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Orianna2000
02-17-2013, 03:29 AM
I recently learned that I have a learning disability called dyscalculia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia). It's sort of like dyslexia, but with numbers. Only, there's a lot more to it. It causes difficulty with numbers and math, as well as trouble reading analog clocks, trouble telling left from right, trouble reading maps, and difficulty conceptualizing time. Plus, there are seemingly unrelated symptoms, like being oversensitive to sounds, lights, and odors, and having poor name/face matching ability. The symptoms list is like a description of my life!

I found it especially interesting to note that people with dyscalculia are more likely to have vivid imaginations and--get this--the disorder is more common among writers.

So, how many of you guys have been diagnosed with dyscalculia or think you may have it based on the list of symptoms? How has it interfered with your life?

I'll go first. The left/right trouble causes me problems constantly. When I'm navigating for someone who's driving, I have to say, "Turn my way," or "Turn your way," because it takes too long to figure out which way is left and which is right. I can't do math, period. It's taken me several years to memorize my own cell phone number and I still hesitate when someone asks what it is. I'd be lost without the Contacts list on my phone. Oh, and I always have trouble shopping, because even with a calculator, I can't figure out how much the stuff in my basket is going to cost. It's why I love shopping online so much. The online shopping cart gives me a total, so I can figure out whether I need to remove items or if I can afford to buy more. As for conceptualizing time, I have no concept of time. The best example I can give is that, at my wedding, I mentioned to my grandmother how my grandfather had died the year before and how sad it was he couldn't be there. She looked at me with shock, because apparently it had been more like five years. (Oops!)

Medievalist
02-17-2013, 03:48 AM
It's about as common as dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and dyslexia, all of which are frequently associated because they have overlapping areas of affect and similar symptoms.

kaitie
02-17-2013, 04:07 AM
I haven't been and don't think I am, but listening to your list of symptoms is interesting because I've had problems with many of those things. I mix up left and right all the time (oddly, I'm better at this in Japanese than English). Drives people crazy when I'm navigating because I'll say "turn left" and then realize as they start to turn that I meant "right." I'm awful with directions, but after a lot of practice have gotten better at reading maps. I used to be completely hopeless, though. I can't be around loud noises, in particular loud high-pitched sounds.

My boyfriend has to turn down the radio in his car before I can get in because it blasts my ears. I'm not sure I'd say I'm sensitive to odors other than vanilla, which makes me nauseous. Incense and what not I'm okay with.

My face/name recognition is awful. I'm a teacher, and it usually takes me at least a couple of weeks to start getting names, and even then if we leave the classroom I lose them again. Oddly, I remember where people sit, so I always look for a person where they were sitting. I can tell you that by the second day, but if people change seats I couldn't pick out who is who anymore. My students have figured this out and think it's funny to switch. :tongue

I'm okay with most math, though. Certain higher order math, anyway. I passed an AP calculus test back in the day. I couldn't do word problems to save my life, but putting random numbers into formulas? I rocked that. Basic stuff, though? Kicks my ass. I have never been able to do long division. I have to add and subtract big numbers backwards from the way I was taught because the original way just never made sense to me. Then there was that great moment in class the other day when I said 1993 was ten years ago. That was embarrassing. ;)

But yeah, like I said I don't think I'd actually qualify for a diagnosis of this nature as I've never had a problem with any of these things interfering with my life. I always did pretty well in school, actually enjoyed math to a point (especially when I had a teacher who taught in different ways, which made it easier).

I just think it's interesting that a lot of what you mention is all connected. It makes me wonder if having an active imagination is connected to all of this in general.

Btw, I've typically been awesome with time. When I paid more attention to it, I used to never set an alarm clock because I could just decide what time I wanted to wake up and I would (can't do that anymore). I used to always be able to tell you what time it was within three minutes. It was kind of ridiculous. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has the craziest sense of time I've ever seen. He'll talk about something that happened "yesterday" that was two weeks ago. If he says something will take two minutes, he really means ten or fifteen, and if he says ten or fifteen, I can usually bet on it taking more like an hour. It took a lot of getting used to lol.

muravyets
02-17-2013, 04:14 AM
I may have it, but I'm not sure.

I can intuit basic math so I can actually predict project costs accurately, but I cannot do calculations at all. Never could. When I was a kid, I could tutor my classmates for math tests that they would then pass but I would fail.

I think I sometimes transpose numerals in sequences of numbers without realizing it, and without seeing it myself when I read my own written numbers, though other people sometimes tell me I wrote down a phone number wrong, for example. I got into a big fight about it with an ex-boss once. He had a client who kept calling him and leaving a number, and I'd write it down, read it back to him, he'd say I had it right. But when the boss tried to call him later, it was the wrong number. I thought the client was getting it wrong, because of the reading back thing, but now I'm not sure. Anyway it pissed me off because it was always the same number and my boss had it in his address list anyway, so I thought he was just being a dick to make me keep writing it down for him. Anyway, that was made me start to wonder if I might have some version of dyslexia.

But all that doesn't happen all the time, because I often proofread spreadsheets and write down phone numbers and get that done properly. I'm not sure what to make of it.

I have almost no sense of direction. My ability to get lost is kind of legendary. I can read maps, so I'm okay as passenger seat navigator (with caveat below), but I can't always relate the map to the physical world around me, so I have trouble guiding myself with a map. I have a boss now who gives visual directions -- when he wants me to go somewhere in the campus for him, and I ask where it is, he'll actually point out the window to show me, and I can't make him understand that "it's over there" and a series of turn directions mean nothing to me once I get out on the ground.

Geometry is right out. I can't wrap my brain around building things or charting things, especially in planning stages. I can spin yarns but not set up a loom to weave them. I can knit a fitted garment without a pattern but I can't figure out the 2D-to-3D planning to cut fabric and sew it into a garment. Architecture -- figured out as a small child that was probably not going to be my field.

I am forever transposing the words "left" and "right" and "up" and "down," but I don't know if that's this syndrome or just Spoonerisms. But it does add comedy to the passenger seat navigation thing. This is that caveat I mentioned above.

I also have no talent for music at all, and though I can hear music properly, I can't properly hear my own voice making music, so I have no ability to sing. I can't hear when I'm off key to be able to train myself to stay on key. My father had similar issues with math and music, so I must have gotten it from him, because almost everyone on my mother's side is musical.

Meanwhile, I have always had a talent and affinity for words, language, storytelling, imagination, reading, writing, and visual arts. Go figure.

The brain, she is a funny creature.

Pearl
02-17-2013, 04:15 AM
I did poorly in math all through my school life - from 1st grade to even an economics class in college. In high school, I had to be put into a special-ed type of math class even though I got As and Bs in my other classes.

These days, I get anxiety when I have to do anything math related. My check book can be a mess sometimes because of all the mistakes and corrections.

I don't understand why dyscalculia doesn't get enough attention as dyslexia. Both have the same amount of people (7% of the population), yet so few are aware of dyscalculia. I wish I was diagnosed when I was a kid, instead of being yelled and mocked by my teachers for not understanding math at all. I also wasn't lazy or careless; I just didn't get it.

kaitie
02-17-2013, 04:25 AM
I think teachers need to be more understanding of learning disorders in general. I'm a teacher, and a lot of times even when a student isn't diagnosed or we don't know what the problem is, we can tell something is wrong. We can't always do much about it, but we often can tell. It sounds like you had some really insensitive teachers, Pearl, and that's just awful.

Pearl
02-17-2013, 04:38 AM
I think teachers need to be more understanding of learning disorders in general. I'm a teacher, and a lot of times even when a student isn't diagnosed or we don't know what the problem is, we can tell something is wrong. We can't always do much about it, but we often can tell. It sounds like you had some really insensitive teachers, Pearl, and that's just awful.

I had two or three who would yell at me, but one who mocked me. He was a bully-type of teacher who gave everyone in the class a hard time, so it wasn't just me and my math.

But it is my experience with math and how frustrated my teachers got with me that makes me really want to spread the word about dyscalculia. Like I said, why is it not as well known as dyslexia if it supposedly as common?

Layla Nahar
02-17-2013, 04:45 AM
I definitely have this. I *really* have this left/right problem - but interestingly, like Katie, this is much less the case when using my 2nd language. Hmm...

I have so much trouble with numbers. Even making a great deal of effort to stay focused, I still get lost when doing adding and subtracting. Factoring, multiplication & the like come easier. I started doing more or less daily exercises* to improve my adding & subtracting ability. I've been at it for about a year, two years? Yet I still have to focus really hard to be able to do basic mental math, and it takes a long time. Very frustrating. This problem has really hampered my ability to earn a decent living.

*a series of excersises while waiting to fall asleep. They are very helpful when you have trouble sleeping. That's how I got started. Believe it or not, it took me several months before I could count backwards much beyond 30 numbers without making mistakes.
1) count backwards from 300
2) count backwards from 300 by threes
3) memorize the 'teens' partners - eg 19; 19,0; 18,1; 17,2 etc. recite them backwards and forwards.
4) Add each teen to itself until you get to it's multiple of 10
example 17+17=34; 34+17=51 ...
Subtract from the resulting multiple of 10 back to the initial number
170-17=153; 153-17=136 ...

Buffysquirrel
02-17-2013, 05:29 AM
I have the left/right problem. I always assumed I got it from my dad. I'm crap with how many years ago something was. However, I can add up the items in the shopping basket in my head as I go along and be right at the checkout. One thing I found funny last year was watching a tv programme with a guy who was supposed to be really poor at identifying faces, and our scores were the same. So, on balance, no, I don't have this. Probably.

amergina
02-17-2013, 05:41 AM
I transpose numbers, have left/right issues, and can't remember names (I can remember faces).

But I have fabulous spacial orientation and map-reading skills and I'm great with math as long as I don't transpose the numbers. My grades in math improved dramatically when I moved out of arithmetic and into algebra and calculus, where variables are used heavily. I'm fine with mathematical concepts.

If I have dyscalculia, I suspect it's a mild form. I've never been diagnosed and I've managed to compensate for most of my brain issues. (My left hand is the one that makes an L with the thumb and forefinger when I look at the back of it.)

muravyets
02-17-2013, 05:43 AM
I was thinking about the seemingly unrelated symptoms, especially over-sensitivity to light, sounds, odors. I'm a migraine sufferer, and that is a classic migraine symptom. One of my triggers is flashing light patterns, and I can tell when a full-spectrum attack is starting by how much ambient light and normal noises and smells bother me -- to the point of being sickened by ordinary smells or finding normal sounds painfully loud. I wonder if dyscalculia and dyslexia may be related in some way to migraine.

Chasing the Horizon
02-17-2013, 05:45 AM
I was actually officially diagnosed with this when I was in middle school. I have all the symptoms listed on the wiki page except for the inability to visualize and the sensitivities. Oddly, in those two things I'm the exact opposite. I'm excessively good at visualization and completely oblivious to all sounds and smells around me (including the ones I probably shouldn't be oblivious to, lol).

Since I dropped out of school (mostly to avoid ever doing math again) the main difficulties it has given me involve my total inability to read a map or remember the ways to get places. If I for *any* reason have to deviate from my usual route to a place, I will get hopelessly lost, even in my very small home town. Because I just have the turns memorized instead of having a map in my head the way most people seem to. What's doubly frustrating is that I can visualize my destination in excruciating detail. I just can't conceptualize how to get there from where I'm at. Like others, I'm unable to conceptualize left and right as well. But, like how some were saying they can tell directions better in their second language, I can tell directions using port and starboard instead of left and right. I always write and give directions the nautical way, and if someone forgets to give me directions in that manner, there's exactly a 50% chance I'll turn the wrong way. Being able to visualize gives me the extra added frustration of being able to visualize the map in my head, and yet still completely unable to relate it to what I'm seeing around me.

Time means pretty much nothing to me, though I've always blamed this on having a very good long-term memory. Things that happened 15 years ago feel like they happened last week because I remember them in such detail. Or so I've always assumed.

I don't invert numbers like some of you, though. I can transcribe numbers perfectly and do the four basic functions correctly in my head (which is why the problem didn't show up until middle school--I was fine until I passed long division and started geometry and more 'abstract' maths). I'm incapable of conceptualizing any higher math concepts, just like I can't make the leap between map and road. Some sort of inability to relate abstract things.

ETA: If writers have higher rates of dyscalculia than the general population, it's probably just because anyone who finds math as absolutely impossible as I did will seek a field where higher math is not required. Writing related careers would be towards the top of that list.

muravyets
02-17-2013, 05:58 AM
Chasing the Horizon, your experience with directions is identical to mine in every detail you describe. Makes me feel a lot better.

I hadn't really thought about the time thing, but what you describe is similar to my experience, too. I have no sense of the passage of time. It takes effort for me to remember how long ago something happened or how long I've been at something, such as how long I've been an office worker.

At the same time, I can judge how long something will take. I can't calculate it, but I can listen to a plan and say, "That's a four-day project," or "I can get that done in three hours," and I'm almost always right. I can even predict time needed in case of various contingencies. But it's always a shock to be told how long ago my grandparents died. "Has it been that long?"

Same with money. It's a constant topic of debate among friends why I can't calculate the tip on my restaurant bill. I ask them to do it for me when we go out. Recently, they demanded I try to figure the tip on a combined bill. I looked at the total and just said a number. Then one of them worked it out on her phone, and my number was exactly right. I hadn't really guessed. I went with what felt proportional. But there was no way I could have calculated it using an equation.

It's like when I helped my schoolmates study for math tests. I can understand the concepts, even explain them. But when I look at the equations in print, my brain just fails.

ap123
02-17-2013, 06:04 AM
I was thinking about the seemingly unrelated symptoms, especially over-sensitivity to light, sounds, odors. I'm a migraine sufferer, and that is a classic migraine symptom. One of my triggers is flashing light patterns, and I can tell when a full-spectrum attack is starting by how much ambient light and normal noises and smells bother me -- to the point of being sickened by ordinary smells or finding normal sounds painfully loud. I wonder if dyscalculia and dyslexia may be related in some way to migraine.

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv, but I know more than the average bear about neurological disorders. A lot of neuro disorders have overlaps, and are comorbid with other conditions. So I'm not surprised to see you wonder about this.

I'm also fairly certain I would be diagnosed with dyscalculia if I was tested for it.

TNK
02-17-2013, 06:16 AM
I'm dyslexic with crappy math skills. I got diagnosed when I was in the sixth grade. It affected my spelling and grammar. And while I'm a slow reader, I read a lot.

I still occasionally get my letters confused if I'm handwriting, and homophones are my archnemesis.

As for math, I have trouble doing calculations in my head. I'll get the numbers all backwards. It has to be written out in front of me, and I need a calculator, or I'll take forever counting it out.

Orianna2000
02-17-2013, 06:41 AM
Hmm. I get migraines, too. I have very mild dyslexia, as well. That trick for telling left from right by holding out your fingers in an L-shape? Doesn't work because I can't tell which L is facing the right way.

Medievalist
02-17-2013, 06:47 AM
But it is my experience with math and how frustrated my teachers got with me that makes me really want to spread the word about dyscalculia. Like I said, why is it not as well known as dyslexia if it supposedly as common?

Largely because most people have both, not one or the other.

Also; both dyslexia and dyscalculia are collections of symptoms, and you'll notice some overlap.

With very young children (say 10 and under) one of the first indications that the child might be dyscalulaic is that the child has prolonged, extreme, noticeable difficulty with arithmetic because of problems with placing the numbers in the right columns/rows when doing sums involving large numbers to be added, subtracted, multiplied or divided.

Other common indications with young children is difficulty learning to tell time using an analog clock that lasts past 10 or so, and difficulty with the sequence of mathematical operations or other serialized procedures—for instance, in learning to do basic compass, straight edge, protractor sorts of geometry that are common in fifth and sixth grades.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-17-2013, 07:35 AM
This is the word I was trying to think of earlier this week--thank you!

It's been suggested to me more than once that I have dyscalculia (jeez--even my spell-checker doesn't know this word), but I've never been officially diagnosed. I had widely disparate scores in my SATs between the math and verbal, I've always had a wretched relationship with numbers, and I'm a synesthete--which isn't a disorder, per se, but lumped into that same family of neurological weirdness.

Bookewyrme
02-17-2013, 07:51 AM
Holy crap, that list of symptoms is my life, except the directions/maps bit (I'm actually very good with directions and maps, and rarely get truly lost, though sometimes I have difficulty finding a new place the first time).

But ye gods, math. Higher math, I can do fine with the concept (Calculus, algebra, etc) but as soon as you start inserting numbers, I get hopelessly lost. Most especially, I have difficulty doing basic calculations with single-digits. It's honestly faster for me to use a calculator than to try and add 8+3 (if I count on my fingers, I'm relatively certain that's 11, right?). And yet, I've always put this down to early bad math teaching and developing an aversion. I've never even heard of dyscalculia!

Let's see: Math, check. Left & Right, check (I have to think hard & use the mnemonic "write with my right"). Time conceptualization...that would explain why time always seems to pass weirdly for me (not just minutes and hours, but days and years feel weird to me). Sounds, check; lights, check (I always assumed having light-colored eyes made me more sensitive); odors, check (sometimes). Name/face matching, check (I'm terrible with names, and sometimes with faces too).

I feel like a hypochondriac, but...I kinda want to go get tested for this, like...tomorrow. It would just explain so much of my life.

Pearl
02-17-2013, 07:56 AM
Largely because most people have both, not one or the other.

Also; both dyslexia and dyscalculia are collections of symptoms, and you'll notice some overlap.

With very young children (say 10 and under) one of the first indications that the child might be dyscalulaic is that the child has prolonged, extreme, noticeable difficulty with arithmetic because of problems with placing the numbers in the right columns/rows when doing sums involving large numbers to be added, subtracted, multiplied or divided.

Other common indications with young children is difficulty learning to tell time using an analog clock that lasts past 10 or so, and difficulty with the sequence of mathematical operations or other serialized procedures—for instance, in learning to do basic compass, straight edge, protractor sorts of geometry that are common in fifth and sixth grades.

My problem was/is more about focusing. I simply couldn't concentrate and I was slow to catch on with basic addition and subtraction. But even today, I do mix up numbers. Last month, I noticed a mistake in my check book where I added 21 + 12 as 44, and not 33. It was the 2s that screwed up my thinking somehow.

But anxiety and lack of confidence plays a big role in doing basic mathematics.

As for reading, when I was younger I had no problem. But now I seem to be confusing one word for another a lot lately. Maybe dyslexia laid dormant in me and now it is rising? *shrug* *sigh*

kaitie
02-17-2013, 08:16 AM
This is the word I was trying to think of earlier this week--thank you!

It's been suggested to me more than once that I have dyscalculia (jeez--even my spell-checker doesn't know this word), but I've never been officially diagnosed. I had widely disparate scores in my SATs between the math and verbal, I've always had a wretched relationship with numbers, and I'm a synesthete--which isn't a disorder, per se, but lumped into that same family of neurological weirdness.

You know what's ironic? I always did better on math than verbal. I'm awful at definitions and those things where you have to match words. "____is to ____ as ____is to____." that sort of thing? I just can't do it. I can understand how to use a word, but I can't do straight up definitions. I have a hard time defining things for my students because I just don't think that way. I was always above average for the math scores, and usually below for verbal. (not counting my truly atrocious GRE scores. I was horribly ill and had 3 hours sleep and scored something like the 18th percentile for math. I knew I was in trouble when I started getting questions saying "Which number is in the tens column?")

The really strange thing? Every assessment I've had that included writing I've scored in the 98% for writing ability. So I can't do the verbal, but I'm a great writer? Kind of weird, huh?

Anyway, to be more on topic, I suck at mental math. I've never been able to do it. I have to write it down. When I was in algebra I was most likely to be counted off for adding two and three and getting six than I was for getting the steps wrong. Luckily by high school they let us use calculators. :D

I've been really tempted to try to learn the Japanese counting system with the abacus. My students in Japan could do complex math in their head so quickly because they'd learned to do it from an abacus. I think if I could learn the skill, it would improve this area for me and I wouldn't have to worry about it any more.

kaitie
02-17-2013, 08:20 AM
Most especially, I have difficulty doing basic calculations with single-digits. It's honestly faster for me to use a calculator than to try and add 8+3 (if I count on my fingers, I'm relatively certain that's 11, right?).


Omg, this is so me. For some reason, certain number additions are really hard for me. I can give you 7+7 and 7+8 easily, but I can't give you 7+6 and 7+5 without thinking twice.

What made me giggle is that 8+3 is one of the ones that I always have to think twice on. I know 8+2 without even thinking, and 8+4 comes to me like nothing, but 8+3? I have to figure 8+2 and add one to make sure I've got it right every single time lol.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-17-2013, 08:29 AM
Anyway, to be more on topic, I suck at mental math. I've never been able to do it. I have to write it down. When I was in algebra I was most likely to be counted off for adding two and three and getting six than I was for getting the steps wrong. Luckily by high school they let us use calculators. :D

I've been really tempted to try to learn the Japanese counting system with the abacus. My students in Japan could do complex math in their head so quickly because they'd learned to do it from an abacus. I think if I could learn the skill, it would improve this area for me and I wouldn't have to worry about it any more.

I cannot do mental math to save my life, man. Even the word "abacus" makes me slightly nauseous. My dad tried to teach me binary numbers and also "casting out nines," because I made the very poor decision to ask for his help on my homework once. Gah... It was fun for him, the way doing word searches is fun for me, but all I remember is wanting to cry and thinking, "Jesus Christ, I just want to finish this shit so I can watch Buffy, WHY MUST YOU TORTURE ME???"

On another ironic note? I'm really good at sudoku. I do not understand why.

Polenth
02-17-2013, 08:29 AM
I'm dyslexic and have a sensory processing disorder, so some of those happen to me. Left and right are tricky, I struggle to memorise number sequences and time/clocks are an issue (but actual mathematics and spatial awareness aren't issues), which is pretty common with dyslexia. There is overlap between dyscalculia and dyslexia.

Sensory-wise, I get overloaded easily. I have to cover my skin up, as I can't stand the feel of the air on my skin. I won't eat certain food textures, as they feel like they're stuck in my throat. Too much of anything gives me spots in front of my eyes and fever symptoms. There's more to it than that, but that's a general overview.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-17-2013, 08:34 AM
^Is the food texture thing part of it too? Damn! That's why I hate shrimp and coconut!

shakeysix
02-17-2013, 08:36 AM
I have not been diagnosed but several years ago an administrator in my school system told me that she thought I was this. She started by asking me if I had a history of ear infections and high fevers as a child. Sure did.

Whatever it is I am very lopsided in the way I think. I don't conceptualize well. The left right- thing gave me fits for years. If I have to backtrack on my way to a destination, like for example exit and then re-enter an interstate in a different direction, I am screwed. I was once lost in Idaho Falls Idaho for damn near four hours. I was once lost in Spearville Kansas-- population 780- for almost 30 minutes because I came into town on a different road. I had substituted in the high school several times but this time I came into the town--a flyspeck on any map--from the east instead of the west.

I have a high IQ, back in the days when they gave IQ exams I was always several grades ahead of my classmates--except in spatial relations and math. In second grade I read on a 9th grade level so I went to read with the eighth graders but I was always stymied on the aptitude test by the picture of the disembodied foot that asked if it was left or right foot. Once I even took my shoe off. I would answer left one year and right the next, just to cover the bases. --ss.

shakeysix
02-17-2013, 08:37 AM
PS--Oh, yeah-- I learned to read Spanish in the first grade. I taught myself from my Mom's old High School text book while I was supposed to be taking a nap. I excel at language but I flunked Driver's Ed and Home Ec. I have never scored more than a C in any upper Math class. And to this day, I can not put together a May Basket! Not to to save my soul! Folding cloth diapers was a challenge!

kaitie
02-17-2013, 08:38 AM
I cannot do mental math to save my life, man. Even the word "abacus" makes me slightly nauseous. My dad tried to teach me binary numbers and also "casting out nines," because I made the very poor decision to ask for his help on my homework once.



I so have no idea what that means. :tongue I'm almost afraid to ask lol.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-17-2013, 08:44 AM
I couldn't tell you anyway. I blocked it out. (The horror... *shudder*)

Polenth
02-17-2013, 08:46 AM
^Is the food texture thing part of it too? Damn! That's why I hate shrimp and coconut!

My sensory thing is not directly related to dyslexia, as far as I know. The nearest you'll find is in checklists for autism, as it's often comorbid with that. What I can say is it goes beyond the odd food dislike or hatred of a certain sound. It impacts everything. Those were just a few specific examples.

kaitie
02-17-2013, 08:47 AM
I have not been diagnosed but several years ago an administrator in my school system told me that she thought I was this. She started by asking me if I had a history of ear infections and high fevers as a child. Sure did.

Whatever it is I am very lopsided in the way I think. I don't conceptualize well. The left right- thing gave me fits for years. If I have to backtrack on my way to a destination, like for example exit and then re-enter an interstate in a different direction, I am screwed. I was once lost in Idaho Falls Idaho for damn near four hours. I was once lost in Spearville Kansas-- population 780- for almost 30 minutes because I came into town on a different road. I had substituted in the high school several times but this time I came into the town--a flyspeck on any map--from the east instead of the west.

I have a high IQ, back in the days when they gave IQ exams I was always several grades ahead of my classmates--except in spatial relations and math. In second grade I read on a 9th grade level so I went to read with the eighth graders but I was always stymied on the test by the picture of the disembodied foot that asked if it was left or right foot. Once I even took my shoe off. I would answer left one time and right the next, just to cover the bases. --ss.

Spatial things are my bane. I have the hardest time with it. I actually am really good at seeing an image in my mind, but I'm terrible at turning things around. I've gotten to where I can get around my town pretty easily when I'm on the roads that stay north/south or east/west. However, the second a road turns, I have no idea where I am anymore. I just can't see it in my mind. Once I'm back on a straight part I'm okay again, but I couldn't explain how the curves work.

There have only been a couple of times this has really made a difference for me, though. First was when I moved to Japan. There aren't street signs. Once I'd traveled a particular route, I could follow that route again, but my problem was that I'd leave the house and then when I had to turn around to get back home, I couldn't figure out where I'd come from because I was going the other way. After several trips out in which I had to get directions to the school and then go home from there because that was the route I knew, I started really paying attention. If I got to the end of a road and turned, I'd stop and consciously say "Okay, here's the sign, and there's a blue wall, and there's a flowerbed." Sometimes I'd stand and look at it from the opposite direction so I could remember. After I started doing that, I could get around easier and eventually I got brave and started exploring.

The other thing it makes hard is origami. I love to do origami. I've done it for over twenty years, and I'm actually fairly decent, able to do some pretty complex pieces. The thing is, I've met seven year olds better than me in terms of being able to follow the directions. A lot of the pieces I've learned I spent years getting wrong before I figured out the steps. One rose in particular isn't even that hard, but I had to find a video of someone making it before I could do it myself.

The problem is I just can't turn things around. The instructions will show one step, tell me the type of fold, and then show the next step. I have no IDEA how to get from one to the other. It ends up being trial and error. I try to find the fold and just fiddle with it and hope for the best.

After years of doing this, I've gotten to where I recognize common complex folds and so I can do those easily now, and sometimes I'm good enough to fake it when I'm lost. But if I have a new model that has an unusual fold that I've never done before, I still have to do it dozens of times before I can actually sort out how the fold works.

I've told my boyfriend (who is great at spatial skills) that I'm going to teach him origami so he can figure out the places I get stuck at for me. :tongue

Bookewyrme
02-17-2013, 08:48 AM
Omg, this is so me. For some reason, certain number additions are really hard for me. I can give you 7+7 and 7+8 easily, but I can't give you 7+6 and 7+5 without thinking twice.

What made me giggle is that 8+3 is one of the ones that I always have to think twice on. I know 8+2 without even thinking, and 8+4 comes to me like nothing, but 8+3? I have to figure 8+2 and add one to make sure I've got it right every single time lol.

Yes, me too! 8+2 I can get easy, and anything where I can basically add by 5s, or 2s or something. Things where the pattern is easy to see, that helps. But 3s are super hard for me for some reason. I can't even easily count by 3 past 12.

Ugh. Too many numbers now. I dread having to help my son learn math...

TNK
02-17-2013, 08:56 AM
But ye gods, math. Higher math, I can do fine with the concept (Calculus, algebra, etc) but as soon as you start inserting numbers, I get hopelessly lost. Most especially, I have difficulty doing basic calculations with single-digits. It's honestly faster for me to use a calculator than to try and add 8+3 (if I count on my fingers, I'm relatively certain that's 11, right?). And yet, I've always put this down to early bad math teaching and developing an aversion. I've never even heard of dyscalculia!



Ugh! I hate higher math. I have enough trouble with basic math. (Yes, I had to double check that 8+3=11) But you start adding in negative signs, and letters, and God forbid, fractions, and I'm screwed.

I still have no idea why higher math is required to graduate from college*. Unless your degree requires you to know this stuff, a basic math course should have been fine for the rest of us.


*At least in Texas it was required. And all I wanted was to study literature. Why would I ever need to know what an imaginary number was?

Chasing the Horizon
02-17-2013, 09:12 AM
and I'm a synesthete--which isn't a disorder, per se, but lumped into that same family of neurological weirdness.
I had no idea there was a connection between synesthesia and dyscalculia. To me, all numbers and letters have colors and genders and personalities (which is apparently two different simultaneous forms of synesthesia). The color thing is especially strong. For me, just about everything has an automatic color association, from numbers to emotions to names. Also, the synesthetic picture with all the colored numbers on Wikipedia's page about the disorder is driving me crazy because how could anyone think 2 is pink when it's so obviously blue? At least they made 6 yellow. . . . I'm sane. Really. :D

muravyets
02-17-2013, 09:30 AM
Spatial things are my bane. I have the hardest time with it. I actually am really good at seeing an image in my mind, but I'm terrible at turning things around. I've gotten to where I can get around my town pretty easily when I'm on the roads that stay north/south or east/west. However, the second a road turns, I have no idea where I am anymore. I just can't see it in my mind. Once I'm back on a straight part I'm okay again, but I couldn't explain how the curves work.

There have only been a couple of times this has really made a difference for me, though. First was when I moved to Japan. There aren't street signs. Once I'd traveled a particular route, I could follow that route again, but my problem was that I'd leave the house and then when I had to turn around to get back home, I couldn't figure out where I'd come from because I was going the other way. After several trips out in which I had to get directions to the school and then go home from there because that was the route I knew, I started really paying attention. If I got to the end of a road and turned, I'd stop and consciously say "Okay, here's the sign, and there's a blue wall, and there's a flowerbed." Sometimes I'd stand and look at it from the opposite direction so I could remember. After I started doing that, I could get around easier and eventually I got brave and started exploring.

...
Gods, that's me, too. And it happens to me even in neighborhoods I know fairly well. If I get lost in thought, I get lost in the street, too, even if only for a minute. The other day, I was distracted, and walked 1 block off my route from the subway to my office and had to stop and orient myself. In a place -- street, building, whatever -- that I don't know well, I can get hopelessly lost.

I hate the place I'm working now because, among other horrible features, it's a labyrinth of buildings all cobbled together in different ways at different times, and there is hardly a direct route from one point to another to be found. One errand I was sent on recently, had me enter one building to get to another, up a stairway, across a bridge, through some doors, around a corner, and then to an elevator, only the elevator was labeled for yet a different building, so I took the stairs and decided I had finally been driven completely insane -- there were two of every floor!!!! Seriously, two floor 2's, two floor 3's, etc. I was, like, What! The! Fuck!!! Turns out the stairway connected two buildings (so that was 3 all told on this trip) and since the floors didn't quite match up in height, the stairs had an exit for Building A, Floor 2, and another for Building B, Floor 2, etc.

Can you imagine trying to find your way around such a place with brains like ours? I was almost in tears. The only thing that made me feel at all better about myself was that it actually took three other people to help me find my destination, and they were mostly lost, too.

Like you, and lots of others, I memorize the patterns of my routes, and if things go off the pattern, or defy patterning, I'm in trouble.

When I was in Girl Scouts, I put all my effort into camp craft skills because I knew orienteering would be a waste of time. If I ever get lost in the wilderness, I just need to set up housekeeping, because there is no way I'm finding my own way home.

kaitie
02-17-2013, 09:54 AM
What I find funny is when people tell me to "go west" instead of "go left and that sort of thing. As if I know which direction west is. Apparently a lot of people around here do, and at this point I know which direction the main roads run well enough that if I think about it I can often figure it out. But I spent literally three years once thinking the roads were all turned a quarter direction from what they're actually turned, so needless to say my ability to distinguish which way I'm going has always been a little wonky. ;)

Chasing the Horizon
02-17-2013, 10:07 AM
But I spent literally three years once thinking the roads were all turned a quarter direction from what they're actually turned, so needless to say my ability to distinguish which way I'm going has always been a little wonky. ;)
Lol. For years I believed the river was north of my town. Apparently it's actually west, but that direction will always be north to me. :D

crunchyblanket
02-17-2013, 01:59 PM
I wasn't diagnosed until university - I failed the numeracy portion of my 'general skills' module and they couldn't understand why.

To this day, I can't:
- tell left from right (I usually use the thumb and forefinger trick - if you hold them up, the left hand makes an 'L' shape)
- tell the time on a non-digital clock, or interpret 24 hour time
- I struggle to learn numbers in a foreign language
- use a map for directions unless it's explicitly pointed out to me where I am and which way I'm facing
- read musical notation (although I can tune a guitar by ear)
- I have no sense of time passing, no sense of distance (I can walk for twenty minutes and be totally unable to estimate how far I've gone) and no sense of scale (I can't estimate how tall a person is, how long an object is or how big a room is)
- I get numbers the wrong way round - when I used to work in a shop this was a killer. The till would do the sums, but I'd ask for £6.87 instead of £8.76, or give 39p change instead of 93p
- I've tried every method known to man to memorise my times tables and they just won't stick.

Sam Argent
02-17-2013, 02:18 PM
I was actually officially diagnosed with this when I was in middle school. I have all the symptoms listed on the wiki page except for the inability to visualize and the sensitivities. Oddly, in those two things I'm the exact opposite. I'm excessively good at visualization and completely oblivious to all sounds and smells around me (including the ones I probably shouldn't be oblivious to, lol).

Since I dropped out of school (mostly to avoid ever doing math again) the main difficulties it has given me involve my total inability to read a map or remember the ways to get places. If I for *any* reason have to deviate from my usual route to a place, I will get hopelessly lost, even in my very small home town. Because I just have the turns memorized instead of having a map in my head the way most people seem to. What's doubly frustrating is that I can visualize my destination in excruciating detail. I just can't conceptualize how to get there from where I'm at. Like others, I'm unable to conceptualize left and right as well. But, like how some were saying they can tell directions better in their second language, I can tell directions using port and starboard instead of left and right. I always write and give directions the nautical way, and if someone forgets to give me directions in that manner, there's exactly a 50% chance I'll turn the wrong way. Being able to visualize gives me the extra added frustration of being able to visualize the map in my head, and yet still completely unable to relate it to what I'm seeing around me.

Time means pretty much nothing to me, though I've always blamed this on having a very good long-term memory. Things that happened 15 years ago feel like they happened last week because I remember them in such detail. Or so I've always assumed.

I don't invert numbers like some of you, though. I can transcribe numbers perfectly and do the four basic functions correctly in my head (which is why the problem didn't show up until middle school--I was fine until I passed long division and started geometry and more 'abstract' maths). I'm incapable of conceptualizing any higher math concepts, just like I can't make the leap between map and road. Some sort of inability to relate abstract things.

ETA: If writers have higher rates of dyscalculia than the general population, it's probably just because anyone who finds math as absolutely impossible as I did will seek a field where higher math is not required. Writing related careers would be towards the top of that list.

Being tested for this probably would have saved me so much drama in school because that's exactly how I was. I was a A/B student until geometry and my math grades tanked. The fact that I used to do so well worked against me and everyone assumed I wasn't trying. I don't get my left and right mixed up because I go by my dominant hand. There are a few times when my right wrist hurts and using my left hand more often can confuse me.

I've never gotten a driver's license because I can't tell how far away cars are, and headlights hurt my eyes. My lack of direction is infamous because I'll get lost in my own neighborhood. I can find my way around in a 10 minute radius of where I live if there are no more than two turns involved. It also helps helps if those two turns are in the same direction. Even though I can't find my way around, I can usually identify what city I'm in by landmarks.

I can only identify east and west when the sun is rising/setting, but I still can't tell where north and south are.

My strong sense of smell used to be fun when I was a kid but now I have problems going near meat. Ground beef and fish are okay, but steak and pork make me nauseated. You can literally run me out of the kitchen by whipping out a package of sausage.

Oh and coconut is a hell fruit added to ruin perfectly good cream pies.

bearilou
02-17-2013, 04:08 PM
I guess this explains why I suck at writing. I'm excellent at all these things.

Except estimating distances. If someone says, 'how far...' I haven't a clue. 50 yards? 100 yards? half a mile? I don't know! THAT WAY AND GO UNTIL YOU STOP!

crunchyblanket
02-17-2013, 04:10 PM
I guess this explains why I suck at writing. I'm excellent at all these things.

Except estimating distances. If someone says, 'how far...' I haven't a clue. 50 yards? 100 yards? half a mile? I don't know! THAT WAY AND GO UNTIL YOU STOP!


"That way" *points* is my standard method of giving directions. If I say 'go left', there's a 70% chance that I'll actually mean 'go right'

bearilou
02-17-2013, 04:15 PM
"That way" *points* is my standard method of giving directions. If I say 'go left', there's a 70% chance that I'll actually mean 'go right'

See, and that I don't have a problem with. I can give directions that are a champ with lots of visual cues and landmarks and when people follow them they tell me they were spot on right and easy to follow.

Except when I have to say 'turn right and go 50 yards'. I have no spatial concept of '50 yards'. I can say, 'turn right after you pass the...and if you see the big blue mailbox with the hippo painted on the side, you've gone too far'.

crunchyblanket
02-17-2013, 04:27 PM
See, and that I don't have a problem with. I can give directions that are a champ with lots of visual cues and landmarks and when people follow them they tell me they were spot on right and easy to follow.

Except when I have to say 'turn right and go 50 yards'. I have no spatial concept of '50 yards'. I can say, 'turn right after you pass the...and if you see the big blue mailbox with the hippo painted on the side, you've gone too far'.

I think that's a much better way to give directions, though. Visual cues are so much more helpful than nebulous estimations of distance.

Orianna2000
02-17-2013, 05:14 PM
Wow. I have synesthesia, too. Numbers and letters all have colors, as do days of the week, months of the year, etc. People have colors, too. And I visualize time in three dimensions.

I had a lot of ear infections as a baby. Had to get tubes put in my ears to allow the excess fluid to drain. Not sure if I had fevers or not, but I'm really curious how all this might play a role.

With numbers, I can add ones that equal ten (8+2, 7+3, 6+4, etc.) but for almost everything else, I have to think about it. If it's too large to add on my fingers, chances are, I'll need a calculator. This drives my husband batty, since he can easily calculate tips and sums and such in his head. He always knows how much the total will be at the grocery checkout, he'll guess within a few dollars. Completely unfair!

As for directions, if I'm reading a map, I have to turn it to face the direction I'm going. I can't just look at it and know where I am, I have to orient the map properly. I've never been good at knowing my way around. I always thought this was simply because I don't drive, so it's more difficult to learn the streets and landmarks, but now I'm thinking there's more to it than that. In any case, I only know how to get to places I've been many, many times. When I first got my driver's license, I lived in a tiny mountain town of about 200 people--and I got lost going home. Made it there eventually, but it was a matter of turning left when I should have turned right.

When I performed the driving test, I had to do a three-point turn in order to pass. I did so very carefully and precisely and when I was done, the instructor burst out laughing. I'd done the three-point turn all right, but I'd done it completely mirror-image! Totally backwards. She was kind enough to pass me anyway, but she thought it was hilarious.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-17-2013, 09:20 PM
I had no idea there was a connection between synesthesia and dyscalculia. To me, all numbers and letters have colors and genders and personalities (which is apparently two different simultaneous forms of synesthesia). The color thing is especially strong. For me, just about everything has an automatic color association, from numbers to emotions to names. Also, the synesthetic picture with all the colored numbers on Wikipedia's page about the disorder is driving me crazy because how could anyone think 2 is pink when it's so obviously blue? At least they made 6 yellow. . . . I'm sane. Really. :D

Oh God, the Wikipedia thing is so wrong! It's an interesting example though, since I know all synesthetes have their own colors. 2 is brown for me; 6 is magenta.

I'm okay with directions, but I have an easier time if someone gives me distance in terms of time instead of geographical distance. X minutes/hours, instead of miles/yards, whatever. My whole family does though, so I don't know if it's actually related. I have a fairly good sense of direction in general, but I get lost in places that are completely homogeneous in the layout. Like hotels. Or certain levels in videogames. If all the hallways look the same, I get lost REAL fast.

Question: Do odd or even numbers bother anyone else? I have a weird animosity for odd numbers unless they're divisible by five. Drove my manager crazy when I worked in a bakery... Manager: "Just make seven more bear claws." Me: "Can't I make eight? Or six?" Manager: "Why?" Me: "They won't be symmetrical!"

shakeysix
02-17-2013, 11:15 PM
Wow! i feel like I have found my true tribe!

I'm much better at directions in Spanish than English, too. Origami and sewing are my bane! My numbers always have colors and gender. When I was little it jarred me to see 4 as any color but light blue. I remember thinking that four is blue and everyone knows that fact!

When my husband died and I took over the finances I developed a system of bill paying that does not include adding or deducting real numbers. Kind of like water witching. I do okay with it but I cannot explain why or how it works.

I can remember past events in specific detail by colors, scraps of dialogue or scents but not by dates. Recently we had a family crisis over mineral rights in a lease signed forty years ago. My father was not a record keeper. We have fifty years of transactions in a shoebox. A lot hinged on when two particular oil leases were signed.

My younger sibs were too young to remember but I could vaguely remember the leases being discussed. The only way we could retrieve the actual dates was the fact that I remembered my mother wearing a brown and blue sweater when talking about one. My great grandmother was sitting in front of a birthday cake--lavender and white-- when the other was signed.

My great grandmother's birthday was in August. We checked out all the August and winter month leases and found the right ones. My sibs were flabbergasted. My brother said "If you are so GD intelligent why couldn't you just remember August 16 1959?"

Beats the hell out of me--s6

Stlight
02-18-2013, 03:08 AM
Managed math through long division, but the multiplication tables took 30 years and 7 and 8 are still iffy. Fractions did not happen - period. I managed geometry because I could memorize the pictures and the theorems and spit them back out, actually got a B in that. I learned basic algebra 6 times and lost it 6 times. About a week after learning the last bit for one variable equations.

Left and right, I use the make the L with the fingers trick, when I remember.

Clocks hours and half hours only and we had the golden book with the clock face and movable hands.

If I'm two blocks from my house, but on a street I haven't been on before, I can't find my house. People found that funny and didn't believe me.

When I ask directions i ask that the person just point toward whatever place - city - building I needed to find. Yes, it works with cities for those of us who get really lost.

It was worse when someone would insist that I give them directions. Most ended up in the same town north of the city, a town I'd never been to. I can't explain that one.

I can read a map going from point A to point B, but if I don't know landmarks I can 'put the map in the real world.'

I haven't been diagnosed but this has made me feel so much better about it. I'm not a lazy git, nor was I totally traumatized into forgetting/whatever. Thank goodness I didn't waste money on the psychologist who said she could get me through the emotional problems and I'd be able to do math. Yeah, right.

Atlantis
02-18-2013, 08:50 AM
I wonder sometimes if I have this. I have dyspraxia, which is similiar, but effects my short term memory, coordination, strength, speech, and social skills.

It means I have trouble doing basic things: opening cans, chopping food, putting earrings in. I have poor spatial awareness and commonly walk into walls and trip over things. I am sensitve to light and sound and touch. When I was a kid I took twice as long to learn to walk, talk, read, use a knife and fork... my parents had no idea what was wrong with me for decades until a doctor finally figured it out around the time I was 10.

My poor short term memory means I forget things sometimes within seconds. I have not learnt to drive because of that. I am a bit terrified of forgetting the road rules and getting myself/someone else killed.

I have problems pronoucing certain words. It is sort of like a stutter...imagine you cannot get your mouth/tongue to work properly to correctly sound out a word.

I am terrible with maths. I never got above a D in school. My parents tried their best with me. They got tutors and cassette tapes and posters and all they were able to do was get how to tell the time, do basic addition, and to count money to sink in. Everything else went right over my head.

I don't know fractions. I can do very little math in my head. I cannot remember phone numbers or pins for the life of me. I don't know if my problems with maths is related to my poor memory/dyspraxia or if it is something completely seperate. Sometimes I wonder if it is seperate because I really do have a problem remembering ANYTHING to do with numbers. Especially phone numbers!

I can never remember my own phone number. It's embarrassing. At work I have made a habit of writing down anything mildly important, printing it off, and laminating it. I've made a book of important things I need to remember. This has helped me a lot.

For a long long time growing up I did not know the difference between left and right. Then finally my best friend taught me a way to remember it. People with dyspraxia take much longer than regular people to learn new talks because of our poor memories. But with time and patience we can master things. Like doing my own shoe laces! God that took me forever, but I finally did it. And I did not learn to ride a bike until I was an adult. My brother taught me. I had to go to a specalist as a kid to learn how to use a knife and fork properly, write correctly, and how to brush my hair.

What's really annoying about having dyspraxia is the people who try to make you feel better by saying "I do those things all the time! You're okay! You don't have a disability!" I know they mean well but it is a real kick in the teeth. When my disability does kick in it can be really frustrating and upsetting. It's what is known as an invisiable disability.

Finis
02-18-2013, 09:30 AM
My only learning disability in school was procrastination.

"That was due today? Well, fuck it, here's this half-assed thing I did at midnight last night. Thanks for the B-. Back to fucking off, ditching class and smoking pot behind the gym until the next quiz/project."

Seriously though, my wife is pretty severly dyslexic. Until I met her and started helping her with her homework (English exams, not math. I suck at math) I also kinda thought dyslexia was code for "doesn't try hard enough/lazy".

Yeah, I was the smart ass lazy smart guy in class who fucked off on homework and then got A's on tests just to infurate parents and teachers. Also thought everyone not as smart as me was "just not trying to understand, Jesus Christ this is simple people."

Now I'm married to a dyslexic and our son is autistic. Fairly high functioning autistic. But I had no idea what "sensory issues" were until I met my son :/

Makes me feel bad for the way I treated people as a teenager.

Ruth2
02-18-2013, 10:00 AM
I have mild dyscalculia. It helps to write my numbers right to left. Unfortunately sometimes I'll try to write my words right to left as well, usually in the middle of a long word. That doesn't work at all.
I don't have synesthesia, but numerals remind me of people.

Broadswordbabe
02-18-2013, 12:36 PM
Good lord, I'd never even heard of this, and I think I may have it. It would explain an awful lot - the left/right thing, absolutely no sense of direction, dreadful at maths, poor (actually embarrassingly bloody awful) face/name recognition...hmmm. I don't think this was even known when I was in school, but then that was roughly the Jurassic period. So...are there any suggested ways for getting round the associated problems?

sunandshadow
02-18-2013, 03:04 PM
I wish I had a name for the kind of learning disability I suspect I have. It's not dyscalculia or dyslexia; I have no problem with right/left and I'm pretty good at math and spelling, as well as estimating distances and time. What I'm abysmal at is music (notes in a sequence, especially if it's not just a melody), foreign language grammar (declension and conjugation), geography, plotting/remembering a route from here to there, and plotting fiction. This collection of topics seems to have something to do with non-visual patterns/structures, and/or memory.

sunandshadow
02-18-2013, 03:36 PM
I definitely have this. I *really* have this left/right problem - but interestingly, like Katie, this is much less the case when using my 2nd language. Hmm...
This comment interests me, because I see an opposite pattern - I have problems with foreign language grammar and musical notes and patterns, which are foreign-language-like, but I never had those problems with my native language.

Orianna2000
02-18-2013, 05:31 PM
For those who want more information, try Dyscalculia.org (http://www.dyscalculia.org/). I haven't found much in the way of "help," but they do have diagnostic tools. I've been looking over this Learning Disabilities Checklist (https://5c4afe9f-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/dyscalculiaorg/Dyscalculia.org_LDcklist.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7coa_S Hs1ieg4HivNETUt1APprVPhS4N6AYh9Ng9Bu2XjSnm6FUTK0-1HlSM1D8KHpDMevN78r0xM-RHf3yZaRMYXR3K4E6_-BwNmZnBQrnusem5eh9RpcThxJYozdHMBIqea3oZ6pf9isw2-p5BfSkSWilLTHFaWKSlG0gouTsamazRJ-bXKRQVNocVzF2i7CAXl2MpOej3nn5q6IHI5gO7-IIBkW_XqMHl2SlQiGbRsEuN2ao%3D&attredirects=1) (it's a PDF), and I've got a lot of symptoms I didn't realize were indicative of a problem, such as the inability to alphabetize or use dictionary without reciting ABCs. I've always needed to silently recite the alphabet to figure out where a particular letter is, such as when looking through the dictionary or trying to alphabetize something. I had no idea that wasn't normal!

I kinda wish I'd known about this back when I was in school. Of course, they didn't really have special services for learning disabled kids back then. Heck, they didn't even like it if you were more advanced than your grade level, so never mind having a disability. I read at a fourth grade level when I was in kindergarten, but did they let me take reading with the fourth graders? Nope! The most they did was allow me to check out books from the "big kids" bookcase at the school library. They had a "policy" that you could only take a reading class that was one grade above your current grade level, so I was stuck in a first-grade reading class, with picture books, while at recess I was busy reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, full-length chapter books. They probably would never have believed I had a learning disability anyway, since I always passed math. I got C's in math, when I got A's in everything else, but I still passed. Not sure I would have done that well in high school, except I took a home school course that offered remedial math, and then I dropped out and got my GED, so I was never really confronted with advanced mathematics.

bearilou
02-18-2013, 05:36 PM
This thread has been extremely enlightening. A lot of the things I used to have trouble with, I just discovered or invented tools to learn around it until it became second nature. Like Orianna, it never occurred to me that this wasn't normal.

I'll have to look into this further.

EMaree
02-18-2013, 06:18 PM
I don't self-diagnose as having dyscalculia, but I have a lot of difficulties with maths.

I enjoyed maths when I was younger, but I had some really bad stress and depression in high school and Higher(A-Level/AP Exam) maths class was the class I struggled with most during that time.

I just couldn't cope with the work on top of everything else. Ever since then I freeze up and can't think when I'm faced with complicated maths problems.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-18-2013, 06:37 PM
For those who want more information, try Dyscalculia.org (http://www.dyscalculia.org/).

Oh my. I did the MLD Symptoms thing, and wound up checking ALL of them! The relative ease with geometry versus inability to remember algebraic formulas from one day to the next; my painful lack of coordination which reached embarrassing proportions when I tried to learn tap-dancing; the difficulty with formal music education--although I will say I have no trouble whatsoever with sight-reading, at least not with singing. It's the fingering that screwed me up when I was studying classical guitar and flute. (Neither of those lasted long.)

shakeysix
02-18-2013, 07:46 PM
Except for the name/face recognition, i checked every box. Several of the boxes were issues that I have worked to get a handle on over fifty years. I don't have a problem with credit or paying my bills any more because i have a dozen safety nets--some of them comical. In the days of yore my checkbook woes were legend.

My late husband even took my name off the checking account because i constantly overdrew us. Every month his paycheck went into the bank. I cashed mine and kept it,sometimes a couple thousand dollars, in the pocket of an old winter coat at the back of the attic closet. When I needed $ I went to the attic. He went to the bank. Funny, but seeing the green stuff diminish is the only way I could keep track.

Although it works, I don't recommend this system. When my husband died suddenly I had no legal access to the checking account. Had to get a lawyer to pay the bills. Bummer. --s6

Phaeal
02-18-2013, 10:49 PM
I rock everything on the list except the left/right thing. I've done better ever since I conceptualized my heart being on the left side. Also my writing hand being on the right side.

The funniest thing is that when I'm playing Diablo, where getting through areas fast can depend on knowing the character's left and right, I rock characters that carry shields, because shields are always on the left side. Or characters that carry one weapon, in the right hand. But characters that can carry two weapons, or a two-handed weapon, can make me pause.

:D

Saanen
02-19-2013, 12:15 AM
I've always suspected I had a mild version of this (although I didn't know the name; I referred to it as 'number dyslexia'). I had a lot of trouble learning to read a clock and learning right from left. I sometimes see numbers transposed--which makes working crossword puzzles a bit of a challenge--and frequently still read the clock backwards. That is, if it's 4:15 I'll read the clock as 7:45. I also have terrible name/face recognition skills, but I've heard that that's more common among people who read a lot so I never considered the number thing might be related to it.

I have no trouble visualizing things mentally, even when it involves turning objects in my mind. It takes a lot of concentration, but I can do it. I can do math, too, although I don't want to. :)

Dreadful Romantic
02-20-2013, 04:54 AM
This is a little long, so bear with me :)

I had extreme difficulties with math when I was in school, and when I was in Grade 10, a guidance counselor suggested I be tested for dyscalculia. For a number of reasons I never was (among them the opinions that I was just lazy or had bad teachers--I wasn't lazy, and I only had one truly horrible math teacher during my time in high school). Attention deficit disorder was brought up when I was in grades five, seven, and ten, and again, nothing came of it. My mother didn't want me hopped up on medication, and a lot of my difficulties were chalked up to laziness, having my head in the clouds, and being a touch on the dull side.

One of the reasons I had such a horrific time learning math in public school was due to the teaching methods. I attended elementary school in the mid to late '90s in Ontario, where split grade classes were very common. I learned Grade 7 math twice (same teacher, two grades in the same class, and I think I earned a D in math both times). Two weeks before we were due to graduate from Grade 8, our teacher realized that none of the graduating students in her class had math skills up to provincial standards, which in those days were tested using a tool of torture called the "Grade 8 Mathematical Exit Exam." So the ten or 12 Grade 8 students in my class had two weeks to learn a year's worth of algebra, geometry, and a bunch of other stuff I haven't had to use since.

It felt like every other kid could pick it up except me. It was like reading Martian. I could never remember what x was, how we were supposed to get to x, etc. I couldn't complete the pre-test. Our teacher was frustrated because I was the lone failure in her class, whose workbook was full of drawings I had made, trying to piece together each problem in a way I could understand.

The exam took four or five days to complete, an hour each go. I went into the exam knowing I would fail and not knowing what that would mean when I got to high school. And then each and every day of the exam, while we were writing it, my teacher would call me out of the room, take me into the hallway, and tell me what a miserable failure at math I was, that she had tried to her best to teach me and I just couldn't learn, and a life without strong math skills was wasted. She wouldn't stop until I started to cry, and then she would send me back in to finish the exam, red-faced and humiliated.

It's been 16 years since that happened, and that memory still has the power to make me feel sick.

On the upside, when I actually started high school, I had a fantastic remedial math teacher who told me point-blank that I wasn't a stupid person or bad student, just not good at math. "You're in the arts program?" she said. "You want to work in the arts? I'm gonna level with you: You won't need a lot of this when you're older, but you have to bear with it until you finish your compulsory math credits. You're good at other things; you'll be okay." And then we created glorious colour-coded math worksheets that I could understand; I still remember a lot of it (that said, I've never had to use BEDMAS in real life :tongue)

Now, I don't think I have dyscalculia, I just have a different learning style. While I can't solve a trigonometry problem--and frankly, my life is still rich not having that ability or inclination--I can file a joint tax return armed with only our T4 statements and a calculator, follow a map, and figure out 15%-20% restaurant tips off the top of my head, which I understand are difficult for those with that particular learning disability. I also worked in a bookkeeping office for a few years with very little difficulty.

When I was in my early twenties, I was indeed diagnosed with ADD. I can't help but wonder how different my public school education would have been had I been diagnosed as a child or teenager.

Orianna2000
02-20-2013, 08:10 AM
Dreadful Romantic, I'm so sorry you had such bad experiences in school. Around here, (theoretically) a teacher who did something like that (and got caught) would be fired immediately. Sadly, that doesn't stop kids from getting bullied by those in authority.

I was diagnosed with ADD in my early 20s, as well, but it may very well be that my problem is related more to having bipolar, which wasn't diagnosed until more recently.

muravyets
02-20-2013, 09:11 AM
I just went through the MLD symptoms list and the ones I didn't check are kind of interesting, to me at least. They're areas in which I think I substituted other abilities to get the results I need.


Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. Substitute names beginning with same letter.
This is weird for me. Usually the instant I've been introduced to someone, I forget the name I've just been told, and as soon as they are out of sight, I forget what they look like. If I am asked to name or describe them, I may not be able to do it. If I try on my own to recollect it, like in advance of meeting them again, I can't bring up the name and the image out of memory. I get really anxious before meeting someone I don't know well because I anticipate not recognizing them. But then when I see them, boom, I recognize them.


Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Poor mental math ability. Poor with money and credit. Cannot do financial planning or budgeting. Checkbooks not balanced. Short term, not long term financial thinking. Fails to see big financial picture. May have fear of money and cash transactions. May be unable to mentally figure change due back, the amounts to pay for tips, taxes, etc.
A partial result here. I am notoriously inconsistent with basic math functions, and I can all but feel my brain freezing when I try to any math in my head. But I actually am comfortable and pretty good with money. I worked in retail for many years, and my cash drawers were never off by more than a few cents, to my endless surprise. I can plan medium- and long-term financial goals and projects. In my later work, I have been the one to make time and cost projections for proposals on complex projects, and my projections were accurate.

But if I was asked how I did it, people might suspect fraud because I couldn't justify a single projection mathematically. It was all hunches, awareness of market prices, and a sense of proportion. That's how I can guess accurately at what tip to leave on a bill, or keep track without checking how much money I have in the bank and will have after a year's interest. But I couldn't tell you what the interest rate is, or how to calculate interest, and I couldn't balance my check book if my life depended on it. Well, maybe I could with that kind of motivation, and if I also had all day and a calculator.

Maybe the same sense of proportion and visual skills that make me an artist helped me to learn how to handle money, because I can do it with cash, and with imagination, but not with numbers and equations.


May be unable to comprehend or "picture" mechanical processes. Lacks "big picture/ whole picture" thinking. Poor ability to "visualize or picture" the location of the numbers on the face of a clock, the geographical locations of states, countries, oceans, streets, etc.
Another partial result that I think rests on visual mental abilities, because I absolutely cannot picture mechanical processes, but I can very easily visualize numbers on a clock. When I'm thinking of a map, I can visualize and even creditably draw one. But if I'm thinking of compass points and directions, I cannot at all visualize where one place lies in relation to another. Example, if I'm chatting about the city I live in, and the other person is talking about the different places in the city relative to each other, I will get completely lost mentally. I will be unable to visualize how, say the different parts of Cambridge and Somerville relate to each other. But if I draw a picture of Cambridge and Somerville, I'll get it right.

As for "big picture/whole picture" thinking, I'm actually known for being especially good at that. Go figure.

But aside from those three mixed results, which I find kind of interesting, the only symptom I don't seem to have is the lack of athletic coordination. Granted, I'm not athletic, but that's because I'm lazy. I'm actually fairly comfortable learning physical moves, and I've never had problems following or remembering the rules of games, if those rules make sense in the first place. In fact, I'm so good at mastering complicated rules, it's been suggested I should have gone to law school. Again, go figure.

muravyets
02-20-2013, 09:15 AM
Dreadful Romantic, your experience sounds like a nightmare. I can only say that I feel outraged that anyone would do something like that to someone else, let alone a teacher to a child.

EMaree
02-20-2013, 02:49 PM
Dreadful Romantic, thanks for sharing your story. I got thrown into a 'fast track' maths class and it completely wrecked me too. My teacher really did try to be sympathetic (having being told I was going through a rough patch) but I was skipping classes because I was too sick and scared to go to school. I just kept falling further and further behind, which made me even more sick and scared.

It's hell. I'm glad you got through it and found a better teacher.

Linda Adams
02-20-2013, 03:57 PM
This is a little long, so bear with me :)

I had extreme difficulties with math when I was in school, and when I was in Grade 10, a guidance counselor suggested I be tested for dyscalculia. For a number of reasons I never was (among them the opinions that I was just lazy or had bad teachers--I wasn't lazy, and I only had one truly horrible math teacher during my time in high school). Attention deficit disorder was brought up when I was in grades five, seven, and ten, and again, nothing came of it. My mother didn't want me hopped up on medication, and a lot of my difficulties were chalked up to laziness, having my head in the clouds, and being a touch on the dull side.

One of the reasons I had such a horrific time learning math in public school was due to the teaching methods. I attended elementary school in the mid to late '90s in Ontario, where split grade classes were very common. I learned Grade 7 math twice (same teacher, two grades in the same class, and I think I earned a D in math both times). Two weeks before we were due to graduate from Grade 8, our teacher realized that none of the graduating students in her class had math skills up to provincial standards, which in those days were tested using a tool of torture called the "Grade 8 Mathematical Exit Exam." So the ten or 12 Grade 8 students in my class had two weeks to learn a year's worth of algebra, geometry, and a bunch of other stuff I haven't had to use since.

It felt like every other kid could pick it up except me. It was like reading Martian. I could never remember what x was, how we were supposed to get to x, etc. I couldn't complete the pre-test. Our teacher was frustrated because I was the lone failure in her class, whose workbook was full of drawings I had made, trying to piece together each problem in a way I could understand.

The exam took four or five days to complete, an hour each go. I went into the exam knowing I would fail and not knowing what that would mean when I got to high school. And then each and every day of the exam, while we were writing it, my teacher would call me out of the room, take me into the hallway, and tell me what a miserable failure at math I was, that she had tried to her best to teach me and I just couldn't learn, and a life without strong math skills was wasted. She wouldn't stop until I started to cry, and then she would send me back in to finish the exam, red-faced and humiliated.

It's been 16 years since that happened, and that memory still has the power to make me feel sick.

On the upside, when I actually started high school, I had a fantastic remedial math teacher who told me point-blank that I wasn't a stupid person or bad student, just not good at math. "You're in the arts program?" she said. "You want to work in the arts? I'm gonna level with you: You won't need a lot of this when you're older, but you have to bear with it until you finish your compulsory math credits. You're good at other things; you'll be okay." And then we created glorious colour-coded math worksheets that I could understand; I still remember a lot of it (that said, I've never had to use BEDMAS in real life :tongue)

Now, I don't think I have dyscalculia, I just have a different learning style. While I can't solve a trigonometry problem--and frankly, my life is still rich not having that ability or inclination--I can file a joint tax return armed with only our T4 statements and a calculator, follow a map, and figure out 15%-20% restaurant tips off the top of my head, which I understand are difficult for those with that particular learning disability. I also worked in a bookkeeping office for a few years with very little difficulty.

When I was in my early twenties, I was indeed diagnosed with ADD. I can't help but wonder how different my public school education would have been had I been diagnosed as a child or teenager.

I'm visual spatial, which means I need to have a picture in my head to understand it. The teachers were always just hastily scrawling examples on the board and explaining it very fast and expecting me to get all the sequential steps. I'd miss a couple and be lost. One of the classes I really hated was algebra. There is nothing more demoralizing than getting the answers correct and feeling "Wow I did this!" and then getting the paper back and every single problem is marked wrong. No explanation. Nothing. My father did say teachers taught math poorly (he's a math geek), and there were numerous teacher conferences. I think the teacher washed his hands of me early on, and I ended up with a D in the class.

aruna
02-20-2013, 04:33 PM
I remember breathing a sigh of releif when hearing this word and its definition for the first time several years ago. I'm definitely a contender, but not in all areas. I'm good at map-reading. At school, I would get top marks in geometry and bottom marks in arithmetic and algebra. I simply can't remember numbers or hold them in my head. If I have to add 9 + 4 I have to silently move my fingers to keep track (I say nine to myself, then count 10, 11, 12, 13 on four fingers.) I cannot add two-digit numbers without actually writing them down and adding the single digits first one by one, on my fingers.

Most of all, I cannot remember dates, that is, years, especially when it comes to history. I do not know which in year Shakespeare was born, or Mozart, or what century was the French Revolution. My mind is a total blank at things like that; I cannot place famous authors in history, I don't know who lived earlier, Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, for example. I have read these things umpteen times, but the numbes flee my brain like water through a sieve. There are exceptions; 1066 is engraved in my mind for some reason. I can remember the dates and years of birth of my kids, but I forget that of my parents. 9/11, obviously. 1978, the year of Jonestown. 1981, the year I spent in Cambridge, Massachusetts, because I live at a house which was Number 81 and the house was nicknamed "81". 1990, the year of German reunification, because it was the year my daughter was born.

Left and right: I need to always think of my hands. I broke my left hand when I was ten and it still has a lumpy bone on it and a deformed finger. So if I have to figure left and right, I first guage where my left hand is with the wonky finger. I wiggle that finger; OK, so that's left.

I also hate loud sounds; but that may simply because I love stillness.

Name/face matching ability is also very poor.

Orianna2000
02-20-2013, 07:22 PM
I didn't realize that poor athletic ability was part of the symptoms. I definitely have that one! I hated PE class with a vengeance, because I couldn't run the mile in less than 15 minutes, and I couldn't make the basketball hit the hoop, even if I was close by. I just wasn't coordinated enough to play softball, or volleyball, or any of the sports they want you to play. I usually got out of PE because I had physical excuses, like getting migraines, or being allergic to the sun and therefore being unable to participate in outdoor sports. (Turns out I have porphyria, which causes a severe burning reaction when the skin is exposed to even small amounts of UV light. I pretty much live indoors, or else wear long sleeves when I go outside.)

As for map reading, I can do it, but I can't just look at the map and know which way to turn. I have to physically rotate the map so that it's facing the same way I'm going, and then I can say, "Okay, we need to turn left at the next street." Otherwise, I can't figure out where we're going.

aruna
02-20-2013, 08:42 PM
So many confessions! I have another one. I am terrified of IQ tests, because I know that calculations play such a huge role in them. I'm afraid of the proof that I have low intelligence, because of these problems.

I also have the poor-athletic-skills thing and the poor-musical-sense thing. In fact the only thing I was ever really good at was making up stories! Pretty useless.

Pearl
02-20-2013, 08:53 PM
I'm tone deaf. I have trouble learning dance steps. Bright lights don't annoy me nor do I have trouble remembering faces and names. I may get a little confused at first but then I remember. But some sounds do bother me. I don't know if this is a symptom of dyscalculia, but high squeaky voices drive me up the wall. It's the pitch that gets to me, but it could just be me.

jennontheisland
02-20-2013, 09:37 PM
Maybe I'm just stubborn, but I still insist that this stuff is somewhat typical. I don't understand these baselines against which all these dys's are set. A person should always, every time, without fail be able to immediately and without thought determine right from left? No one should ever make number typos that even after erasing and trying again three or four times they can't get things in the right order? Everyone makes associations between things, some of us are just more aware of them than others.

I have a tattoo on my left index finger and I still can't tell someone which way to turn. I regularly reverse numbers (sucks bigtime as an engineering student), have no concept whatsoever of time, but remember minute and odd details, and will take the batteries out of any clock that ticks within hearing range. Memories and people have... tastes. Can't thing of any other way to describe that.

I may end up having dys's applied to me later in the year when I'm finally tested for ADD. I'm not sure what the labels will get me though, other than more words to describe my obvious lack of normal.

shakeysix
02-20-2013, 10:31 PM
I was a decent athlete but have no sense of balance or rhythm. My sports were tennis, archery, swimming. I did play softball and well, but usually avoided team sports. Debate was my best sport and I do have a letter!

I was popular in school. I was even homecoming queen in college, but always avoided pep assemblies. When i had to attend, it was an ordeal. Now I know why I purely hate crowds and loud noises and it makes sense. I'm not weird, I have discardia! (My less than sensitive daughters have taken to calling my newly discovered disability discardia instead of dyscalculia, because I am absent minded and prone to lose shit--But i digress)

Last Wednesday we had our monthly faculty meeting. A part of every meeting is devoted to students who are "at risk." This is usually valuable because it allows all of the teachers involved to have some input in helping each other to reach out to problem students.

On Wednesday a student, I will call him Chico, was discussed. We all have some concerns about him but I guess he is driving the principal and coaches crazy because although Chico is an athlete--a formidable long distance runner-- he skips out on the pep assemblies and will not sign up for team sports. I guess his absences have been a school wide mystery because come pep assemblies no one can find him, even when he is being honored.

One of the coaches--God love him, he means well-- was blowing on about how we teachers should corral this kid and force him to attend the weekly pep assemblies. His thinking was that team sports and loud, rowdy pep assemblies will make Chico a normal kid! The principal was all for this so no one voiced any concern. At the time I didn't admit it, but Chico has been hiding out in my room with a handful of misfits who, like me, ditch the pep assemblies. The other misfits are non-athletes, so of course no one misses them, even in our tiny school. We color stained glass coloring books, play word games or tell funny family stories. I kept my piece at this meeting, but next meeting I will speak up for Chico! --s6

Dreadful Romantic
02-20-2013, 10:45 PM
Dreadful Romantic, I'm so sorry you had such bad experiences in school. Around here, (theoretically) a teacher who did something like that (and got caught) would be fired immediately. Sadly, that doesn't stop kids from getting bullied by those in authority.

I was diagnosed with ADD in my early 20s, as well, but it may very well be that my problem is related more to having bipolar, which wasn't diagnosed until more recently.

I didn't tell my mother about that incident until well after I had graduated from elementary school. She asked why I didn't tell her because she would have contacted the school, and I said I didn't think anything would come of it--if anything, I would have been told to develop a thicker skin, listen in class, and try harder (basically, what I heard on a regular basis). I'd been told since Grade 2 that my issues with math were due to laziness and it was implied that I was stupid, so I didn't expect anyone to stick up for me.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-20-2013, 11:38 PM
I have a tattoo on my left index finger and I still can't tell someone which way to turn. I regularly reverse numbers (sucks bigtime as an engineering student), have no concept whatsoever of time, but remember minute and odd details, and will take the batteries out of any clock that ticks within hearing range. Memories and people have... tastes. Can't thing of any other way to describe that.


That's another form of synesthesia. It's not always the numbers-and-colors thing.

jennontheisland
02-21-2013, 12:39 AM
Dys's and syn's then.

I'm still not convinced that everyone doesn't experience these sorts of thing to some extent or another.

Besides, while I have all the "symptoms" I listed above, I've been able to tell time on any clock since I was 4, I am good at math, always have been, (except trig which makes me dizzy), I see patterns in numbers that aren't always immediately apparent to others, maintain precise financial control at home and work, and I have excellent number recall to the extent that redoing practice questions in math classes is pointless because I remember the answers as soon as I start the question. I have a wicked sense of direction, can make my way around a strange city by looking at a map a few times, and I have 3d visuospatial skills like whoa. I can estimate distances, draw geometric shapes in perspective, and look at a pot of soup and know exactly what size container(s) I need to store it.

So while I've got some dys and sys traits in areas of limitations, I can be freakishly good at other traits. The more I've learned about these sorts of descriptions (diagnoses?) the less I think there is anything that can be called "neurotypical".

Chasing the Horizon
02-21-2013, 01:36 AM
I'd been told since Grade 2 that my issues with math were due to laziness
I still kind of believe most of my math issues were due to laziness, even with the official dyscalculia diagnosis. I mean, the main reason I got the diagnosis was because my math skills were five grades behind my next-worst subject (I was only three grade levels behind in math, but I was at least two grade levels *ahead* in everything else).

The reason I wonder is because I HATED math from day one. The only other thing I've ever hated that much is sports and, surprise, I'm terrible at those as well. So it comes down to the question: am I terrible at it because I hate it, or do I hate it because I'm terrible at it? There's no doubt math didn't come as easily to me as everything else, but the fact everything else came easily meant I had absolutely no idea how to study or any experience at failing on my first attempt at anything. I didn't develop the emotional maturity to try again after a failure instead of quitting in frustration until I was in my early 20s.

I definitely have visual-spatial issues (left/right, map-reading), but I can do some pretty complicated math for my writing. Figuring distance and speed and time, converting different units, programming my word-counting spreadsheet with formulas, etc. It's funny how, when I need to figure something for a book I deeply care about completing correctly, my disability seems to go away.

I often wonder if my issues were a combination of hating the subject and the way math is taught. Even though I was homeschooled, my mother could only teach math in the way it was taught to her and how the texts said to teach it, and that definitely doesn't work for me.

I have to see a practical application for what I'm doing, not simply be given abstract numbers. I've done complex calculations to figure when my characters will arrive different places in my books, and convert currencies and speed/distance units, and never struggle, even when the problems have 7 or 8 steps to solve.

I now wonder if there were a math course that presented all problems as real-world word problems, just how far I'd be able to go with it. I mean, I still can't solve a two-step formula expressed in math terms, but I can do much more complex problems expressed in words.

Friendly Frog
02-21-2013, 03:13 AM
I have not been diagnosed but several years ago an administrator in my school system told me that she thought I was this. She started by asking me if I had a history of ear infections and high fevers as a child. Sure did.

It's related to ear infections? Heh, that might explain why I'm the only one in the family to mess up my numbers.

I don't think what I have is actual dyscalculia, though. It's very mild in any case.

I was always bad at maths throughout school. I still fondly remember my last math-teacher, though. She really did try. But I consider the main reason I was bad at math was because I couldn't really motivate myself to learn it well. Now I wish I still knew some of the things I learned to do then, but since I had to give up my school notebooks, I can't look them up again and now wish I had paid more attention back then!

My problem with numbers came late in high school, around the time I started learning a fourth language. It's language which is mostly to blame for my problem, I think. In one language you say 65 as 60-5 (as sixty-five in English), in another language you say the single digit first: 5-60 (vijfenzestig in Dutch). It's here where I shift my numbers around and read them wrong. But even with bigger numbers it's usually only the last two digits, single and tens, that give me problems. I think my brain sometimes gets confused about which language it should be reading numbers in.

I very often can't get my tongue around very normal words that happen to be longer then three sylables. The words just get tied in a knot that I must unravel mentally first before I can get it out. This I had for as long as I remember, pretty frustrating too. I feel like an babbling idiot, tripping over pretty normal, straightforwards words. But it's seldom the same words over and over.

I don't have a memory for numbers. Took me years to remember my own phone number. Now it's one of the two only phone numbers I know by heart. Still don't remember the house number of the building where my work is located and I only work there for 7 years now.

But in group quizzes most of the time I'm the one to crack the math-questions. Go figure. I'm fairly good with shapes, although I still can't solve a Rubic's cube after years of trying, and my estimating distances is particularly shoddy. By contrast I have a very good sense of the passage of time. I can often guess what the time is with some accuracy before looking at my watch.

I do have a left-right problem. Very often I have to move my writing hand, which I know is my right hand, to know which direction is which. But I have the problem far more often while speaking than say, map-reading. I can read maps fairly well.

Dorky
02-21-2013, 03:31 AM
Maybe I'm just stubborn, but I still insist that this stuff is somewhat typical. I don't understand these baselines against which all these dys's are set. A person should always, every time, without fail be able to immediately and without thought determine right from left? No one should ever make number typos that even after erasing and trying again three or four times they can't get things in the right order?


I'm still not convinced that everyone doesn't experience these sorts of thing to some extent or another.

Sure. On a bad day or when someone is tired, they can switch numbers around, screw up their left and right, or read a clock wrong. However, for most people, this is not typical behavior. Yes, they can make mistakes every now and again, but it is not something that consistently happens to them.

Diagnoses for this sort of thing aren’t based on the question of, “Have you ever at any point in your life been unable to mentally turn a map? If you said yes, you have this learning disability. Congratulations!” Rather, it is diagnosed when a pattern of behavior exists.

Besides, it isn't typical if your brain probably is literally different in some way from everyone else:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia#section_4
http://www.dyscalculia.org/dyscalculia/math-ld-causes#genetic_social

Rhoda Nightingale
02-22-2013, 01:53 AM
@jennontheisland: I agree with Dorky. But I see where you're coming from. If you can check off a few of these symptoms, it doesn't necessarily mean there's something "wrong" with you. It just puts a name to a neurological issue that people struggle with and, now having a name for it, might approach in a more progressive way.

(Also, synesthesia really isn't a disorder--and trust me, not everyone has it.)

I like seeing this talked about just to raise awareness that it exists. Dyscalculia can be a relief for those of us who are bad at math despite actually TRYING to make it make sense. I like having a word to point to and say, "SEE? I'm not stupid, I have this thing! Stop making me do the numbers!!" My brother has this belief that the only reason I don't like math is because I'm "afraid" of it and it would be easy for me if I only "applied" myself. Which...is not the case. At all.

shakeysix
02-22-2013, 02:16 AM
We have this running joke in our family: "How damn dumb are you?" These days it is a real knee slapper when my sibs and I say it to each other but in our baby boom childhood parents were not as ...uh, supportive as they are now.

"How damn dumb are you?" was an expected parental response when one of us screwed up. Let's say for example, one of us bought a car for 100$ and ran away from home to see the world but only made it to Amarillo Tx before the car cratered and Dad had to drive all the way to the Panhandle to pick him up.

NOT that i ever did anything that stupid but I, an A student in all other subjects had one hell of a struggle with math and Home Ec. I sewed the bleeping sleeves onto my sewing project backwards! And I did this not once, not twice, but three times!

"You have an A in Spanish IV but failed Home Ec????? How damn dumb are you, Kid?"

Shakey raises her eyes skyward "I'm not damn dumb! I have freaking DYSCALCULIA!!!! Probably because YOU FOLKS blew cigarette smoke into my freaking baby ear to cure an earache!!!! Instead of taking me to a doctor which would have cost all of two dollars!!!!!!!"

Sigh, nobody is listening. still, I can say now, with conviction, that I am not damned dumb! There were times I had my doubts!

Orianna2000
02-22-2013, 02:26 AM
Disorders are a spectrum. Normal people experience certain symptoms from time to time, even if they don't have a disorder. People with the disorder experience them more frequently and to a greater severity. That doesn't mean everyone who can't tell left from right, or hates math, has dyscalculia. But if they have a lot of the symptoms and they're severe enough that it causes a disruption in their life, then maybe they do. Maybe.

It's definitely not normal for most people to have these symptoms on a regular basis. I get looked at weird when I mention that I have trouble reading a clock, or that I can't tell left from right, or that loud noises/bright lights make me want to crawl into a hole and never come out. And synesthesia? People think you're crazy when you say that you can see music in full color, or that days of the week have their own colors or personalities. Although, as a child, I had a friend who also had synesthesia, so it was years before I realized there was anything unusual about it.