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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?





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How do you explain to people...
Tamsin
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Posted on October 15 2011 12:27 AM
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...that you aren't good with maps or geography? For example I know where my town is and I know where Seattle is. Some other places I know the general area, but most I have no idea. And that's just for my state alone. When I tell people that I have no idea where (enter city/town here) is, they say something like "Oh it's north/south/east/west of (enter other city/town here)" which doesn't help because I have no idea where that city/town is either. There are even some states that I couldn't tell you exactly where they are and what states they are by, but people don't seem to understand this.

Just today I was talking with a boy from Minnesota (never been) and, when I told him I don't know where Minneapolis is, he said "How do you not know where Minneapolis is?" I can't explain to people that I can't remember geography in a way that they will understand and accept.

What's funny is that I can walk into a store one time and virtually memorize the layout for years. There is a grocery store that I frequent that I know where most everything is and I don't even pay attention to aisle signs. It's the same for driving too. I can memorize routes for years without even paying attention to street names. Actually street names make it more confusing for me. But I have a hard time drawing routes, maps, and layouts for other people as they tend to be very un-proportional.

How do you explain this to people? Do they ever understand?
Aspie
 
squeakymonster
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Posted on October 15 2011 03:03 AM
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I say that unless I physically GO there, I have no idea where it is and how to get there, it's something about the concrete with the abstract map.
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!
 
dandy22
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Posted on October 16 2011 02:16 PM
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I went on a road trip with my family once and my dad wanted me to read the map, but I couldn't do it. I didn't know what I was looking at or what I was looking for. Now evry time we go somewhere far away, they remind of how I can't read the map and the entire trip they tell me how stupid I am. My dad tries to teach me how to read maps, but he talks to me like I'm a retarded 3year old. It makes me not want to learn at all. My family is always giving me a hard time about being dyscalculic, they don't really understand it, I hate them so much.
Equations are the devil's sentences. -Stephen Colbert
 
RottieWoman
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Posted on October 16 2011 04:08 PM
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I'm sorry Dandy, that is very hard to deal with :-(
do you have to go with them on these trips?
 
CheshireKat
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Posted on October 16 2011 09:48 PM
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Tamsin, I simply tell people that I have a learning disability and it makes it difficult for me to read maps. If they ask for more detail, I explain what dyscalculia is and how it applies to reading maps. The usual response is, "Wow, you have a learning disability, really?" Then I get the opportunity to educate people about disabilities and dispel the horrible stereotype that people with disabilities are "slow" or "dumb" etc.

(On a side note, I've had a few people say really ignorant things like, "You didn't seem like the type to have a disability." To this I usually respond along the lines of, "What, did you think all people with disabilities wear a helmet and drool on themselves?" That usually makes them realize how stupid that stereotype is, and hopefully will be a lesson they won't forget anytime soon!)

Dandy, I'm sorry to hear that your family isn't very accepting of your disability. Sad My family questioned it at first, mostly they had a hard time understanding that there was such a thing as a math disability. My brother has a very large discrepancy between his math and reading skills too, but his is the other way around - he's a math genius, but not a very strong reader or writer. They seem to have no problem understanding this, but the idea of dyscalculia was a foreign concept to them for quite a while. They have come around though, and now nobody gives me a hard time about it anymore. Maybe with enough education your family will come around too.

My number one piece of advice would be to not be afraid to stand up and educate them. Remember that they aren't trying to be mean to you, they're just ignorant. There's a big difference between ignorance and malice, and I would bet that they are hung up on the former, not the latter. They aren't trying to be mean, they just don't understand. The more you educate them on the matter, I think, the more likely they will be to understand your disability and treat you in ways that do not make you feel stupid or demeaned. Of course I could be wrong about your family, but I try to see the best in people and I do believe that they're probably acting more out of ignorance than meanness.
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer
 
Tamsin
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Posted on October 16 2011 10:20 PM
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Dandy- I can relate. Although I have not been officially diagnosed with Dyscalculia I don't know that I will ever tell my father. Maybe someday I will, but when he found out I have Aspergers Syndrome he got very mad and started yelling at me like it was my fault. He still denies that I have AS and seems to think I'm not trying hard enough.

When I was younger he also use to yell at me because I couldn't understand multiplication. When I started crying he would tell me to stop crying, sit up straight, get my head out of my hands, and do my math. He never seemed to understand that I couldn't remember the steps. As with AS he seemed to think I just wasn't trying hard enough or was simply lazy.

My mother is slightly more understanding, but even she is afraid to tell my father because of his explosive reactions.
Aspie
 
dandy22
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Posted on October 17 2011 01:26 AM
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Tasmin, I'm sorry your dad has such a temper. I think parents just have all of these hopes and expectations for their children, and when we can't fulfill them; even if it isn't our fault, it really gets to them. Sometimes they decide it IS our fault, because they need someone to blame the disappointment on.
When a person is a slow reader and they say they're dyslexic, people suddenly turn all sensitive and understanding. But when you say you have dyscalculia, they have a hard time believing you and they think you're just stupid. It isn't fair, they're the idiots, not us.
Equations are the devil's sentences. -Stephen Colbert
 
squeakymonster
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Posted on October 17 2011 03:28 AM
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dandy, this is why we have to educate people about dyscalculia. I'm sure dyslexics went through the same thing we are now before they were accepted. As people hear more about dyscalculia, and find out that it is as common as dyslexia, perhaps they will become more understanding. Yes, there will always be those that discriminate for the sake of discriminating. However, I'd like to believe that with education, most of the discrimination will subside, because it is based on ignorance.
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!
 
Tamsin
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Posted on October 17 2011 04:07 AM
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Squeak is right. We must educate.
Aspie
 
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