Dyscalculia for 24 hours

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Read the great story by one of the students from Dyscalculia Services

Maya Terral 2/10/2019
Dyscalculia for 24 hours
I have a disability that has always been a challenge. It doesn’t restrain me physically, however it is still a thorn in my side when it comes to daily life. My disability is called dyscalculia, a math learning disability that makes number comprehension and understanding basic math concepts very difficult.
Dyscalculia is not as well known as other learning disabilities like dyslexia. For someone with dyslexia, it isn’t common that they have to explain what it is to others, but dyscalculia is a different case. I barely know anyone who is familiar with dyscalculia, and personally, I do not find that fair. Dyscalculia should be given just as much attention as dyslexia and any other learning disability because it is just as much of a struggle for those who have it.

Some of the more discernible symptoms of dyscalculia are high math anxiety (which I no doubt have), trouble memorizing or remembering math facts, and lack of number sense. I also struggle with paying attention in class. The teacher will be talking and I will try to pay attention, but in my head, I am in a totally different universe and am not listening to a single word the teacher is saying. Sometimes I have to admit I zone out voluntarily, but most of the time I can’t help it because I don’t understand what I am supposed to be doing. Teachers will often try to help me by breaking down the problems to attempt to
make it easier for me to understand. Many times though, it instead becomes more puzzling. Most math teachers I’ve had think that to make a problem easier to understand, they have to add an overwhelming amount of steps to it, which is the opposite of what kids like me need. When the teacher tries to explain how the problem is executed, far too many words are used and they get jumbled in my brain. I’ve been accused of not trying or not caring many times by math teachers who don’t understand what it is like to have this disability and haven’t had the training to teach math to kids with dyscalculia. Math for kids with dyscalculia happens in the right brain, not the left, which is why more words mean more confusion. Math must be more experiential and have more visual aids and real life examples to help me. Sadly all this misunderstanding, in addition to the difficulty with me grasping the concepts, automatically gives me a negative opinion of math, and probably a negative opinion of me to my math teachers.

If I had a superpower it would be the ability to give everyone in the world dyscalculia for 24
hours so they would understand the real struggles that come along with it. I hope that when those 24 hours are up, people would have a better understanding of what I and everyone else with dyscalculia are going through and that it is not something to be overlooked or disregarded as merely a dislike for math.

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