidity.
"I admire your poems very much…your exceptional imagination and profusion of imagery, your spirit, your perceptions, your sensibility. I treasure your book and really eagerly look forward to reading more…"
--Adrienne Kennedy, Obie award winning playwright