Math and I are old rivals. The first time I recall not being able to do everything the rest of my class could do was in 3rd grade. We had to do simple math equations in our heads. I could do the single-digit ones with little difficulty, but when multiple digits were involved, it was just impossible. I couldn't keep the visual of the numbers straight in my head. I could barely keep them straight on paper. It was impossible. I remember feeling so stupid, I just couldn't do this.
My teacher was perplexed. I excelled in every other subject. She told me I was lazy and told me I needed to try harder.
I began skipping school. Yes, at the tender age of, what was I in third grade, 8? I began mastering the art of faking sick. My grades deteriorated rapidly. However, I still passed on to the 4th grade.
This is where things escalated.
This is where we began learning multiplication. I tried as hard as I could to remember the numbers. The numbers the numbers the numbers the numbers. They drove me crazy. I couldn't remember a number I was thinking of 2 seconds ago. I couldn't keep multiple-digit numbers straight. 23 became 32. 3,495 became 4,359. I didn't understand why I couldn't just remember my multiplication tables.
I remember writing them all down and reciting them for hours upon hours in my bed room. It's like it just wouldn't click in my head. My brain wasn't comprehending how 7 could become 49. How 6 could become 24. The only ones I was able to master were the 1, 2, 5, 9 (because of the fingers trick),10, and 11 tables (the easy ones for everyone else). This didn't even happen until well into 6th grade.
Through out middle school I struggled with my math. I resorted to having my mom do my homework and having my friends help me cheat on tests and quizzes. This didn't even help me. My math teachers always thought I was lazy. I didn't want to do class work, I would rarely do homework, I wouldn't participate in group work, I skipped class. It was never because I didn't want to learn, or because I was lazy. It was because I couldn't learn. At least not the way they were teaching me.
I would pass all my classes, except math. But it wasn't enough to bring down my GPA enough that I was required to repeat the grade. I just had to repeat the class. I took pre-algebra in 7th grade. I took it again in 8th. I miraculously passed, by the skin of my teeth, and was placed in Algebra in 9th grade. I failed that class.
In 10th grade I was sent to a psychologist because I was skipping school so much. It was determined that I wasn't just a problem child, I wasn't lazy, I wasn't bad. They discovered my learning disability.
They made me take an IQ test. I excelled in every part of it except, you guessed it, math. I was barely in 10th grade and they measured my English abilities to be at college level, and my math abilities at the 5th grade level. They had me take more and more tests, fill out questionaires, do puzzles, and lots of strange activities to test my coordination.
When I found out I had a learning disability, so many emotions went through me. I felt stupid, but I had felt stupid all along. I felt scared. I felt sad. I felt happy, because it was confirmation that this wasn't my fault... but I also felt angry.
I suffered all those years. All those years my teachers and my parents yelled at me for not doing my work, for not wanting to go to school. They'd call me lazy and unmotivated and told me I wasn't a good enough student. That I wasn't trying hard enough. When I knew I was trying as hard as I possibly could. Why didn't any one take the time to stop and realize...hey, she's a bright girl, why is it she's so bad in math? Why didn't anyone see that maybe it was something deeper?
But I realize, Dyscalculia isn't a well-know learning disability. I had never heard of it before, so I guess not many others have either.
This is why I'm writing this. I want people to know about this learning disability.
: -Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing. Poetic ability.-Good visual memory for the printed word.
-Good in the areas of science (until a level requiring higher math skills is reached), geometry (figures with logic not formulas), and creative arts.-Difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction. Inability to recall schedules, and sequences of past or future events. Unable to keep track of time. Maybe chronically late.
-Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. Substitute names beginning with same letter.-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.-When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these common mistakes are made: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals.
-Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.
-Poor long term memory (retention & retrieval) of concept mastery
-May be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next!
-May be able to do book work but fails all tests and quizzes. -May be unable to comprehend or "picture" mechanical processes.-Lack "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. -Difficulty keeping score during games, or difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, etc. Often looses track of whose turn it is during games, like cards and board games. Limited strategic planning ability for games, like chess.
<< I'm banned from playing Chinese Poker with my friends for this reason. XD
So, there you have it. If you're a parent or a teacher and your child seems like she's lazy when it comes to math, take a second look.