What is Dyscalculia?

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Dyscalculia is a math disability that affects how a person performs math skills. People with this disability struggle with basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Individuals with dyscalculia take longer to process math and are more prone to calculation errors. Many people also struggle with estimation and recalling math facts. I can remember doing endless flash cards and I I don’t have all of my math facts memorized.

Few people know the term dyscalculia. When they think of learning disabilities they think of dyslexia, the reading based disability, not a math based disability. Most people don’t understand how it effects my every day life.

When you don’t have an understanding on how numbers work, it begins to affect other academic areas as well. A majority of the sciences such as chemistry and physics require a great deal of math. I can remember struggling in even the general science courses as well.

I had teachers and other proffessionals who told me that my job and college choices would be limitied because of my math difficulties. I was also told that I couldn’t go beyond a community college.

The difficulties of dyscalculia go beyond the classroom and affect my every day life. I am unable to read an analog clock. When I see the face of an analog clock I can see the lines, numbers and hands that make little sense. I can tell time to the hour, but am limited to that.

I also struggle with reading a ruler and tape measurer. I can see the numbers and lines but I have little understanding of what they mean. I am unable to measure or draw a straight line.

In the store I struggle to total the items that I am purchasing. I am always surprised when I go to register, because I never know how much I am going to spend. My hand dexterity struggles to handle coins and paper money. I also struggle with putting the debit card in the reader and I often forget my pin. Online shopping makes it easier to see how much I am spending.

Another struggle with Dyscalculia is directions. I am unable to give directions on how to get to my house. I struggle with south, east, north, and west. I usually do better if I have a chance to explore a place myself, rather than have someone explain it to me. Thankfully we can put the destination in our phone and get directions read aloud.

Right and left confusion is another part of having a math disability. I cannot tell me right from my left. I have to hold my hands out to know which way is right or left. I am unable to tell which shoe is for the right or the left foot. I have to see which shoe feels comfortable in the morning.

Often times people want to fix my math difficulties. I have had people recommend adult education classes. Basic math classes or a calculator won’t cure my disability.

I have also had people who tell me that they are terrible at math too or say doesn’t everyone struggle with that? I am not sure if those who tell me they are bad at math have a disability or it’s simply not one of their strengths. I know that my challenges, go beyond being awful at math and it creates more problems for me than the average person.

March 3rd is World Dyscalculia Day, but it is present in my life everyday. Dyscalculia is not being bad at math but a disability. It is just as common as dyslexia affecting 1 out of every 4 people. I simply have to find new ways to do things math related and overcome the difficulties it creates.

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