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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?





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Famous dys
Toe_Nail
#1 Print Post
Posted on April 16 2008 10:43 PM
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There's this friend with whom on my firsts attemps to explain to her what is dyscalculia, she dismissed it nearly everytime by naming a famous poet (I keep forgetting his name) who was dyslexic. In other words, it's as if this friend was saying that LDs such as dyslexia/dyscalculia & etc are more of a blessing than anything - Since then, it has become impossible to get her to listen and want to understand what is dyscalculia.

I realize that she's not the only person who does that and I'm frankly getting real tired of hearing people comparing us with Einstein, DaVinci, Edison & all which in my opinion, is more dismissive than it is helping us. Or at least, it isn't helping in the way that it was intended to;

Citing famous ''dys' people shouldn't be used that say that since Einstein was a 'dys' and that you are 'dys' you have no excuse to not be like Einstein Angry// Citing famous ''dys' should be used in the sense that success isn't exclusive to 'non-dys' people Smile

I have been reading a lot about logical fallacies lately and came to realize that far too many people use Einstein, DaVinci & all as a falacious argument, the Fallacy Of The General Rule to be more precise which consists of assuming that something true in general is true in every possible case.

Then I began to think about concrete ways to illustrate how such agument is illogic and I came to the following conclusion:

When someone is saying so and so was dyslexic or dys-whatever, the sort of hidden message that is sent is that us 'dys-whatever' people are so lucky to have role models such as Einstein, DaVinci, Edison & all... and I suppose that non-dys folks out there are unlucky? NO... and here's why:

The prevalence of dyscalculia is about the same as dyslexia (6%)
Six per cent means that if you randomly pick 100 people, there are likely 6 'dys'
Than means that if you randomly pick 100 pizza delivery-guys there are 6 'dys'
Again, if you randomly pick 100 people who marked history in a way or another... you've guessed it there are 6 of them that have some form of 'dys .... and since 100 - 6 = 94, Ninety-four of them that are non-dys! I guess that our 'non-dys' friends out there really have no excuses Pfft
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer -- Albert Einstein
 
ert
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Posted on April 17 2008 08:18 PM
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You already know we disagree on this, but just to mention why again:

We're seen as stupid. Lazy. Freaks. Having a famous face that people like, helps them to understand that we are not freaks. The end Smile
 
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Toe_Nail
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Posted on April 18 2008 12:15 AM
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Yes, I already know you and possibly others disagree with me on this, only the last time I stated my opinion about this, I really failed to express myself clearly... and yes, made myself look quite foolish.

This said, not that I'm trying to make you change your mind about this and neither should you, but rather now that I've managed to put my thoughts together and find the right words to express them, I'm only trying to demonstrate a different perspective.

We're seen as stupid. Lazy. Freaks. Having a famous face that people like, helps them to understand that we are not freaks.


Fair enough.
Now I'll show you how having a famous face that people like can be twisted around and used against us to say that we're lazy stupid freaks with the following all too common scenario:

SCENARIO:
Andy is a dyscalculic, he's smart, talented and self-reliant but certain situation when he needs to perform certain specific tasks, and espescially when there is pressure, he feels stressed and overwhelmed. He could very well do the said task on his own, only it would take him a lot of time to double check and verify and time is lacking. His friend and collegue Bruno is getting impatient at Andy which in turn, is becoming fearful that he might be criticized again and yelled at for his 'careless mistakes' (Haven't we all been there, right?)

So Andy decides to ask Bruno for help but here's the thing, Bruno sorta 'dumped' the work on Andy because he(Bruno) didn't have the time or courage to takle the work on his own (Don't we all know someone like that?)

So when Andy asks Bruno help, Bruno's reply is something along the lines of:
"Why? You're a big boy, can't you do a simple thing by yourself?"

Of course, Bruno doesn't know Andy is dyscalculic and so common sense says that if Bruno would know why Andy needs help and how the thought of tackling this on his own makes him feel stressed and fear criticism, Bruno would likely be more inclined to offer help and be more understanding.

So Andy explains to Bruno why he needs help and explains how his dyscalculia makes certain things more difficult to do and how he feels stressed and affraid of making mistakes and be yelled at. Bruno listens and sympathises.

"Oh, I would have never guessed...' Bruno says, "it doesn't show at all. But you know, we all make careless mistakes, it happens to everyone. You just need to pay more attention, be more careful." (Haven't we all heard that one before?)

To witch Andy realizes that his friend Bruno doesn't quite understand. So Andy explains that he does verify and play closer attention but that the dyscalculia does create 'careless mistakes' which sometimes completely escape him.

"Bogus, there wouldn't be any careless mistakes if you'd pay attention and verify carefully" Bruno says

"You don't understand..." Andy says,"I can't verify too well on my own, well I can, but it would take me a long time and even then, there might be some mistakes that I haven't seen"

Bruno: "Oh, stop putting yourself down like that. Never say that you can't do something. If you belive that you can't do something, of course that you wont! Ernest Hemingway was dyslexic and he was a writer!!"

Put yourself in Andy's shoes, and say how would you feel?
Angry? Hurt? Very much so and for a reason because by pointing out that Hemingway was dyslexic and that that didn't stop him from becoming a famous writer,the hidden message that is sent says that Hemingway became a famous writer despite the fact that he was dyslexic, likely because of his strong will and determination... unlike you Andy, who's a whinner and complains that you can't do something on your own because you are dyscalculic but really, you're just lazy, or maybe you're really stupid.

That is called a twisted truth by the way. It's a type of logical falacy which consists of using one statement wich is true (Hemingway = dyslexic writer) in order to make another statement which isn't necessarily true sound to be true (in this case: you're nothing but a lazy whinner and the proof of that is that Hemingway was a dyslexic writer... see?) Angry

Falacies such as twisted truth are often used by manipulators and they are really hard to un-twist in part because you have to see them comming ahead of time. Manipulators are very good at covering their tracks. But sometimes Twisted Truths and falacies can used by people who don't necessarily mean any harm. They don't even realize what they are doing. Mainly, it is often because of ignorance, or they want to cheer you up by saying "hey Einstein was dyslexic" but the context in which that was brought up is comepletely wrong which makes things sound like "Hey, Einstein was dyslexic what are you whinning about?" in which case I believe it is good to remind people that for every 100 geniuses there are 6 dyslexic ones and 94 non-dyslexic ones,so they don't have anything to whine about either. It put things right into the right perspective. It doesn't take away that Einstein or Hemingway or whomever was/is dyslexic but it prevents people from assuming and spreading rumors that only 'dys' can be geniuses, talented writers and etc because if it really was the case, well, I guess that they'd be kinda right to tell us off and point-out that 'dys' are more of a blessing than anything else.

This said, sorry (again) for the long post. I know it's an un-popular subject but I can't help to feel deep inside of me that there is something really wrong in there when people miss-use and generalize information like this.
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer -- Albert Einstein
 
eoffg
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Posted on April 18 2008 08:24 AM
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Toe_NailSmile,
I appreciate the point that you're trying to make.
Though I would suggest that their are 2 sides to it?

Where it can be used to 'put someone down', or to give them confidence?

If a Dyslexic is trying to write something, and really struggling, then it's not going to help, saying Hemmingway was Dyslexic.
It rather dismisses their struggle?

On the other hand, if Dyslexic person wants to write a book, and asks if they would be able to do it, given they have Dyslexia?
Then saying that Hemmingway was Dyslexic, could be helpful.

It really comes down to the context, where as you say, it can often be mis-used to trivialise a persons difficulty.
 
dawn
#5 Print Post
Posted on April 18 2008 08:51 PM
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I find the fact that Einstein is dyslexic as interesting as the fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have adopted another child...a sort of "Ooh" and no more. It doesn't help or hinder me one bit . It does nothing to pacify me that there is a good future for my child.
What does interest me is finding out that "Fred Smith" is a dys and has a successful business in Manchester and is married with 2 kids and socialises in the same group as me and is doing very nicely thank you very much! That gets a big " Ooooh really? how did you manage with maths and do you find problems in business and how did you overcome them?"
Gifted actors and people with lucky breaks are all very well but that doesn't cover my world in realityland.
I get Toenail's point that everyday folk can have dys dat and dee other too but I think most people are unaware that they know someone with dys dat and dee other and the only association they make is with a famous person so they voice their only knowledge of the subject. I don't know if there are any expectations of genius from each dys person though.
If you are the sort who needs a famous role model then fine. It doesn't help me though.
Edited by dawn on April 18 2008 08:52 PM
 
Toe_Nail
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Posted on April 18 2008 09:18 PM
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Thank you GeoffSmile

eoffg wrote:
Toe_NailSmile,
I appreciate the point that you're trying to make.
Though I would suggest that their are 2 sides to it?


Indeed it can be used to put someone down or to give confidence, although in my personal experience I have never yet heard it used to give confidence, except on forums like this one.

By the way, my above example is full of falacies:

"But you know, we all make careless mistakes, it happens to everyone. ..."

Simply put, this one says: "If everyone makes careless mistakes, you are no exception" - Saying so dissmisses the LD, without even aknowledging it.

"Bogus, there wouldn't be any careless mistakes if you'd pay attention and verify carefully"

In this case and where the logic fails, is that it is wrongly assumed that paying attention absolutely solves careless mistakes. The argumentor ommits (intentionally or not) to acknowledge the possibility that there can still be careless mistakes even if someone pays attention.

"Oh, stop putting yourself down like that."

In this falacy the argumentor pretends to give you good advice (don't be negative) and tricks you into beleiving that because his advice is good, he is right to say that you are putting yourself down, only he ommits something very important: You're not being negative, you simply were trying to explain the nature of your difficulty(ies) so that he understands why you are asking for the help or the tools you need to be able to do your work more efficiently (That's very positive!)

"Never say that you can't do something. If you believe that you can't do something, of course that you wont!"


This one is called cliché thinking in the same vein of "Believing is acheiving"... who can argue against that? Because one can't argue against that, the statement must be true and so does the argumentor's point. But again, it completely fails to acknowledge the person's unique set of skills,talents and weaknesses - The irony is that I've often witnessed the same person using both "Believing is acheiving" and "Everyone is unique" (another cliché thinking example) to dismiss or minimise an LD (in case you wonder, it is true that "Everyone is unique" but it isn't true that everyone has an LD)

In all these cases including "Ernest Hemingway was dyslexic and he was a writer!!" the context has a lot to do with it but espescially, the argumentor ommits to state an important piece of imformation, and thus leaving the door wide open for speculations - Because there are a lot of myths and ignorance about LDs, we have a lot of work to do to educate and inform people about dyscalculia and other LDs. But when informing people, I blieve that it should also be our responsibility to provide complete information so that it doesn't get distorted or missinterpreted along the way. I don't have a problem with a message that says that Hemingway was dyslexic or that Cher is dyscalculic, as long as the prevalence (6%) is specified.

eoffg wrote:
It really comes down to the context, where as you say, it can often be mis-used to trivialise a persons difficulty.


I agree. Not only can it trivialise a persons difficulty, it can also trivialise a persons efforts. Afterall if one dismisses the LD, one is simultaneously dismissing that the person is compensating for the LD. Also ingnoring that a problem exisits means ignoring its solutions.



It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer -- Albert Einstein
 
Toe_Nail
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Posted on April 18 2008 09:33 PM
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Hi dawn. I was typing at the same time as you so I didn't see your reply until now.

You speak of gifted individuals. That reminds me of something I have read. It appears that many parents of gifted children tend to have very high expectations for their gifted child. The message that sends to these children is that if they don't meet their parent's expectations, that mom and dad won't love them as much. In the long run, it becomes very damaging to the self-esteem. These children grow into adults who have not yet learned how to set realistic goals and how to properly cope with failiure since failiure equates to not worthy of love, appreciation, acceptation and so, they easilly get frustrated at the slightest difficulty they encounter. Many are depressive and suicidal.

You wrote:
Gifted actors and people with lucky breaks are all very well but that doesn't cover my world in realityland.


That very much sums it up well: Setting realistic goals is the most important thing. Not that becoming famous is impossible but rather that there are other recipies to success than just being famous.


Edited by Toe_Nail on April 18 2008 10:11 PM
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer -- Albert Einstein
 
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