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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?

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Guidance Counselors...
#1 Print Post
Posted on December 03 2005 03:15 AM

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Last year, I went to my guidance counselor with a printed out symptom sheet of dyscalculia symptoms and explained to him about how I thought I had it. He looked at me like I had three heads and then told me he liked "learning about new things" and had me give him a reference website, but I never heard back from him. After that he had always awkwardly made eye contact with me. He basically discreetly accused me of using this as an "excuse".

That year, I recieved four Fs (for the four quarters of school) in my Algebra 1B class, two Fs for the two quarters I had to take an excrutiating "MCAS Math" (MCAS is an end-of-year sort of exam for Massachusetts), and this year they gave me the same Algebra 1B teacher who is obsessed with me for an every three days course that I dread! He really isn't helping at all in terms of "enriching" my knowledge so I can do well on the upcoming important MCAS, and he failed me last quarter (I am in the second quarter now of my sophmore year.) I just have a total grudge against the guy for cornering me and accusing me of using my alleged disability as an "excuse" like the guidance counselor told me. I pull out books in the middle of class and challenge him, asking him if what we are doing has any relativity to the MCAS. It is not helping at all, and I can't switch out or I'll have to face the guidance counselor again...

Last year they somehow found me sitting in the library with my friends. My teacher dismissed us early for finishing our mid-term exam early, and he just found me sitting there and pulled me into his office. (THIS WAS BEFORE I TOLD HIM ABOUT DYSCALCULIA!) My crappy Algebra 1B teacher was sitting there. My Algebra 1B teacher was "concerned" about me because I failed the last quarter. lAngry He made me stay after school with him, and I was there until 4:00, and school was let out at 2:30.

Anyway...this year I was recieving a good solid C in Geometry from a teacher's aid who was really nice and helpful and always helped me and he was REALLY cool. The teacher was pregnant and she was replaced by a new teacher, a college student. He speaks broken English and it is hard for me to understand him. He frequently admits to "hating" students and has biases against us, giving us dirty looks all the time. One time he called on me in class (he moved me to the front for no reason, I had been passing in all my work correctly because I copied it from other students) while I was really confused and glared at me because I didn't know the alternate angle number or whatever the hell it was. I got so nervous that I failed to notice we had done the same thing yesterday and the answer was right on the page.

Thank GOD for the teacher's aid, right? Wrong! They replaced him with a creepy new teacher who doesn't help at all. All he does is come up from behind you and touch your shoulder and ask in a really weird voice, "Did you do the homeworrrrk?" and he grins if you forgot your book or something...

So now my math class is dominated by two rookie "teachers". One of them fails to help and the other one speaks in broken English and writes in broken English, and a lot of the class is note-taking, pop quizzes, and random homework assignments. I do fine on the note-taking, but if I attempt to study for a quiz that he actually ANNOUNCES I get confused because I copied down what he spelled and worded wrong. We deal with "contrapositive" and this logic stuff which I forget what is called, like...I'll get back to ya on that.

If my guidance counselor hadn't looked at me like I had three heads and if he hadn't avoided me for the rest of the year, if he had attempted to help me...I wouldn't be in this big mess right now. I haven't told my parents about the disabilty dad has about five psychological disorders and he's pretty...umm...loony... and I just don't know why I haven't told my mom. We aren't very rich at all and I hear testing costs a lot, but I'd just like someone to HELP me!! I can already tell none of my teachers know what it is...

I just needed to get that out. I tell my friends about dyscalculia constantly but they're not very interested in hearing me babble on. I tend to get pretty heated. Beh.
Edited by MathProblem on December 03 2005 03:19 AM
I still have to count on my fingers to do my five tables after five times five.
#2 Print Post
Posted on December 03 2005 09:04 AM
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Hi MathPro and welcome to the ForumSmile
You're not alone, as one or two students in every classroom across the world, are having much the same problem unfortunately!
When your guidance councillor accused you of using it as an excuse, what he was really doing, was using this as his own excuse?
The problem is that they dont like to say that they dont understand and can't help you? So they blame you instead!
Afterall, they are meant to be Experts?
Though the real problem, is that Dyscalculia has only been recognised in recent years. So most Teachers haven't heard about it yet.
Or even if they have, they probably dont understand it?
That's one of the main purposes of this Forum to help spread the word!

The only real solution, is for you to teach your teachers and councillor about Dyscalculia? Help them to understand?
Though to do this, you need to become a bit of an expert on Dyscalculia yourself? So that you can explain it and help spread the word. Afterall, throughout your life, you'll need to explain it to teachers, employers and friends. So it would be a good life skill to develop.
Not to mention, that in helping teachers and the councillor to understand Dyscalculia. You'll be helping all of the other Students with Dyscalculia now and in the future, that have your teacher and councillor.
So perhaps instead of being angry with them, you could tell them that you'll try and help them understand?
So what do you think?

#3 Print Post
Posted on December 03 2005 07:40 PM
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Hi Mathproblem !
Geoff ist right. Dont`t give up. Tell them what you know and give them advice oder links on Dyscalculia. Ironic-on* "Of course they dont UNDERSTAND what Dyscalculia means." *Ironic-off*. They really think it`s because you`re lazy. They dont see that it is a daily struggle and really hard, hard work. Nobody want`s to be stupid !
Not knowing is the worst. Give them as many info as you can.
And as I said before: DONT GIVE UP ON YOU !!!! You are so young and seem to be quit grown up. Smile

All the best for now,

P.S. You probably get a link of Ert (our Admin) for the testing-stuff.
'You should really be sympathetic to people who suffer 'Normalism' (Geoff)
My Child (born 97) has Dyscalculia
Sorry for any spelling mistakes ;-)
#4 Print Post
Posted on December 04 2005 05:15 AM

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Joined: 2005-11-25

Hi Mathproblem,

There are several "laws of resistance" that I've noted. The First Law of Resistance is that the "experts" usually blame you for your problem. As Geoff and Countess have written, dyscalculia is relatively unknown, so many counselors and LD specialists aren't informed about the symptoms or methods of compensation. According to their limited knowledge, it's simply a case that (1) you're not concentrating; and/or (2) you're just suffering from math anxiety.

The Second Law of Resistance: when the problem extends beyond the two choices above, people tune you out or just ignore the problem. My physics advisor is like this: even though he referred me to the Psychological Services, which in turn led me to be tested, he avoids acknowledging that I have a problem other than test/math anxiety. When he is faced with it, he questions whether it is possible for someone to succeed in physics and be dyscalculic. Sad I've had fellow students and close friends ask why would I even think about physics if I have LD.

In short, you'll encounter people with all kinds of ideas about dyscalculia--some accurate, some ridiculous. YOU KNOW you have it; you know your own mind. Don't let them decide what is best for you. My advice is to read anything and everything you can about dyscalculia. The only way to combat ignorance is through education. Also, don't be afraid to be a pain-in-the-behind; God isn't spelled Ph.D, so don't let your TAs or your professors/teachers force you to learn their way. Be assertive. Finally, experiment a little, find out what works for you. For example, have the math questions read aloud and see if that helps or doesn't. Maybe translate the question and answer from words into math. (These methods helped me; I know another dyscalculic who spends hours developing intricate explanations for proofs to help him learn the material.)

Good luck and hang in there!

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