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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?





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Trouble with mental maps? Trouble with drawing maps?
Tamsin
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Posted on April 25 2011 07:55 PM
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I actually have a very good memory for remembering things like how to get to certain places, or remembering store outlines. I can go to a store once and remember the general area where certain foods care. However, I have a hard time drawing maps and outlines of stores because I cannot figure how to draw things to scale whic means that my maps are lopsided and distorted.

Even though I can easily remember how to get to the majority of places I have been to, I still don't know street names. Just today I asked a guy for directions to the vet and the guy was like "uh, yeah. You go down [x] road about [x] miles and then turn right on [another x] street. When you get to [x] avenue you turn right" blah, blah, blah. In my mind I got lost after about 2 seconds. For some reason I can remember how to get places, but only when I can physically see the road. I am no good at giving directions either because I can't see the road in my head and no longer even pay attention to street names. Finally I had to ask the guy if they were by a store or landmark or something. He said "oh yeah we are by [x] grocery store" and right then I was able to figure out where they were and, mostly, how to get there because I had been to that store once.

It just seems that when people give me all these street names and distances they might as well be speaking Chinese for all I can tell. And don't ask me to draw a map either. Is anybody else like this?
 
justfoundout
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Posted on April 25 2011 08:51 PM
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4/25/11
Dear Tamsin,
I'm almost the flip-side opposite of you, but with the same 'where is it' problem. With me, I have a very poor memory for 'sequence and proceedures'. Now, if someone would 'write it down', yes, I'd be able to follow the same kind of directions that you are so fond of. ;) But since I can't 'remember things' in the right sequence, my 'nightmare' is when a person, usually a 'man', will insist on giving me a detailed play-by-play list of every single store that I'm going to pass on my way 'there'. The 'turn left', 'turn right, and 'do a U-turn' instructions get included in this sort of narrative, but only as yet one more thing in a long series of indications. I try to listen politely, waiting for the moment when I can ask, "What's the name of the street where I turn left?" But the person is usually 'glorying' in the fun of retracing his metal imagery, while he imagines that I'm 'seeing' the same thing. Finally, when I get to speak again, I'll ask, "And when I turn left on that street, will I then be heading 'west'?" This is where I find out that the person giving me directions has absolutely no concept of NSEW, and has no idea which direction I should be heading at any point in the 'directions' that he's given me. If I can write fast enough, I write down every boring, confusing detail of what I'm given, because you never know which piece of information will actually be meaningful once you get there.

I had a man once tell me how to get to his and his wife's house in a different town, who talked for 15 minutes telling me every landmark between my house and his, practically from the time I would turn right at the corner at the end of my block, and tell me every 7/11 between my house and his,... all without mentioning any of 4 or 5 major highways that were along that route. This was for a 'business appointment'. When I got to his house, his wife greeted me at the door, and her husband was sound asleep. I guess he thought that I'd never find the place? - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on April 25 2011 08:52 PM
 
Tamsin
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Posted on April 25 2011 10:03 PM
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Oh yeah, if somebody gave me a long list of all the stores I would see along the way that would be like giving me a map to read, which I can't. I just need one big store, park, etc nearby and I am usually set. I can't explain why I can remember some things so well and yet still struggle with basic math.

Does anybody else have a hard time reading compasses as well? They are too confusing for meSad
 
moxfactor
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Posted on May 02 2011 01:27 PM
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i think i have a fairly good grasp with transposing landmarks and storefronts as well. my scale is also pretty wonky, which is why i'm quite dependent on maps when i travel, with lots of notes and arrows written before hand.

don't believe in GPS when you're in urban areas, that always gets me lost because of interference and just how unreliable GPS is in smalls scale.

asking for directions, i do often have to physically draw a map, with no regards for scale, just how many small ticks representing how many blocks i need to pass before turning one way or another. i can go back to a place pretty easily once i've been there and memorized each street name i crossed getting there.

it's a PITA having tons of street names in order in my head i often get lost in conversations with friends when we're trying to go somewhere, even sitting in a taxi my mind wanders to whether i've passed X street yet, and the next one upcoming is Y avenue...
 
CheshireKat
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Posted on May 02 2011 03:35 PM
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I have driven my drunk friends home who were better with directions than me. In fact, I have one friend who I have driven home several times, and even totally wasted he STILL had to remind me of how to get to his apartment. It's pretty sad when someone who can barely walk is reminding you which street to take to get somewhere you have been to several times.

I am actually really good at drawing maps, and I think that is because I myself am so bad at reading them, that I have gotten good at making maps that are VERY easy to read and follow. You can't get lost on my maps, it's just not possible. I make them with only the main streets you need, and a few non-distracting landmarks to give you an idea of distance and whether or not you're still on the right track. Whenever we do something for church people always ask me for directions or to draw a map, because my directions are so crystal clear and easy to follow. The only reason I got good at that is because I had to learn how to translate directions into "Kat language" so that I could actually get places.

When it comes to directions I am much more comfortable in terms of landmarks than street names/numbers, mostly because I forget the street numbers or switch them around in my head. It's much easier for me to remember, "The street past the Wal-mart" than "15th Street" for example. I only want to be told street numbers in terms of main streets, such as, "Start on 10th street, then go like you're going towards the movie theater, keep going until you pass the Wal-mart..." etc.

My aunt absolutely does not understand that I can't do distance or street numbers, and whenever she gives me directions she always gives them to me in terms of, "Start going East on 10th street for about 2.5 miles, then turn left onto 15th Avenue..." I have to have her hand the phone to my uncle so he can give me directions that I actually understand, which would be more like, "Go towards the movie theater on 10th, turn left two streets after the grocery store."

One of my favorite directional blunder stories involves the time I was going to a wedding rehearsal dinner and I got terribly, awfully, completely lost. The rehearsal was at the person's house out in the absolute middle of nowhere, which involved taking a lot of different country roads that all had numerical names (such as, CR-300). There were also no landmarks, just cow fields and the occasional little church or gas station. I ended up driving into a man's yard who I saw on a tractor and asking him where on earth I was, and how I could get to where I needed to go. (This is small-town America so I knew he would know the person I was trying to find, and probably wouldn't kill me. I don't suggest that anybody just randomly approach strange men in the middle of nowhere and ask for directions when you get lost. That just has "horror movie" written all over it.)

This guy was really nice but his directions were, shall we say, undecipherable. He used a lot of left/right directives, and while he didn't use street names/numbers in his directions, he referenced a lot of less-than-reliable landmarks. It was something like, "Well, you turn around here and ya go about a little ways left, then you'll see a cow pasture with some brown Jersey cows, you'll jog a little ways to the left, keep goin', see a white church, jog a little ways to the right, keep goin', see a limestone white road, take that, keep on to the right, I think the road might fork there after you get past the long wooden fence, they just painted it, think it's black now..." etc.

Needless to say, I ended up parking my car at the corner of two county roads and calling my uncle to come find me so I could follow him back to where I needed to be. I will never live that down in my family.
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer
 
justfoundout
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Posted on May 02 2011 07:32 PM
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5/2/11
Kat, when I make my hand-drawn maps, because of my 'sequencing' problems, I've learned that even when (let's say) we are going to 'turn right' on 10th Street, it's still a good idea to draw a tiny line before 10th Street (and write 9th Street there) and another tiny line after 10th Street (and write 11th Street there), just to make sure that I am anticipating the appearance of 10th Street where it's supposed to be. - jus'
 
moxfactor
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Posted on May 05 2011 03:09 AM
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ya, just the other day i was counting out numbers of streets until X and my friend caught me counting 1, 2, 4, 5, 5, 7, .... or something like that. memory leaks when not concentrating hard enough~
 
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