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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?





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Psychological impact?
eoffg
#1 Print Post
Posted on March 27 2006 07:14 AM
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Avalon Swan posted the following message on another thread:

"Countess, thank you for the reply. Your post has raised a question, has anyone thought about a thread on adult psychology? In short the children now have a fighting chance but adults have had to live through sometime grueling experiences without a clue. As you've read, I had a professional write me off as a total waist of time, others have suffered far worse and we all seem to have anxieties about one point or another. I would like to see if we could have an adult oriented thread on the psychological, sociological and experience issues of adults. I have been to psychological councilors for stress and find that just having a sympathetic ear is often all that is needed to overcome some very vexing personal issues."

Which after consideration, I thought was a good idea. So I've added this new thread.
Geoff.Smile
 
eoffg
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Posted on March 27 2006 08:02 AM
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HiSmile,
The psychological impact of Dyscalculia that I'm concerned with, is the impact of Other People?
Of years of abuse from teachers, being accused of being either stupid or lazy? Of being classed as a failure, and told that you'll never succeed at anything? Which may also come from parents, friends and employers as well?
Which in turn, contributes to a Self-Image that we can't do a whole range of things, so don't bother trying!
Where in fact, with the appropriate learning and coping strategies, Dyscalculics are capable of doing anything that anyone else can do!

It is of great concern to me, that most Members have reported that they were repeatedly made to feel Stupid.
Where over time, one may come to believe it?
I must be stupid?
I would suggest that this is 'psychological abuse'?

This also relates to this months Member Poll: Which has been MORE of a problem, your Dyscalculia or other people's lack of understanding?

Where so far, other people's lack of understanding has been more of a problem?
Which suggests to me that perhaps Spreading The Word about Dyscalculia, should be our greatest priority?
If Other People are the greater problem?

So that no child or adult suffers the psychological abuse of being called stupid.

Geoff. Smile


















 
Avalon Swan
#3 Print Post
Posted on March 28 2006 06:46 AM
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Pardon me if I seem to have crashed into the party here, but I find this forum and psychology very interesting and you all know how we get when we find something interesting. I brought this topic up as a means for adults to openly share there experiences as a way to catharsizes them and to help others release their problems through the shared experiences of those around them. I have personally found that my developmental issues have colored my life in many ways both negative and positive. An example is how I shy away from club scenes as I have a hard time remembering names and how I excel in artistic endeavors.

So I would ask is this better under support, or as it is placed in other topics? I also want to thank eoffg for taking up the banner.

Avalon's Swan
Their's lies, Damned Lies and then their's Statisics! Some old river pilot
 
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eoffg
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Posted on March 28 2006 09:09 AM
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Hi AvalonSmile,
No it's perfect here. I think that it's such an important issue, that it deserves its own thread.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Geoff.Smile
 
Fefifofirisbobiris
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Posted on March 30 2006 12:07 AM
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What about people who aren't adults who are also interested in psychology, and psychological impacts? AGE-ISM. Wink
D y s le x i c s // U n t i e ! !
 
Avalon Swan
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Posted on March 30 2006 02:12 AM
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eoffg , 'fe" brings up a point in that I would break up the psycology section into General, Adult issues, Math Anxiety. To reply to Fe the thread was created as a discriptor not as a selector. Older adults have adult issues that hopefuly with not apply to younger generations now that a discription of the problem exisits in the medical literature. The creators were not trying to limit ones postings to only adults but to the adult issues that a great many adults have facedPfft.
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CYL
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Posted on March 31 2006 01:32 AM
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Every single school report I have ever had points out at least three or four classic symptoms of dyscalculia while simulatneously saying I didn't try hard enough, or I wasn't paying enough attention, and I was in the advanced class for every single subjects that had one, except for maths, yet it took 10 years and my actually asking for them to even consider me having dyscalculia at school. Which they then promptly did nothing about.

Highlights of my childhood and education include:

Spending four hours with my friends trying to help me do maths homework that should have taken 15 minutes (and we gave up in the end). I really wanted to finish that homework too, because it was the first one after I switched to secondary school, and I really wanted to make a good impression.

Being 16 years old in a french class, with everyone else (12 students) watching me while a teacher shouted at me for not knowing the verb structure I had been word prefect on a week ago. I was nearly in floods of tears, we had been going for nearly 5 minutes, but she wouldn't stop asking me to list the stucture. This is possibly the most humiliating experience.

Countless times I've been promised a reward at the end of term is I got a good report (i.e. a day out at a theme park, a meal at a restaurant) only for it to be denied because my maths report says I haven't been trying at all, or I'm lazy in class, even though I have tried harder than ever.

Even now, I can't remember names and faces, which means I dn't go out, so I have a socio-phobia. (I couldn't remember the name of anyone for about 5 months when I started uni, including the girl who is now one of my best friends ever, but I couldn't ask people names when I'd known them for months, it would have been too humiliating.)

I hate using the telephone for anything, because I'm paranoid about getting the wrong number. (This has lead to losing prospective jobs, and my own mother being so disgusted with me for an 'irrational' fear that she left me behind on a family trip)

I don't play sports, because I can't remember the rules, and I don't dance because I had quite poor co-ordination as a child, so no clubbing for me.

I actually have a mild case of OCD related to counting and rhythm, because I got so panicked about maths I started counting everything to try and improve.

It's had quite a huge psychological impact on my life, now I come to think about it.

Oh, and I also developed a major sense of humour, not only to explain it, but to generally cover it up and survive on a daily basis.
 
eoffg
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Posted on March 31 2006 07:22 AM
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Hi CYLSmile,
The saddest thing is that your childhood experience is similiar to many Members here, and is still happening in schools today.
I would suggest that schools do the greatest psychological damage?

Though you also wrote of your school reports:"saying I didn't try hard enough, or I wasn't paying enough attention,"
Which todays schools would use to claim that you must have attention deficit disorder ADD.
Which makes it a medical problem and nothing to do with the school.
The humiliation you suffered in your french class, could only be defined as 'child abuse'?
GeoffSmile


 
sian
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Posted on March 31 2006 05:50 PM
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I have a very strong memory of being on the bottom colour sceme for maths cards. In fact I remember someone saying in front of the class oh my God Sians the only one on level 1!

I remember a teacher at parents evening being in absolute shock that I was related to my brother (a mathematical genius and now scientific researcher) word for word he said I cant believe you are related, i mean hes so bright and your so ..well bad.

I have many more of memorys like these. Depite my sucess in other areas my inability to cope with maths alongside my disorganisation and forgetfulness has made me believe that I am stupid. Logically know that this cant be true but i just feel it. SadMy self esteem has been damaged and I also cover this with humour usually aimed at making fun of myself. (This only ends up with everyone else thinking Im a bit stupid to)
Teacher with dyscalculia
 
PuNitrate
#10 Print Post
Posted on March 31 2006 06:05 PM
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CYL wrote:

Highlights of my childhood and education include:

Spending four hours with my friends trying to help me do maths homework that should have taken 15 minutes (and we gave up in the end). I really wanted to finish that homework too, because it was the first one after I switched to secondary school, and I really wanted to make a good impression.

Being 16 years old in a french class, with everyone else (12 students) watching me while a teacher shouted at me for not knowing the verb structure I had been word prefect on a week ago. I was nearly in floods of tears, we had been going for nearly 5 minutes, but she wouldn't stop asking me to list the stucture. This is possibly the most humiliating experience.

Oh, and I also developed a major sense of humour, not only to explain it, but to generally cover it up and survive on a daily basis.


Hi CYL--

I agree with Geoff; what that French teacher did was nothing less than child abuse. Unfortunately, it seems like the most abusive people end up as math or French teachers. Sad It still hasn't changed--recently, one of my professors told me that I just needed to go to France for a year "to fix" my speaking problems. Like you, I have some social anxieties about talking to people I don't know or in front of a group because I tend to forget things easily, from people's faces to simple word order.

Thanks,
PuNo4
 
CYL
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Posted on April 02 2006 12:27 AM
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It does seem like child abuse, but it really wasn't. Part of the problem I have is that some days I can be absolutely brilliant with the languages, it all flows absolutely perfectly, and I can just speak without barely even having to think about it. (This never happens in maths though, only in languages for some reason), so I can see how it would look like I'm just being lazy on a 'bad' day.

Also Geoff, my brother (dyslexic) actually does have ADD, though my mother never medicated him for it (big mistake, always take the medication) and yet he hardly ever got told he wasn't paying attention in class (mainly because he was doing something far more spectacular).

Yes, school can do a lot of psychological damage (I'm amazed I survivied all the way through that and on into postgraduate degree territory!) but what always hurt me the most, and what cased most damage was the fact that my own mother didn't believe me when I said I really was trying. You can compartmentalise the disasters at school much more easily than you can compartmentalise the fact that your own parent doesn't believe you.

The hours I spent in many, many, many maths summer school because of that really didn't help either!
 
RedPanda
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Posted on April 17 2006 04:54 PM
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I had a jerk for a math teacher during my 7th grade. The guy one day asked me about my hobbies (a setup). When I told him I enjoy working on computer he then launched into me. I was called lazy and he could not understand how I was able to turn on a computer but no a simple(in his eyes) math problem. This was repeated the whole year. I have no idea why I did not tell my mother. She would have done somethng about it but I never said a word. He did this to osme other students too. I did enjoy hearing from another teacher the following year that he was fired. She did not mean to let it slip out. Thank you my wonderful Spanish teacher, where ever you are!Grin


I would like to talk to people, get to know my classmates better but I can only remeber the name of a couple of them. I tried to learn Salsa dancing and failed. Same as a child when I tried to learn to play the piano, drums, tap and ballet dances. I hate to write in front of people. I mispell simple words. People have always made jokes about my handwriting. Now I keep my handwriting a bit messy so people will not see I mispelled something.
Edited by RedPanda on April 17 2006 05:00 PM
 
mermaid23
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Posted on April 17 2006 09:13 PM
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RedPanda wrote:
I had a jerk for a math teacher during my 7th grade. The guy one day asked me about my hobbies (a setup). When I told him I enjoy working on computer he then launched into me. I was called lazy and he could not understand how I was able to turn on a computer but no a simple(in his eyes) math problem. This was repeated the whole year. I have no idea why I did not tell my mother. She would have done somethng about it but I never said a word. He did this to osme other students too. I did enjoy hearing from another teacher the following year that he was fired. She did not mean to let it slip out. Thank you my wonderful Spanish teacher, where ever you are!Grin


I would like to talk to people, get to know my classmates better but I can only remeber the name of a couple of them. I tried to learn Salsa dancing and failed. Same as a child when I tried to learn to play the piano, drums, tap and ballet dances. I hate to write in front of people. I mispell simple words. People have always made jokes about my handwriting. Now I keep my handwriting a bit messy so people will not see I mispelled something.


I hope you haven't given up on learning all of those things! You probably have never been taught in a way that works for the way your brain is wired.
 
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JenP
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Posted on April 19 2006 03:00 AM
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I read with great interest, these postings on the psychological impact of living with Dyscalculia. Even though I am 40 years old, I remember quite well being tutored in math in high school to the point of tears (and that was my TEACHER crying! <grin>Wink only to literally be passed with a D- so that both the teacher and I could "be done with it" (I went to a small school, only one year of math was required). I have had trouble with even the most basic concepts to this day. As Geoff knows, I have struggled with phone numbers (Thanks for the tips, by the way!) basic addition and subtraction (when not using calculators or other computerized assistance) because the numbers just seem to "float around in random order". I, likewise, understand the frustration of learning sports, dance and other activities where we seem to struggle with remembering a series of steps, counts, etc...but HERE is where I want to offer some encouragement...or at least a "mechanism" that has worked for me. I have practiced martial arts for nearly two decades (LONG before I was ever diagnosed with Dyscalculia and ADHD) and hold brown and black belts in three styles (taekwondo, shotokan and kung fu). I have found that when it is necessary to "count" movements for forms, tricks, defense against attacks, etc...where other martial artists use numbers...I mentally "convert" to "verbal/words". I find myself thinking "inward block, t-stance, form out, left hand, etc, etc." while others are thinking "1, 2, 3, 4". I realized that I was "thinking differently" when other students and I traded training journals to compare notes at test times...(my notes are written how I visualize my forms and tricks <verbally> whereas other students' notes are written in a numerical <traditional> format). I won't say that it hasn't been challenging along the way....but my love of martial arts supersedes my learning disabilities. Soooooo....please don't give up on something you enjoy (i.e. "salsa dancing"Wink out of frustration...maybe see if your instructor or another student can help you find a way to visualize the steps without those darned "floating numbers". Once again this forum has provided me with a venue that shows I am NOT alone in my lifelong struggles with math and numerical concepts! There are some very wise and compassionate people in this forum...I have learned SO MUCH in the very short time I have been a member...THANK YOU ALL!
 
OneOutofOrderScrooball
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Posted on June 14 2006 07:28 PM
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Oh-h-h the psychological impactShock! I still suffer from the emotional impact of teachers calling me stupid, lazy, doesn't try :etcAngry and this all occured in the 1960's to mid-1970's! Words do have the power to hurt and hurt deeply especially when my classmates echoed the teacher's cruel words. I think the worst humiliation was to be sent to the blackboard with all eyes staring to work out some impossible math problem. As always, I would zone out and end up writing any old answer at which point I had to tell how I arrived at the answer. Gr-r-r!! Angry Needless to say it confirmed the teacher's belief I was STUPID and by default solidified my classmates views and taunts that I was STUPID until the words echoed daily and only until recently do I now know I am NOT Stupid! Never was, Stupid.
Of course this is all hind-sight but those words uttered so carelessly helped to shape the course of my life. I did sort of give up and even though I graduated- barely- from high school.I never went to college.or learned to drive. Now I look back over the course of my crazy screwball life and I realize my ADD and Dyscalculia or rather other people's rigid molds-meaning math requirements- have kept me from going to college Sadto become either a Special Education teacher or an Occupational Therapist. Ah-h-h just another blow to my self-esteem even though I know I am as smart as anyone elseFrownPfft
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aquilianranger
#16 Print Post
Posted on June 22 2006 08:51 PM
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Hello, this is my first post on here. I just learned about the existence of Dyscalculia yesterday, and I can't believe how much this simple knowledge has already affected me, especially knowing that other people out there have had similar problems!

Growing up I was exceptional in school in reading, science, art, and just about everything else, but when math came along, a monkey wrench was thrown into the whole works.

Teacher's seemed baffled by my inability to do simple math skills. Doing long worksheets made it more difficult rather than easier, and I can remember many a stressful night while my parents argued over my problems in school. (they thought it was everything from girls, to bullies) In fact, since I had shown so much promise in all of the other subjects, it made things worse. Expectations were high, and so the only answer in the minds of teachers and my parents was that I was lazy or not trying hard enough.

And it got worse. I couldn't read clocks, I couldn't remember systems or processes, and I was terrible at sports. Other subjects became effected by this problem. My teachers shuffled me back and forth from the "advanced classes" where I couldn't keep up, to the "remedial" classes where I excelled. Later on, I couldn't even keep up in the remedial math classes, because I had just fallen so far behind.

And time and time again, I felt incredibly stupid for not being able to do the math, and the "Seemingly" unrelated tasks of the mechanics of sentence diagramming, spelling rules, planning, scheduling or even just playing sports. Teachers were unable to help, and I couldn't help them understand what was wrong. I tried to explain to everyone how hard I was trying, but they KNEW I was smarter than this, so I was lazy. I had to be one or the other, stupid or lazy. So I became both, at least on a subconscious level, my grades fell across the board, (except in one important area which is art) Thus the self-fufiling prophecy became evident.

"You should be able to do this! This is easy" Was a phrase I heard over and over. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't pin it down. Even today I have trouble with phone numbers, financial planning, simple math, or even reading analogue clocks.

And the result? I hid these things. I became very good at lying to people, I tried to overcompensate and appear extremely intelligent to everyone, despite the fact I never felt myself smart at all. I hid my finger counting, got rid of all any analogue clocks or watches that people gave me, (god forbid someone ask me the time and I'd have to stare down at my watch for five minutes!) But it was hard. I felt like a disappointment all my life, to myself and to everyone else.

My self-esteem has always been very low, my academic career was horrible, I never honestly tried very hard in any school curriculum because I felt it was pointless. Depression set in after High School, an college was a long and overly protracted meandering that never went anywhere.

Yet I still feel the need to fool everyone into believing that I can do these things that they expect me to do. I currently work as a theater technician that requires a good deal of math and organizational skills that I don't have. I have found lots of ways to compensate, but I find myself faking and lying about a great deal of it, just to get by. Now I am wondering if I didn't choose to go into something like this instead of the arts or writing, (which I actually love and am very good at) because I still feel this need to prove something.

Needless to say, I am still dealing with this, but I am realizing that Dyscalculia has affected me quite deeply, and a great deal of self-evaluation is needed in my life.

Edited by aquilianranger on June 22 2006 08:58 PM
 
elle
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Posted on June 22 2006 10:53 PM
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how about recurring dreams anyone? i used to have this recurring dream both during and long after college (i'm 7 years out of college. i had to use a calculator to figure that out just now! Wink). in the dream, i was in my last semester and was enrolled in a required math class. i stopped attending class and didn't do any homework because i couldn't keep up. i ignored the class so much that i even forgot i was enrolled in it! there's always some other class in the dream (english or political science or history) that i'm doing really well in. then at the end of the semester my math teacher informs me i have to pass the final exam or i will not graduate. i panic because i KNOW i can't pass the test. full of anxiety, i report to the exam room and sit down to take the test. i always wake up before i see what's on the test! the dream is never resolved and i always wake up extremely stressed out. muscles tense, heart racing. in fact, it's been so realistic that several times i woke up thinking "sh*t! i'm not gonna graduate!!!" only to remember i graduated years ago.

in real life, i took my required college math course my freshman year in college and passed. i enrolled in a night course (smaller class, less competitive) as a pass/fail student (no grades so as not to lower my grade point average). i did this after one day in a daytime math class in which they might as well have spoken to me in ancient gaelic.

i haven't had the dream in a few years, but i resolved earlier this year to take that darn math test if i dream of it again. after reading some stuff on the meanings of dreams, esp recurring ones, it occurred to me that the content of the exam may not be math after all. maybe it's just a part of me i haven't confronted. so now i'm actually curious to see what's on the test, but i haven't had the dream since! Pfft
Edited by elle on June 22 2006 10:54 PM
 
mermaid23
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Posted on June 23 2006 01:21 AM
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elle wrote:
how about recurring dreams anyone? i used to have this recurring dream both during and long after college (i'm 7 years out of college. i had to use a calculator to figure that out just now! Wink). in the dream, i was in my last semester and was enrolled in a required math class. i stopped attending class and didn't do any homework because i couldn't keep up. i ignored the class so much that i even forgot i was enrolled in it! there's always some other class in the dream (english or political science or history) that i'm doing really well in. then at the end of the semester my math teacher informs me i have to pass the final exam or i will not graduate. i panic because i KNOW i can't pass the test. full of anxiety, i report to the exam room and sit down to take the test. i always wake up before i see what's on the test! the dream is never resolved and i always wake up extremely stressed out. muscles tense, heart racing. in fact, it's been so realistic that several times i woke up thinking "sh*t! i'm not gonna graduate!!!" only to remember i graduated years ago.

in real life, i took my required college math course my freshman year in college and passed. i enrolled in a night course (smaller class, less competitive) as a pass/fail student (no grades so as not to lower my grade point average). i did this after one day in a daytime math class in which they might as well have spoken to me in ancient gaelic.

i haven't had the dream in a few years, but i resolved earlier this year to take that darn math test if i dream of it again. after reading some stuff on the meanings of dreams, esp recurring ones, it occurred to me that the content of the exam may not be math after all. maybe it's just a part of me i haven't confronted. so now i'm actually curious to see what's on the test, but i haven't had the dream since! Pfft


I have math anxiety dreams all of the time! It seems to get worse when my life is in turmoil.
 
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Kehawin
#19 Print Post
Posted on June 23 2006 03:10 AM
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Oh my, have you been reading my dream journal???

I have the SAME EXACT dream... except it isn't college, it's middle school or high school.

Well, ok, it's also a little different that it isn't always a test. More often, its that I can't graduate (or in some dreams, it is NOW and I have to go BACK as an adult) because the teacher waited till the end of the semester to "remind" me that I had never showed up for class. The one thing always the same: its ALWAYS math.

The worst ones are the ones where I have to go back and re-take a high school math class as a mid thirties mom with a college degree... and find I STILL can't understand what the heck it all means, while teenagers snicker and taunt or roll their eyes at the collosal waste of space and time I am taking up.

============

I work with doctors, chiropractors and Physicians assistants. since I began the job, they ALL have encouraged me to go to grad school, to finish what I started. Last week I was leaving a message on an answering machine, and one of the providers overheard. Afterwards, he said, "just some advice: next time you say our number, say 'forty eight hundred' instead of 'four eight zero zero'. People remember one number better than they remember 4". Rather than say, well, for me, I constantly have to LOOK at our number when I tell it to people, because I can't remember the whole thing no matter WHICH way I think about it, so I look at it and read it slowly one number at a time.... I said, "ok, thank you. I will keep that in mind. I have dyscalculia" he looked at me as if I had just spoken in tongues, so I clarified. "It is a learning disability that makes numerical concepts difficult for me".

BIG MISTAKE in this case.

His jaw dropped, and he asked, "you have math trouble and you seriously think you could make it through medical training?" I said, "with coping mechanisms, yes" and he said, "you are wrong. There is far too much calculations in medicine, and you would be endangering patients lives if you attempted it"

Since then, I can do NOTHING right for this provider, even in association with massage. And apparently he no longer trusts my ability to understand simple concepts, let alone complex soft tissue problems that until recently he trusted me with.

Coping mechanism? Ever heard of the psychological book, "I'm ok, you're ok"? The premise was that one basis for neuroses was a voice in our heads, usually left over from childhood, screaming at us, "what's wrong with you? Are you stupid or something? You must be a total idiot, or just lazy, everyone else can do this, why cant you?" etc. Well, according to this book, we are supposed to work on stilling those voices, by saying, yes, that person is ok, and guess what, so am I. Well, I find myself now screaming back at those voices, "No, *I* am not the idiot, HE IS. I AM OK, HES AN IDIOT!!!"

hows that for coping mechanisms?

Yeah, I know, no healthier. But it sure helps during the heat of the moment!

~K~
 
eoffg
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Posted on June 23 2006 06:31 AM
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Hi Kehawin and welcome to the ForumSmile,
Just to pick up on one issue you wrote of:
"Last week I was leaving a message on an answering machine, and one of the providers overheard. Afterwards, he said, "just some advice: next time you say our number, say 'forty eight hundred' instead of 'four eight zero zero'. People remember one number better than they remember 4"."

This is a wrong statement? 'Forty eight hundred' is '3' numbers, not one. Forty, then eight and then hundred.
Also sound reproduction quality on answering machines, isn't all that good? So forty and fourteen sound very similiar.
It is only the following eight, that will clarify that it must be forty.
So after hearing the eight, then one can think back and define forty as the word. But while this going on, the 'hundred' has been added.
So their is a whole 'thinking process' involved with this?

Though for numbers given on an answering machine, usually the person hearing it, has to write down the number. Where forty eight hundred needs to be converted from words to number symbols.
But if it is a phone number, whilst this conversion is happening, the next numbers will be announced. Which adds to confusion?

Yet on the other hand, when the number is given as 'four, eight, zero, zero, ... .' No mental processing is involved. The listener simply writes down 4 8 0 0. Much easier and probably more accurate.
Maybe you could test this with some friends? Where you give them numbers in both different ways, and see which they find easier to write down?
Geoff.Smile
 
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