Saturday, October 17, 2009

If Only my Daddy had Known...About DYSCALCULIA!

My dad was a Mechanical Engineer. The man was smart! All things mathematical were easy-shmeasy for him.

Not so for his youngest child, I'm afraid.

I. CAN. NOT. DO. MATH. Period!

I clearly remember bringing home math homework and asking Dad for help. He was not a patient man and he didn't have a lot of free time. Thus, two-plus-two-plus-a-kid-who-does-not-do-math equaled some very unpleasant homework sessions! Daddy would end up frustrated and angry because I wasn't trying hard enough to understand. Bless his heart, I really was trying, but I just couldn't get it. The way I describe it is like this: I'm on one side of an ENORMOUS, TALL, THICK brick wall; the answer to the math problem is on the other side. I know the answer is there, but there is simply no way for me to scale that wall to reach it.

All these years later, I still can't do math or anything number related. I'm talking easy stuff here, folks. Counting change at the store sends me into a panic! I refuse to have a garage sale because I would have to make change for someone buying $2.50 worth of stuff with a $20 bill! I constantly transpose numbers in our checkbook, so hubby handles all the bills.

I'm also not good with directions like north, south, etc., knowing which is right or left, estimating time, knowing measurements, putting things together using instructions, and so on.

Well, low and behold, there may be a reason for all of this!

It's called DYSCALCULIA! It's a true learning disorder akin to Dyslexia. Studies show the areas in the brain that calculate math and similar problems basically misfires or doesn't fire at all in people with Dyscalculia.

The following symptoms describe Dyscalculia. They also describe Michelle Shocklee to a T! My comments are italicized.

1. Frequent difficulties with arithmetic, confusing the signs: +, −, ÷ and ×. (The signs themselves weren't a problem. I have nothing against these innocent symbols. It's those rotten numbers that are evil!)

2. Difficulty with everyday tasks like checking change and reading analog clocks. (Oh yeah!!!)

3. Inability to comprehend financial planning or budgeting, sometimes even at a basic level; for example, estimating the cost of the items in a shopping basket or balancing a checkbook. (My poor, poor husband has been dealing with this for 22+years!)

4. Difficulty with multiplication-tables, and subtraction-tables, addition tables, division tables, mental arithmetic, etc. (NEVER could memorize them!)

5. May do fairly well in subjects such as science and geometry, which require logic rather than formulae, until a higher level requiring calculations is obtained. (I did not do well in either of those!)

6. Difficulty with conceptualizing time and judging the passing of time. May be chronically late. (I'm not a late person, but the passage of time has no measurement for me.)

7. Particularly problems with differentiating between left and right. (My husband often tells me: "No, your other right.")

8. Difficulty navigating or mentally "turning" the map to face the current direction rather than the common North=Top usage. (Yep!)

9. Having particular difficulty mentally estimating the measurement of an object or distance (e.g., whether something is 10 or 20 feet (3 or 6 metres) away). (Yep!)

10. Often unable to grasp and remember mathematical concepts, rules, formulae, and sequences. (Oh yeah! Just ask my Dad--except he's in heaven, so you can't!)

11. An inability to read a sequence of numbers, or transposing them when repeated, such as turning 56 into 65. (Yep!)

12. Difficulty keeping score during games. (I've always wondered why I can't keep score!)

13. Difficulty with games such as poker with more flexible rules for scoring. (Refuse to play games that require adding and/or keeping track of numbers!)

14. Difficulty in activities requiring sequential processing, from the physical (such as dance steps) to the abstract (reading, writing and signaling things in the right order). (Not so much of a problem, though I can't two-step worth a flip!)

15. May have trouble even with a calculator due to difficulties in the process of feeding in variables. (I just have to laugh! I can't do math even with a calculator!)

16. The condition may lead in extreme cases to a phobia or durable anxiety of mathematics and mathematic-numeric devices/coherences. (Remember the store and garage sale panic attacks!?)

17. Low latent inhibition, i.e., over-sensitivity to noise, smell, light and the inability to tune out, filtering unwanted information or impressions. (Yep!)

18. Might have a well-developed sense of imagination due to this (possibly as cognitive compensation to mathematical-numeric deficits). (Um, ya think?! I live and breathe fiction. 'Nough said!)


If only my Daddy had known.


Chrys Chaparro said...

I can SO relate, Meech! My daddy was an accountant and a teacher - double whammy for me since I was the math-challenged kid! I remember getting an F in new math in 7th grade - the one time daddy literally screamed at me (in the car, no less, so it was super loud - ha!)

But thankfully, all those times don't alter our love and admiration for our daddies, huh?

<3 you!

Anonymous said...

If Taylor can do a chore in 7 hours and Austin can do the chore in 10 hours, how many hours will they need if they work together?

Michelle Shocklee said...

Who are you and why are you giving me evil word problems?????

You are gonna laugh...or totally not believe me...but I DON'T KNOW!! I cannot visualize that math problem at all! There's a 7 and a 10 and a 3 keeps popping up, but trying to put all that together to come up with an answer just doesn't work. Do you add the two, then divide??? Do you subtract something??? I simply don't know. I don't believe I EVER got a word problem correct in all my school days.

But you know what? All I know is...

...I want that chore done, no matter how long it takes!! hahahahaha!