The Dominate Test Prep Podcast

51. Succeeding in School — and Life — with a Learning Disability, with Dr. Shirag Shemmassian

October 14, 2021 Brett Ethridge / Dominate Test Prep
The Dominate Test Prep Podcast
51. Succeeding in School — and Life — with a Learning Disability, with Dr. Shirag Shemmassian
Show Notes

Achieving the highest levels of education is challenging even under the best of circumstances. But if you’re dealing with a learning disability or other life challenges? Then it can be even harder. Yet, success is possible — even likely — if you adopt the right mindset and take advantage of the opportunities and accommodations afforded to you on your journey.

In this episode, hear the inspiring story of Dr. Shirag Shemmassian, founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting, who overcame Tourette Syndrome en route to getting a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA. An expert in mental health, Dr. Shemmassian shares valuable insight and first-hand experience to help guide students through the admissions process and succeed in school — and life — while dealing with various conditions. Specifically, in this episode we discuss:

  • Dr. Shemmassian’s own journey from being diagnosed with Tourette’s as a child to success as a pre-med student and ultimately earning his Ph.D. and launching an international consulting firm;
  • Common learning disabilities students deal with, and the important distinction between the condition itself and the impairment it manifests;
  • How impairments can change over time, and what it may mean for you during different phases of your educational and career journey;
  • Accommodations that are available to students with disabilities, both for taking standardized tests and once they get on campus;
  • Tips for how to address your condition — if at all — during the application process;
  • How to handle the desire to “hide,” and where to find the fuel to achieve your goals;
  • Why you shouldn’t be reluctant to take advantage of any accommodations that may be available to you, and a more helpful mindset to adopt with respect to your difference;
  • And more!

A learning disability doesn’t have to limit you as you’re pursuing your educational and life goals. Countless people have overcome incredible obstacles to achieve the highest levels of success, and you can, too. Whether you have a learning condition or not, you’ll be inspired by Dr. Shemmassian’s story and learn important keys to unlocking your own potential. Enjoy!


  1. [Video] Dr. Shirag Shemmassian shares his story of Living with Tourette Syndrome
  2. Connect with Shemmassian Academic Consulting
  3. Meet Ibrahim Hamadtou, the double-amputee Egyptian ping-pong champion who plays with the paddle in his mouth
  4. Boost your standardized test score with Dominate Test Prep's industry-leading prep courses


If you enjoyed this episode, we encourage you to check out these other similar episodes of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast:

  1. Episode 25: How to Find the Motivation to Study
  2. Episode 17: Nutrition Hacks for Improved Focus, Memory, and Mental Clarity, with Dr

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