Location: New York City Posts: 3 Joined: 2012-01-27
Just wanted to introduce myself and say that it was such a relief to put a name to what I thought was a practice problem. I'm 33 years old, grew up between the USA and Australia and have had problems with numbers all my life. Basic arithmetic, remembering numbers, just keeping the numbers in my head during a 23 + 42 exercise would end up muddled and end with me asking what the question was again.
My father is a maths pro who always tried to put things into an easy way to understand, (i.e. if I have 3 oranges and you give me 3 more, how many oranges do I have?). However, I could never really figure out why it was 6. I have always felt like I do not understand "WHY" 2+2=4 and the only reason I know the answer is rote learning over and over again until it was just a reflex, however, that doesn't always work.
I'm constantly telling my friends to please let me know how much the tip is on a dinner purchase and asking my wife to help me with working out how much the price will be in a store after a 20% discount.
I excel at writing. Although I sucked at math and consequentially science and programming (since I needed to have math skills for those subjects) I managed to get 4 degrees at university. Arts/Law/Postgrad Law/Masters of Law. I've read in the last few weeks that this is very common for people with Dyscalculia.
I've lived with this thing my whole life and although I can't do math, I feel like there are so many other things in life you can do without it, so its not so terrible for me.
One thing though and I wonder if it is like this for anyone else, I am actually SOO INTERESTED in math. You can read what you want into that, perhaps its that I don't understand how it works, can't process it or something more sinister, but I spent yesterday reading all about how to re-learn math in a way that allows me to understand the "why" and somehow circumvent Dyscalculia.
I'm floored by the fact there are so many other people with Dyscalulia and it honestly makes me happy that I found not only a description for this situation, but also other people who understand what I've been through.
I'm yet to read these forums and will start today looking for ways to re-learn numbers. If that takes an abacus, going to an online class or whatever, I'll do it.
I was diagnosed with math LD in college after continually failing remedial college math. I was also tired of having such issues with analog clocks and so I read up on the possibility and self-referred to Disabled Student Services. I was born a couple of months premature and was in Special Ed as a kid for speech and language and in a "special" gym class spontaneously arranged during my 7th or 8th grade years, for kids who didn't "fit"/perform average or well in that class. It was held in a large utility room where they stored the weight equipment and mats etc. The teacher would come in and give us - about 6 -8 of us - our assignment and then go back out to the main floor where everybody else was. It was a mixed group of "outsiders" and "just-not-popular" kids - a very obese girl, someone who was electively mute etc . A couple of the kids who were in there were one of my many bullies on the "outside" and they themselves were also bullied. My mom found out about arrangement that and was she pissed.
So, I've always had trouble with sequence, spatial orientation, some motor skills <putting gloves on and learning to suck through a straw as a young child for example>, handwriting issues in elementary grades....didn't learn to tell time or count money til high school. Still have difficulty with those things and have never worn a watch. I was also allegedly born with missing inner ear bones.
Always in highest reading and writing groups, took AP English and Bio in high school and went to an arts specialty high school.
I still count on my fingers - and don't hide it. I take extra time in line and often get change wrong.
I tend to think in pictures and have difficulty with spoken or written multi-step directions...units of measurement mean nothing to me <feet, inches>. I don't know how to use a ruler.
But LD was never caught.
I graduated from my university with a double major in Spanish and Sociology and for a time was case manager working with people with cognitive disabilities and on the severe end of the autism spectrum.
It's intriguing that you grew up between U.S. and Aus - your family military?
as far as the tips and percents and stuff, my husband helps me with that or I ask friends to do it.
Are you working as a lawyer?
I honestly have no interest in math or trying to figure it out but I can see why someone with LD might.
I understand what you mean about remembering 2+2=4 as being something you just memorize. I think that's the only reason I know my times tables, by rote memorization. To actually add the math in my head simply does not happen. I don't even visualize numbers very well.
That must have been tough growing up with a math prof for a father! I thought growing up with a CGA for a father was tough..
I applaud you for getting four degrees! Well done.
Again, welcome to the forums. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Algebra? When I learn decimals and fractions, you're welcome to try teaching me, but unless you have the patience of a saint and are very long-lived, good luck with that...
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6101 Joined: 2008-05-25
Hi Optmi, and welcome.
I like your idea about getting an abacus and learning to use it,... not for passing any math course in particular,... just to try to understand numbers better. It would give, I think, a sense of 'mastering' some portion of the numbers universe. BTW, our Admin 'eoffg' is an Aussie, and he is always encouraging the forum members to get an abacus and to learn to use it. He isn't dyscalculic, but he's always on the look-out for different ways to help us. Glad you've found us here.
I got a 2-year paralegal degree at the end of 2009, my AA at the end of 2011, and I'm now in a 4-year Uni. If all goes well, I'll graduate with a BA in Spanish about this time next year. - jus'
Location: New York City Posts: 3 Joined: 2012-01-27
Thanks for the welcome all. I'm still just so relieved to hear that there are others like me out there.
@rottiewoman: such an interesting story. Can't believe what happened to you in special ed. I'm sorry to hear that. Tips and percents are also something I pass off to my wife almost immediately. I don't even open the check booklet at restaurants anymore. To answer your question, I'm not working as a lawyer, I left the profession to work solely as the manager of a contracts group. Believe it or not, one of the main reasons was that I had to calculate my own billing by 4 minute incriments...for full days. I still shudder to think about it. Honestly though, the profession wasn't all that it was cracked up to be and I'm much happier now. I think I'm more of an ideas person than anything else, I love starting things but sadly cannot seem to finish them. I'm a big daydreamer
As to the military, my parents weren't involved in it. They followed the IT trade from the US to the southern hemisphere where it was catching on after the US boom.
@Ladyhawke: The name of one of my favorite movies from the 80's. Too right about having a maths' guru as a dad. My father is Dyslexic with words, so I think he overcompensated in the maths arena, while I now know I'm dyscalculiac with numbers. What a pair I married an accountant!!! Sucker for punishment or perhaps trying to balance myself out. Go figure.
@justfoundout: Thanks for all the info and encouragement with trying to understand numbers. I really do feel like I want to understand and that's the most frustrating thing of all. I've actually developed something which may help me and others but I'm still working on it (this week). I'll be sure to write about it later on if it works. As for the abacus, I've chosen a japanese style one and found a book tutorial on how to use it. Fingers crossed on that.
Again, thanks everyone for your welcome and I look forward to hearing more from you in the forums.
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6101 Joined: 2008-05-25
We're always glad to hear back from the new people who come to this forum. Sometimes, when I see such a big welcome and such good answers, I send a PM when the person doesn't come back to us after a few weeks. I hate for them to miss out on the friendship that's being offered.
As for working in law offices, I know about part of what you are talking about. When I got hired as receptionist, they had me (of all things) doing the billing using Sage software. The 'reasons' had been programmed to appear when the first few words were typed,... then the rest of the explanation would automatically pop up. But the auditors didn't like for there to be monotomy in the 'reasons', and they didn't like big chunks being explained away with just one 'reason'. <sighs> Plus, I had to try to read the handwriting of the lawyers and paralegals, telling how they'd spent their day. It was illegible and very frustrating.
I know what you mean, too, about being happier by getting away from law. I had to ready the conference room for the sworn testimonies (They had a couple of different kinds.). But hearing all that stress, day after day, tends to wear on a person. The lawyer with the sharpest mind and the largest capacity to imagine 'the worst' in the other person was the biggest asset to his own client.
One of my friends was a paralegal from 16 years old to about 33 years old. She could do anything 'legal',... divorces, write grant letters, file anything,... but she got away from it because it didn't make her happy. Also, when I found out about the existence of dyscalculia, she was the first person I told. Sbe believes she is also dyscalculic. I think she's right, because I was able to help her with math, so that she could get free college classes that she was offered. If "I" was able to help "her" with math, you know that something is wrong. ;) - jus'
Location: Somewhere in the United States Posts: 7 Joined: 2012-01-30
I have difficulty with doing math in my head in general but tips are not too hard for me when using the 10-15-20% rules....10% you just move the decimal point to the left one digit. 20% is just double that number, meaning move the decimal point to the left one digit and take the resulting number and multiply times 2 or add it to itself. 15% is one and a half times the number after you've moved the decimal point. Anyway, when in doubt round up to the next highest dollar in favor of your server unless they were rude and then just leave a penny unless you plan to be a regular....