Dyscalculia

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    How Dyscalculia Affected My Education and Career

    I always struggled with math. It was something that just seemed to be a roadblock for me. My parents never understood why I didn’t get math. My Dad is a genius at math and can do complex mathematical equations in his head. My mum is an elementary school teacher and took it personally that I never memorize my multiplication tables. They saw how I was intelligent and gifted in many other things but didn’t understand how I could just not get math. I was constantly being accused that I was just being lazy, that if I tried harder and practiced I would get it. In high school, I was able to pass my math classes with the help of a lot of tutoring and completing homework assignments. But when it came to the tests, I failed most of them. When I started college I had to take a placement test. Because I have trouble with math, especially without using a calculator, I was placed in the lowest math class. I had to take math classes for three years before I was able to reach college algebra and I swear to this day that the teacher took pity on me and gave me just enough points on my final to pass the class with a C. When I graduated from college with my BA in English, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I eventually decided that I was going to try and get into teaching. I wanted to teach English in a high school setting. To do this, I had to take the California standard test which they call the “CBEST.” The CBEST test determines your ability in math, English, and writing. I got a very high score on my English and writing, however, I missed passing my math portion by a couple of points. The math portion had to be done without a calculator and I always seemed to make simple mistakes on the exam. The numbers seemed to always switch on me and it would take me forever to do a problem due to counting on my hands or trying to do multiplication or fractions. I felt so insecure, like everyone was judging me. I tried taking the CBEST two more times in the course of about 10 years. As I watched my peers move into their careers and life, I continued to fail. I wasn’t even able to apply for grad school and a teaching credential program without passing the CBEST, even though I was going for a single-subject English credential. During that time, I worked in a high school as a paraeducator, never quite making enough money to move out of my parents’ house. I felt “stupid” and stuck in my education and career. It wasn’t until I was getting diagnosed with autism as an adult that I found out about dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in math. It’s associated with significant difficulty understanding numbers and working with mathematical concepts. It’s kind of like math dyslexia. Dyscalculia often co-occurs with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. Some of the symptoms include difficulty with: reading analog clocks memorizing math facts planning and being on time counting backward reversing or transposing numbers spelling issues directions or knowing left from right remembering names and dates calculating tips at restaurants fractions and place values When I saw this list, I had never felt more seen. I had trouble with all these things and always felt like I was “stupid” because of it. I never thought it was because of a learning disability. My story isn’t the only one like this. Dyscalculia can often be a big barrier and hold people back when pursuing higher education. It can affect being able to pursue career paths that aren’t focused on math just because of certain testing requirements. It is not realistic to not have a calculator when doing math. Even in retail jobs, when using “simple math” such as making change, you often have a computer to tell you what change to give back. If the computer does not tell you, often calculators are available to help. Yes, math is important in our society. However, having a learning disability in math shouldn’t hold you back when pursuing a career, especially if math is not the focus or will not be used in the position. There should also be accommodations for these tests, such as the ability to use a calculator, and being provided certain math formulas and extra time. This past year, due to the teacher shortage, I was able to get my CBEST waived due to the college classes I had taken. I am finally able to start furthering my education and get into the career I’ve been wanting for many years. While I’m extremely thankful that a math test will no longer determine my future, I’m also upset because of all the years I lost trying to pass a math test that wasn’t designed for people like me. Do you have dyscalculia? How has it affected your access to higher education or a career?

    Community Voices

    I'm new here!

    Hi, my name is MyGalSAL. I'm here because I was diagnosed with ADHD at 61. I'm probably autistic, dysgraphia and dyscalculia both scream my name.

    #MightyTogether

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    Kaden M (he/they)

    I Am Celebrating This Disability Pride Month

    Happy Disability Pride Month! I didn’t identify as “disabled” before I received my various diagnoses (due to lack of awareness that my struggles could be considered as such), but I’ve always had challenges with my mental health and the way I perceive the world. I started to see myself as disabled in college, when my neurodivergence and mental illness started to majorly impact and interfere with my functioning and the need for accommodations grew. That said, there is no right or wrong way to be “disabled.” It is an identity for some, and for me, I initially had shame. I hate to admit that, but I initially felt some shame around needing so much help. Today, I feel pride. Pride, not necessarily because I need accommodations, but pride because I realized I wouldn’t be who I am in all the good ways without my disabilities. I am an out-of-the-box thinker. I am creative. Resilient. Brave. Empathic and compassionate. Intuitive. A gifted creative writer and speaker. Are all of these traits because of my disabilities? Some would argue no, that they’re unrelated. However, I disagree. I think there is a strong tie between my struggles and my strengths. I have mental illness (bipolar disorder, OCD, CPTSD, anxiety, anorexia), learning disabilities (dyscalculia, NVLD, auditory processing disorder, and ADHD), and am autistic. I have heightened sensitivity to the world around me; I have meltdowns and breakdowns and struggle to work at times. I have had to take multiple medical leaves to get through college. I have accommodations in graduate school. I take six medications daily and go to therapy at least twice a week. I am privileged that I have access to such help. Not everybody does. I am disabled and I can still complete a lot of tasks, while others are near impossible. Some things I need help with and others none at all. Again, there is no right or wrong way to be disabled. I am disabled and I am proud. What can you do this July? Read and listen to more disabled voices — of all kinds! My disabilities are mental, emotional, cognitive, and sensory, but many have physical and intellectual disabilities. We must band together as not just a community of disabled people but a community of people — disabled and non-disabled coming together.

    Community Voices

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    Community Voices

    Teachers & Parents 🧭

    <p>Teachers & Parents 🧭</p>

    Coping With Not Driving Because of a Disability

    Every time I need to go somewhere I can’t walk to, I get in the car. This seemingly ordinary task is what many people do each day. The seat I always sit in is the same, no matter which vehicle I enter. I sit in the passenger seat of the car. The visual perception part of my learning disability makes driving neither safe nor possible. Being seated in the passenger seat, though, has enabled me to have a unique perspective on life. When most people hear about a person who struggles with visual perception, they think the symptoms start in the eyes. However, my visual perception struggles start in my brain. I struggle with depth perception, reaction time, and the coordinating mechanics that driving requires. It wasn’t a surprise to me or my parents that driving would create difficulties for me. Having dyscalculia not only affects my ability to do math, but it affects my hand-eye coordination as well. I flinch whenever an object comes near me. People would tell me “not to be afraid of the ball.” I wasn’t “afraid of the ball,” but my eyes would blink at even the softest ball that came in my field of vision. I struggled to coordinate my body and play competitive sports. In school, gym class was a nightmare for me! I was always dropping objects and was forever tripping over things. My parents wanted to wait a year before attempting to teach me to drive. The first try was not in a car, but instead, it was on the riding lawn mower in the green field. I didn’t make straight lines — I made circles. That summer, at least I figured out where crop circles came from! My one and only time behind the wheel was when my mom had me drive up the long driveway at my childhood home. It was fine… until I almost hit the garage door. Thankfully, my mom was there to stop the crash. I had a driver’s evaluation done at a rehabilitation hospital. I passed all of the tests — except the visual perception one. It was recommended that I not get my license. Not being able to drive didn’t bother me. I knew that I was going to have to live life differently if I couldn’t drive. I realized that I would need people to take me places. I also knew that living in a central location where I could walk or take the bus was going to provide more independence than living in the country. Sadly, my lack of driving ability has bothered other people. I have had people tell me that my not driving is “annoying.” I have also had people who told me I am “lucky” that I can’t drive. Once, when I broke up with a guy, he told me that he was tired of taking me places. He also said I “could drive if I wanted to.” Other people have pitied me for not driving. Not being able to drive has caused inconveniences and has made me plan much more than most people, but my view from the passenger seat also has many benefits. I help my husband when we are traveling by looking out for signs and places we want to go. He loves having me with him, and I love being his traveling companion. When I am not able to get a ride, I enjoy my walks. I am able to pick up on details that other people miss. I love taking pictures of flowers and other interesting things on my adventures. I also love getting extra steps in by walking. I am forever grateful for those who give me rides. The passenger seat may not be for everyone, but it is for me. The world needs both passengers and drivers to work together. The ride may not always be smooth or be a journey that people who can drive may understand. Still, the view from the passenger side may be different, but it can still be a beautiful ride.

    Community Voices

    Neurodiverse Adults zoom meetings 🧭♾

    We meet every two weeks as a group of Neurodivergent adults (including ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, everyone is welcome - diagnosed or self-identified)

    Wednesday June 8, 1:00 PM EDT (07:00 PM Brussels time)

    Join Zoom Meeting
    us02web.zoom.us/j/82970954687

    Meeting ID: 829 7095 4687
    Passcode: 758426

    Tuesday June 21, 1:00PM EDT (07:00 PM Brussels time)

    Join Zoom Meeting
    us02web.zoom.us/j/85046273028

    Meeting ID: 850 4627 3028
    Passcode: 026829

    Social Media for Neurodivergent Adults and their Work / Life balance:
    linktr.ee/NeurodiverseAdults

    #support #neurodiverseadults #navigatingneurodivergence #network #zoom #nd

    Community Voices

    Parents and Teachers of ND Students 🧭♾

    From time to time teachers and parents meet to discuss neurodiversity and any problems you are having.

    Social Media for Parents and Teachers, about Family Life and Education for Neurodiverse Children and Young People - autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia, and coexisting conditions.

    www.facebook.com/groups/addysasc

    Social Media - linktr.ee/ADHD_ASC_and_LD_Belgium

    #resources #support #assistance #navigatingneurodivergence #parents #teachers #neurodiversity #nd

    Don't Compare What People With Disabilities Can Do

    One of the most difficult parts of having a learning disability is often not the condition itself, but instead the reactions of others. I have had people think that if they can’t see my disability, then it doesn’t exist. The most hurtful thing, though, is when people compare me to other people with disabilities. When I was in college, a peer asked me why I couldn’t drive. When I told her that I can’t drive due to my visual perception, she responded by telling me that she knew someone who had a disability and could drive. There are people with learning disabilities who are able to drive, and there are also those who can’t. I have also had people assume that I must struggle with reading or have dyslexia because of my learning disability. When I tell them I have dyscalculia, few people are familiar with it. When I explain it’s a math disability, people compare it to their own struggles with math. I don’t know if someone truly struggles with math or has a disability, but I do know that I have a math-related disability that goes deeper than simply being “bad at math.” Another frustrating comparison is when people tell me that a person with a disability has achieved something “despite having a disability.” One of my middle-school teachers shared a story with us about a man who was paralyzed after an accident and could do many things. After sharing the story, the teacher said she didn’t want to hear us saying we couldn’t do something, because if he could do it, so could we. This teacher also denied my requests to go to my learning support teacher when I needed help on an assignment and to have tests read to me. She told me that I was becoming “too dependent” on my learning support teacher. Sadly, this was not the only example I have of being compared to another with a disability. I struggle with hand dexterity, so I’m unable to wrap gifts. I watched a video of a woman missing both of her limbs who was able to wrap Christmas presents. She said, “If I can wrap gifts, anyone can!” It still doesn’t change that no matter how hard I try, I can’t wrap gifts. My hand dexterity struggles make drawing and handwriting difficult. People have compared me to artists who didn’t have limbs and painted with brushes in their mouths. I saw a demo of an artist doing this at an art show, and he was truly talented, but I can’t paint well myself, and people shouldn’t compare me to him. I’m happy that other people with disabilities have found ways to do everyday tasks and pursue their passions. What is frustrating, though, is the idea that these happy stories can turn into “inspiration porn.” “Inspiration porn” objectifies the person with a disability and their ability. Many people get the false idea that people with disabilities can do anything. When the person with the disability can’t perform to those expectations, they are often shamed or labeled as “lazy” — even though they aren’t. Another difficult comparison is when people say that others “have it worse” or are more disabled than I am. I once struggled at a job and heard my boss tell me that another employee was “more disabled” than I was as a way to tell me to do the job better. When I couldn’t perform my job duties to their satisfaction, I was fired. I’ve also vented to peers about the frustrations of struggling in classes. People told me that other people “had it worse” and to stop complaining. This reaction hurt me because my struggles matter as much as anyone else’s. I realize that each disability brings its own challenges and joys. I also realize that all people struggle at some point in their lives. Everyone with disabilities will experience their disabilities differently — even if they have the same type of disability. What works for one person may not work for someone else. In order for me to be successful, I have to look for different ways to do things. Some things, such as math or driving, I simply can’t do. Telling me to “be grateful for what I can do” or pointing out other people who can do these things is not helpful. What is helpful is when people listen, accept, and honor not only the disability but also the person with the disability. When we compare and judge people with disabilities, we often don’t get to truly know and love them for who they are.

    Community Voices

    Trapped in Oregon for real this time, I promise

    <p>Trapped in Oregon for real this time, I promise</p>
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