As far as I can remember, numbers have meant absolutely nothing to me. I’m frequently late to social events, meetings, and nail appointments. I get lost at my place of work, at least once a week. When I pay for things in cash, there’s a good chance I under pay. Some may read these behaviors as a reflection of poor character, but the reality is I have a learning disability called dyscalculia.
A letter to the editor of the FT about an article they ran a while ago. The article suggested that everyone should have math education until age 18. The writer of the letter to the editor maintains that children who have trouble with math should not be forced to take math until 18. Here is the concluding quote:
Forcing children who don’t have mathematical brains to study it not only destroys their self-confidence but can destroy that most precious joy, the joy of learning. Maths can ruin lives as well as make them.
Because of the societal stigma that comes with struggling with maths, people seem to think it’s acceptable to laugh about it. Working in a pub, I try and stick to waitressing as often as possible to get out of working the till, as I often come across customers who decide that my hesitance and double or triple checking of their change is something to laugh at or comment on. I don’t think they realise how patronising and embarrassing it is – and I don’t help myself by laughing it off or preempting it with a “bear with me, I’m awful at maths” – it’s just that I can’t look at a handful of change and tell you if it’s correct without second-guessing myself.
Reddit is a site where people exchange messages and there are sub reddits for various interests. Well there is one about the game Dungeons & Dragons and someone in there is asking what to do now one of the players in their team has joined with Dyscalculia. Amazing to see the creativity of that community to try and help him out. Not all suggestions are good or make any sense but wonderful how they all try to help. By the time I read it there were over 70 comments.
A great photographer, who is diagnosed with dyscalculia, is interviewed and here is what she had to say about it:
TNS: What is your greatest challenge while photographing. You’ve been diagnosed with dyscalculia. Does that make adjusting aperture and shutter speed the most difficult bit, or could it be safety/security concerns?
SK: In knowing and owning your disability, which in my case as you rightly stated is dyscalculia, I feel it has given me a strength and clarity which I may never have had had I not got the diagnosis.
Read the personal story in our link for today. The passage that struck me was the one below where the writer shows creativity to deal with the ignorance of the teacher.
When I was in 3rd grade, the teacher saw me counting on my fingers and told me I needed to do math in my head. I knew I couldn’t do that, so I’d count objects around the classroom instead. When the teacher noticed me looking around the room, she told me to stop “daydreaming.” Since there were a lot of times I actually was off task and not paying attention, I got told to stop daydreaming on a regular basis.
What I didn’t know at the time was that, in addition to ADHD, I have dyscalculia.
In our link for today a saga from an employee who got lots of accommodations for a required test, failed and then still sued to get more accommodations but the tribunal who judged it decided that the organization had done enough.
Read this interesting story about a would be photographer who didn’t get passed using the iphone with instagram, until at a workshop the workings of the NIKON camera were explained in such a way that a person with dyscalculia could understand it.
Listen to the story of a single mom who tried to get support for her child with dyscalculia. When that didn’t work out she took action and changed her life to support her child.
To support Moms like this Dyscalculia Services has developed a resource of over 35 videos and over 150 downloadable pages with tips, examples, tricks and games to help teach your child Math. See it at MomsTeachMath.com
A post from someone describing symptoms and who is wondering if this is dyscalculia or a phobia for arithmetic. Well our advice would be to go to https://dyscalculiatesting.com and take the math and dyscalculia screening test to get a better insight in what is happening.
No we are not talking about the movie hero here but a regular guy, who is our hero and blogs at BlokeofSteel.co.uk In the post that we link today he tells his personal story about how he found out that he had dyscalculia through a comment his wife made. Since he is been raising awareness for it, which we appreciate.
It’s been shown time and again that when a problem is given to a group consisting of 99% neurologically identical people, the solution is more often than not provided by the 1% neurological outlier. That outlier may well be considered disabled or disadvantaged most or all of the time. But to supporters of neurodiversity, people are perceived as disabled because they are at the extreme edge of the ability pond; not because they are damaged.
A personal story about someone who struggled with dyscalculia and then moved on to become a special ed teacher with a masters degree. Read the story and note that she got only detected in grade nine. Another good example of why we need to push for early screening in schools and if not in schools, Parents need to be aware. See our latest website http://dyscalculiaaware.org
Read the story in our link for today from someone who wanted accommodations for her dyscalculia in college. She just got flat out told that the accommodations were unfair!
A little over a year ago, I was discussing my accommodations before an upcoming exam with a professor of mine. Even though he signed the agreement to the accommodations from the university, he was still confused about the whole thing. He then proceeded to express his feelings of how my accommodations were “unfair to the other students.” I knew then that the semester was going to be an uphill battle.
It would be so great if people who are educators get themselves trained in a dyscalculia awareness training, so they stop missing early signs and understand that accommodations try to rebalance the playing field, like a ramp for someone with a wheelchair and the handicapped parking at the grocery store.
Today a good reminder from Rocket City Mom that when our children get diagnosed with a condition we tend to focus solely on the challenges this will bring. But there is always the other side of the coin (or medal) with opportunities and strengths that the child also has and develops. A good encouragement to focus on that part of the issue for a change.
Watching the first part of Stupidhead!, the lovable, sincere and silly musical comedy about dyslexia, one is suspicious that its writer-performer is even dyslexic. For one thing, she can spell d-y-s-l-e-x-i-a, something that even Einstein could easily not do. She has trouble with math, organizational skills and directions home – same here – so maybe she’s not so much dyslexic as she is harebrained.
Turns out, Katherine Cullen suffers from dyscalculia, a numbers-based dyslexia that is a legitimate (if niche) learning disability and, as one can imagine, an utterly frustrating condition. Which is what Cullen’s two-hander Stupidhead! is all about: Frustration – frustration with one’s brain, and the audacious overcoming of shame and limitations.