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Wondering if I have dyscalculia


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Joined: Jul 12, 2008
Posts: 1
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Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 7:28:38 PM
Subject: Wondering if I have dyscalculia

Well, for several years (ever since I heard of the disorder) i have wondered if I had dyscalculia. I am almost out of college now and have no more math classes to take (I only took the basic ones since my major is unrelated) so having a diagnosis wouldn't do much for me at this point, but my math difficulties are still very present in the workplace or day to day life. I was just wondering if anyone could shed some info on this or tell me where I could go to get a test done or something to tell me if I have it.

The following are some reasons why I feel I might have this:

1) I have always done excellent in every other subject in school but math or any type of science that involves math (I am good at other kinds of sciences.) I have always had an excellent verbal and written ability and I read and write much faster than most people I know, and my spelling and grammar are very good naturally. I never tried very hard at all in school and yet I did decent/good in most subjects except math.

2) I am 23 years old but if I take an honest assessment of my math skills I would say they are maybe on a 4th or 5th grade level. I feel like everything I have learned since then has either confused me, or slipped away from me as soon as I stopped doing the constant homework that would drill them into my brain. I never was able to memorize all my multiplication tables. I only got up to the 5's but they passed me anyway and no one ever went back and tried to each me. I still do not know any multiplication tables after the 5's and I don't remember all of them before that, either. When I add or subtract I have to count on my fingers. Multiplication beyond the MOST basic (2x3, etc) either require a few minutes of thought and counting in my head, or a calculator. I can barely do long division-- I understand the concept when the dividing number is one digit but I have NO idea how to divide if the number is two or more digits. I have to use a calculator for this. If someone made me answer without a calculator I think I would just have to guess a random number. I am pretty much incapable of doing any math in my head-- even when I add numbers and don't use my fingers I am making mental scratch marks in my head to be able to do the problem. Whenever I close the register at work or try to caculate how much a paycheck will be or how much my groceries will come to I am ALWAYS wrong and get multiple answers on a calculator (or I am completely off on my estimate.) I have terrible spacial sense and direction. I have no sense of compass direction and until I was in high school I still had to sometimes hold up my left hand into an L to remember what was left (when I started driving I finally learned this well and I don't have to do that anymore. But when I first started driving it was a problem.) I get lost very easily, and even going into a store and then coming out can completely disorient me. I am terrible at estimating distance, length, or volume. I think I am more accurate at measuring time however. I also could not read a manual clock very well (I had to count around the outside) until I was almost in high school, but people made fun of me so much that I finally forced myself to learn it by having only manual clocks. It still takes me a moment and I can't tell just by glancing what the time is. 24 hour clocks also baffle me and I have to count manually from 12 to figure out what an afternoon hour is in 12 hour time.

3) Whenever I actually have to sit down and do a math problem (I had a required algebra course in college a couple semesters ago-- I tested into the lowest possible math course) it feels sort of like I have a giant block of stone and am slowly chipping away at it with a chisel to work out my answers. In contrast, when I have an assignment that is related to writing or reading, or understanding other types of academic concepts, it flows smoothly and easily and feels much more light and easy. I can't think of any other subject where I can actually feel the attempt to stretch my brain around something and just keep falling short. Math is extremely frustrating for me and I still have only the most basic skills despite the classes I have taken.

I do get very frustrated with my inability to do simple math. At this point in my life I guess it would not really help to know if I had dyscalculia or not but I feel that it would at least give me answers and reassure me that I'm not just stupid or lazy. I guess I am thinking about this subject again because I recently had a discussion with my boyfriend about learning disorders (he has mild dyslexia and ADD) and I described to him my problems with math. He said something about how he felt that way with reading and writing when he was a kid, and he is diagnosed dyslexic, so it made me wonder. Any advice?

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Louise
Joined Jul 10, 2008
Posts: 12

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Posted:Jul 18, 2008 5:23:46 AM

Hi Sparkbar. the only way you will find ot for sure if you have it is to have a proper assessment done. There are some signs in what you say but it is possible these are not LD based. It could be that the teaching instruction you had wasn't effective or whatever. If you think it would help to have a diagnosis and if you can afford the test (which can be expensive) then you could book an assessment.I have dyslexia and alot of the maths based problems that are associated with dyscalculia. The only way I learned maths was to find a way that worked for me and to teach myself. I now have an engineering degree and do maths every day at work but I still struggle with some things. For example I can trig and calculus but not mental arithmetic or times tables. Louise x

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rottiedog
Joined Jul 27, 2008
Posts: 7

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Posted:Jul 27, 2008 9:56:01 PM

Yeah, private testing is expensive but it's worth it. I've taken algerba nineteen times (I counted when I printed my academic transcript out) and still had to get it substituted in order to get my undergraduate degree. Lots of what you describe are things that I do (especially counting on your fingers)! Science is related to math and I was terrible at that as well. Although you may not see the need for testing now, I'd seek it anyway. If you can get it through disabled student services at your school before you graduate I'd do it cause it's free. So what if you're almost done. You might need it for grad school.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . .

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