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Driving skills and age - or dyscalculia?
#1 Print Post
Posted on April 18 2006 04:36 AM

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Hi all,

Just wanted to ask everyone why is it you think your over your anxiety about maths then something you do all the time effortlessly - suddenly you find difficulty in doing? Example: Driving a car, something I did all the time when I was young - even though I could never read a map and got lost numerous times. But it never seemed to worry me, Now I am nervous about driving a manual car, an automatic is easier, but now I am getting nervous about remembering streets signs, what do do approaching a roundabout and generally just feeling nervous. I almost panicked when my husband was pulled over and asked to speak into a machine counting from 10 up to 20 and to stop when asked. I got so confused I couldn't remember the number after 10 - (and I wasn't doing the test!!). O.K. This could be just a normal age thing - 44 years young? or is it my anxiety about road rules etc finally coming out? - Now do I have to deal with this new stress? or do I simply give up driving? - what does everyone else feel? Should I keep perservering? - I know my fear is irrational, but God help me to pass a breathaliser test if I have to count to 10 or worse backwards when I'm already stressed and nervous.!Shock
Albert Einstein said: "Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count!."
#2 Print Post
Posted on April 19 2006 09:28 AM
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Hi KathySmile,
I can sort of relate to your situation, as I haven't had a car for nearly 10 years now, and rarely driven one in between.
But having lived in a very small remote town for the past 5 years, the very thought of driving in the City, makes me wonder whether I would be safe?
Where living on Bribie Island might be similiar? Not much traffic?

Though the thing with Driving, is that it becomes something called Non-Declarative Memory.
Activities that you do without thinking, automatic, like walking or swimming?
Kathy, I wonder if you haven't been driving much recently?
So that as a result, driving isn't an automatic activity?
Instead, that you are 'thinking' about each activity in the process of driving?
Which I can imagine that I would also do?
Though no doubt, before very long, it would become automatic again?
With my old bad habits returning as well?
So what I would suggest, is that you are 'thinking' about what you are doing as you are driving? Rather than just letting it happen automatically?
But as to question about 'roundabouts'?
It's a mystery to most drivers?
Where no one follows the current laws?
It's just a case of push your way in, and then try and push other drivers out of the way, so that you can exit?
Yet the alcohol breathaliser test that you mentioned, having to count from 10 up to 20.
Is just pure discrimination against Dyscalculics?
Which needs to protested about, as it is no indication of whether someone has drunk too much?
It might seem trivial, but a person could be forced by the Police to take a 'blood test', purely because of their difficulty with counting up from 10 to 20? Along with the humiliation!
This is a practise that must be abolished! Though to have it abolished, Dyscalculics need to explain the fault with using this as an assessment.
I am friends with our local Police chief, where I will ask him whether this is also used over here in Western Australia?
Yet I will also ask him in terms of Letters and Dyslexics?
The real issue, is expressed in your words:"Now do I have to deal with this new stress?"
Kathy, what this highlights, is the need to develop a public awareness and understanding of Dyscalculia!
Where this is but one example of needless stress that other people cause Dyscalculics to experience!
Which raises a question about the title of this category: "Psychological Impact of Dyscalculia?"
Where "NEEDLESS STRESS" is really the issue that is confronted daily?
Keep on Driving!

Edited by eoffg on April 20 2006 05:39 AM
#3 Print Post
Posted on November 15 2006 01:22 PM

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Driving drives (heh, pun) me insane. I'm horrible at it. I've been driving for a little over three years, an I still get insanely nervous. I drive 2.5 miles to and from school each day, but if I take one wrong turn, that's it, I'm lost. I can get completely and totally lost, and in reality be just two streets over from my house. I can never remember which direction I get on the beltway heading towards, and I get nervous when I'm the first person stopped at a red light and needing to make a turn, especially a left. I freak out, thinking I'm going to turn into the wrong lane. I get honked at on a regular basis. And I find myself going at least 5 MPH under the speed limit.
If wisdom's ways you wisely seek, five things observe with care: to whom you speak, of whom you speak, of how, and why, and where.
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Posted on November 15 2006 05:22 PM
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I never had a car and never drove one for reasons other than anxiety. Among other; being too broke to even afford passing the driving test, to afford a car or afford the gas price (I'm 33 years old) Grin But as a pedestrian, I realize that I have problems judging speed and distance. I'm always extra carefull when crossing the street. I make it a point of always crossing at intersections and when the light is green. That's a good thing really and it isn't what I'd consider a problem ... except when I'm with friends - There's always someone who decides to cross the street at the last minute, such as seconds before the light turns yellow. Everyone follows and because I'm second guessing myself, I'm the one who's stuck on the other side of the street, looking like a complete idiot while my friends are teasing me or showing signs of impatience because "Look who we have to wait for (again) because she's stuck on the other side of the street!!"

It's annoying I agree, but I'm not going to risk my life over something this ridiculous. My friends are the ones who should be more carefull.
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Posted on November 15 2006 07:33 PM

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I hate driving makes me so nervous. I always get lost, and put on the wrong turn signals.
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Posted on November 16 2006 07:25 AM
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One day they might be relieved that your standing on the side of road and have just called an ambulance. As they lay in the middle of road?
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Posted on November 16 2006 05:48 PM
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eoffg wrote:
One day they might be relieved that your standing on the side of road and have just called an ambulance. As they lay in the middle of road?

Yeah... assuming I don't mix-up numbers when dialing 9-1-1 Wink Grin
#8 Print Post
Posted on March 21 2007 03:14 PM
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ive been avoiding driving for a long time now. im 22 and still havent really learned, cause im scared. cause the few times ive tried, its been bad, and there are times where i have trouble walking in a strait line, the last thing i want to do is bei ncharge of a big heavy armored weapon on wheels. Every one seems to think im just being too worried about it and that I would get better over time, but honestly, I really am afraid that its going to be you know .... one of those things?
#9 Print Post
Posted on March 21 2007 06:02 PM

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Hey missasher, i too am 22 years old and i have no desire to drive. Most of my friends are drivers but its not me. Like you i can't walk in a straight line full stop. Swimming is a no go area too so why would i want to drive a car. My parents and brother think its weird as i use to want to drive but ever since i was 16 years old i just thought "no its ok its not me". I hope in time this will change but for now, i am happy to walk or get a bus or train to where ever i need to go.
#10 Print Post
Posted on June 09 2007 08:09 PM

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Ugh I hate driving. I used to have bad anxiety attacks and black out whenever I'd get behind the wheel of a car. I waited till I was 18 to get a liscence, and got a car then too. But the poor car! I've taken it over medians and bikers and all sorts of other things because I'm so bad with directions!!
My dad luckily, even though he laughs, is always willing to come get me. Otherwise I'd still be on Highway 440 because I seem to end up there every time i take a wrong turn, which is to say every time I get in my car.Shock
#11 Print Post
Posted on November 01 2007 05:00 AM

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i too had trouble driving and understanding the computerized test. my perception and anxiety were off. i took it really slow and am now an expert driver in a big city. slow practice,practice.
#12 Print Post
Posted on November 29 2007 04:54 PM
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I've been told that many people with Learning Disabilities have trouble with driving and learning to drive. This is the same way with me.

Once I backed out and started to drive on the wrong side of the road because the turn had disoriented me and I couldn't tell which side was right and which was left.

Then there is my fear of driving, and how I have trouble telling how far apart my car is from other objects and how fast or slow I am going. Sometimes I look at the speedometer and read the wrong number.

I feel so dumb the moment I get into a car. Plus, I keep messing it up when I turn the key the wrong direction to start the car and can't remember how to work the turning signals or windshield wipers.

It isn't for lack of trying or training because I went through an entire Driver's Ed class and then after that, went through a 6 month course at a driving school and spent a lot of time trying to practice with relatives.

I still can't drive and depend on my husband for all transportation. I fear the day that we'll have children because then I'll have to do it somehow. I'm too responsible not to. I wouldn't forgive myself if something happened to one of my kids and I couldn't take them to get help simply because I couldn't drive!

Then every time we get pulled over, I'm afraid that they'll give me a test or something because I can't walk a straight line when I'm sober, nor can I do the nose-touch thing and I'd be terrified to try to count from 10 to 20. I was trying to do it right now and couldn't.

Maybe when I start driving, I'll carry a copy of my diagnosis around with me next to the insurance in the glove compartment so if it happens, I can explain that I have a learning disability and can't do any of those things when sober...
reverend blamo
#13 Print Post
Posted on November 30 2007 07:49 PM

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Wow...this is all news to me. Almost all the other problems mentioned here I have had to deal with myself except this one, quite the opposite. I race cars! I build them. I photograph them. I love them! I love driving! I own two cars, one truck (to tow the race car) and a motorcycle. I seldom have directional problems but often misread signs (esp. at high speed)
I did however barely pass my driver test due to the oral questions, I could not "get" what the tester was saying, he had to repeat the questions several times.

My best advice to Hopsonk is to start driving the manual transmission car early in the morning or in places where very few people would be driving around. familararity is the best cure. As far as the road side soberity test goes, simply tell the police that you are dyslexic ( don't bother with dyscalcilic, they won't know what your talking about)
Here in the states a sports star was just busted for drunk driving. He could not recite the alphabet. I tried here at home and could not do it right either...completely sober! I understand this fear however, a good friend of mine with L.D.s was arrested (then released) for DUI when he failed the road side test...he has never had a drink in his life.
#14 Print Post
Posted on December 11 2007 11:03 AM

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Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. I've never been able to differentiate NSEW & I haven't bothered with street names in over a decade.

Let the artistic side of your brainn take over & just stick to remembering "turn left at 7 11" & remember what areas look like rahter than what they're called. I've never gotten lost before, but that's all been on-foot.

I DO share you car anxiety on the level that I do not believe I'm mentally capable of even learning HOW to drive...road rage aside. I get panicy if a semi is near me, if a car pulls up next to me, I tend to forget left from right when I'm giving instructions to a place I don't really know. You can always swear off driving, it's safer & cheaper. Get a Mo-ped. I make my roommates drive me everywhere or use a bus....but I still never get lost.....except in states where they name streets after numbers. By the time I'm half way down the block, I've already forgotten the name of the last block.
#15 Print Post
Posted on December 28 2007 01:46 AM
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I know my inability to drive stems not only from the Dyscalculia: Inability to judge distance and speed but because of AD{H}D, I tend to zone out and the Sensory Intergration causes problems where orientation within certain parameters is concerned although I'm not certain how much of it is visual problems.
Believe me if there is a wall or a door jamb some part of my anatomy will find it! I'd hate to think what would happen to the outer parameters of a car! Shock The worst part of not being able to drive is how it has severly limited any hopes of independence and any social life as there is no public transportation in our community and friends and family are unavailable to play chauffeur.Sad


Edited by OneOutofOrderScrooball on December 28 2007 11:06 PM
"I know I am a Scrooball with faults but being wrong is not one of them."
#16 Print Post
Posted on December 28 2007 03:41 PM
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hopsonkwrote~ Just wanted to ask everyone why is it you think your over your anxiety about maths then something you do all the time effortlessly - suddenly you find difficulty in doing?

O~o~o~ops I mis~interpreted your question altogether...., hopsonk! Shock Sorry 'bout that....! Frown

I've never gotten over my Math Anxiety and am haunted by it every time I see or hear the words "DO THE MATH"! Shock Somehow the door to my mind slams shut and is firmly chain locked, bolted and dead bolted against any number figuring thanks to the too many scoldings and humiliation I suffered at the hands of teachers who were convinced "I wasn't trying etc. My mother is the only one who has managed to pry that door open.....She can show me how to do....say decimals and I can do it with her guidance. Alone it all becomes Greek! She is convinced everyday rote practice will make it possible for me to remember how to do decimals. Dyscalculia is not called a learning disability for nothing!! Sad Pfft


Edited by OneOutofOrderScrooball on December 28 2007 03:48 PM
"I know I am a Scrooball with faults but being wrong is not one of them."
#17 Print Post
Posted on January 16 2008 04:26 PM
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I got my license at age 25 and I found that becoming a member of the auto club is very valuable.
Yes the free towing is nice, but those tripmaps are just made for someone with dyscalculia.
The auto club sends you a spiral bound map book (you tell them your start point and end point) where you flip the pages over for each little leg of your trip.
Nice and big, clearly marked and with restaurants and hotels marked as well.
Of course if you live in a huge city with very busy four lane roads, it makes life much more difficult.
Living and or working in a small town or in the burbs makes life less complicated for a dyscalculic.

For parents reading all of this stuff on the forum.
Yes your child will find their way in this world but they may have to learn new ways of doing things and ways to cope with math related tasks.

Having a Parent, Friend, Chartered Accountant or Lawyer that can help them navigate money related chores will help smooth the way.

Yes that can be a pain, but no one comes into this world perfect and everyone longs for some skill or physical attribute that they did not get.
This LD is not easy, but it is workable.
#18 Print Post
Posted on June 14 2008 04:00 PM

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Unlike most kids where I live, I wasn't anxious to get my license & waited 'til I was 20. And then, mainly because my mom stongly encouraged me to do so (paid for the lessons & let me use her car).

Written test conisted of memorizing the pamphlet. No problem, did well on that. My instructor's car was huge & you really had to turn the steering, hit the brakes. My mom's at the time was a compact which was very responsive to the lightest touch. I got so thrown off by changing between the 2, I thought I was going to fail as my driving was getting worse. So since I'd be taking my test on the instructor's car, used only his and it improved. To the point where he'd say, I can tell you've really been practicing (he'd said to practice more on my mom's car). Even though I wasn't.

Much to the amazement of my instructor, my family & myself, I passed the road exam on the first try. I've always been awful with navigation, I love the Tripticks from AAA & GPS navigation. Though I find it's still best if I check them with someone at my destination.

I have a hard time judging speed & distance. I will go out of my way to avoid left turns or at least use the traffic lights with the arrow lights for left turns. I hate changing lanes on the highway.

I will take back roads to avoid congestion because I find driving can be almost relaxing when there aren't a lot of distractions. But add the distractions & it becomes very stressful. I've only driven in Manhattan intentionally on Saturdays & then just to a garage right off the tunnel. I've driven unintentionally in Manhattan at least 2x (got off the wrong exits on highways & ended up in the city).
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Posted on June 14 2008 11:22 PM

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I agree, I love driving, except in very congested big-city driving, then I let my husband do it. But I work out my own methods, just like I have my own methods for adding numbers, etc. I tend to go by the visuals, too, as someone else suggested. The three rocks, the big Willow Tree, the little red house. Don't ask me what the road numbers or mailbox numbers are, I have no idea. What-point-what miles to the store? No way. But I can remember the tree where I saw a Pileated Woodpecker, or the curve where a fox crossed the road. It works for me. Stress can really mess with your mind and your memory, I would suggest for those who don't trust themselves driving, take it slow, drive were you are comfortable, work out your own methods.
"I was never lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." --Daniel Boone
#20 Print Post
Posted on June 15 2008 02:31 PM

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Hi Sunshine49,
It was seeing your name on the forum that brought me in here this morning.

Would someone please explain to me how to do that cute little quote box thing? I have to keep using quote marks.

CoateRack said:

"... and I get nervous when I'm the first person stopped at a red light and needing to make a turn, especially a left. I freak out, thinking I'm going to turn into the wrong lane."

Actually, I'm a pretty good driver. I did a lot of roller-skating at roller rinks as a kid, and a lot of bike riding, so I got an early start at judging speed and distance. Plus, this is probably just not one of the dyscalculia symptoms that I don't have.

But I agree that the left turn at a big intersection requires all my concentration. I think it's because,... well here's my theory,...
we are having to quickly count how many lanes the cross-street has in order to be sure that we don't turn too short and meet someone head-on. Plus, at many intersections here in the DFW Metroplex there are arrows that permit both the left lane to turn left (left only) and also the next lane to the right can turn left (sometimes 'left only', and sometimes they have the choice of turning left or going straight).

So, what happens is that, if you are in the 'left only' left lane, you MUST NOT go all the way to the far lane as you turn, because this wouldn't leave room for that other car that might be turning left beside you. And you can't cut it too short either, so you don't 'head-on' somebody. For a dyscalculic under stress, even the one-two-three lanes to turn into ("Which one is mine?") requires conscious thought and a conscious choice. And when the dotted lines have been worn off this makes it harder.

I think that the nice strong, newly painted, dotted lines for left turns at intersections are the one biggest help to a dyscalculic, and that intersections that are missing 'paint' are a hazard to everybody.
Edited by justfoundout on June 15 2008 02:38 PM
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