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Trying to explain Dyscalculia to others and getting the help you need
tranquilheart
#1 Print Post
Posted on March 19 2012 05:41 PM
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I have struggled with Mathematics ever since I was a kid. They have a disabilities office at my college & after being re-evaluated by a psychiatrist that specializes in diagnosing learning disabilities, I was able to receive accommodation classes. Instead of having to take math, I am required to take Science classes which will count as math credit. I have already passed one of the classes, Human Biology. Now I am taking Astronomy, the second class I was given as an accommodation. There is paperwork that you can show the professor at the beginning of the semester to explain your situation of being in the class, but since I never have had to deal with math in any of my other science classes, I did not think it would be necessary.

I plan on speaking to my professor (*cringe*) after lectures this Tuesday though to show him my paperwork and talk about the struggle Iím having regarding the responsibility of grading other students tests etc. It may sound bizarre to him that a person would have trouble adding up a test score, but my brain completely turns to mush the instant any form of arithmetic comes into play. Itís embarrassing.. but something that I have become used to dealing with.

I would not be having any problem in this class if it wasn't for the fact that we have to grade another students test, and if we grade them wrong, we get points deducted from our own test. Hopefully my Astronomy Professor will be understanding & allow me to use a calculator so that I will be able to grade the tests accurately.
Edited by tranquilheart on March 19 2012 05:42 PM
 
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justfoundout
#2 Print Post
Posted on March 20 2012 05:49 PM
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Location: Texas USA
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3/20/12
Dear tranquilheart,
I can't believe that you've just now written about exactly what happened to me about three weeks ago in class! I'm so glad that you've found us here, and that you've mentioned this unexpected result of dyscalculia. I was in my Intro to Spanish Linguistics class a few weeks ago, when the professor took up our Quiz papers and re-ditributed them so that we would be grading another student's paper. He was writing the correct answers on the board, so everyone was copying the board, while at the same time grading the student's paper. I could do 'one' or the 'other', but not both. About half way through, I started to fall behind. During two questions, I was making a frantic effort to keep up. And finally, I had to raise my hand and tell the professor that I couldn't keep up. He's very considerate regarding my disability accommodations, but just as you've mentioned,... who would expect our disability to manifest itself at a moment like this? In my case, I wasn't even doing arithmetic. I just couldn't multitask. The professor looked concerned but a little confused as to how to help. But the young lady beside me very kindly took the paper that I was trying to grade and continued grading it along with the one she was already grading. Whew!

There was another instance in this same class when the professor told us to check his math in our test he had scored and passed back to us. Each section contained a different number of questions, and the entire test had a total of (let's say) 68 questions.. So, there were about 5 sections, some with 18 questions, others with 9 questions. Each section has a score written in red,... like 17 over 18, to show that the student got 17 out of 18 correct. The professor told us to add up that top number from each section, then divide it by 68, to see if he'd given us the right score. And then to hand our papers back to him. Can you imagine the look on my face?

I hope you'll enjoy this forum and that I'll see you again soon. Good for you on doing those science classes. And, yes, you absolutely must give the accommodations letter to each instructor at the beginning of every semester. Those accommodations are not 'retro-active'. So, if you don't give that letter to the instructor, and something goes wrong,... like maybe you can't get a project finished on time,... you aren't 'covered', because you didn't give the instructor the paperwork 'before' the problem occurred. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on March 20 2012 06:31 PM
 
squeakymonster
#3 Print Post
Posted on March 20 2012 07:17 PM
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Location: Munising, MI, USA
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Turn in paperwork at the beginning of the semester and make an appointment the first two weeks of class to talk about your LD with the prof. if necessary. It will save you a lot of grief later.

Speaking of grief, I forgot about a 10 page book review that is due next week. So, I better get off the internet and do it.
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!
 
CheshireKat
#4 Print Post
Posted on March 21 2012 07:35 PM
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Tranquilheart, I tried to take Astronomy one semester for my physical science requirement... it was a nightmare. There were far too many equations and basic math in Astronomy for me to have any chance of succeeding in the course. I hope that's no the case for you, and that you are able to find success in this class. But if you end up having to drop it, or need other physical science classes to take in the future, here are some that I would suggest from my years of plowing through gen ed physical science classes:

1. Geology. I took a very basic intro-level Geology class that was affectionately nick-named "Rocks for Jocks" because it was the easiest physical science class at my university. It required absolutely no math whatsoever, just knowing basic facts about the types of rocks, how they form, what different layers the earth has, etc. Really basic, I think I showed up 3 times and got an A.

2. Any kind of water-based class, such as a meteorology course or an earth science course focusing on water. I took an intro-level class on Meteorology and basically all we talked about was the water cycle and different types of storm clouds. Then my teacher spent the rest of the semester ranting about what contractors are doing to destroy Florida's natural waterways. Also required no math, and was an easy A.

3. Agriculture/soil science classes. This may be in the same area as geology, but try looking into your school's college of agriculture, if it has one. Often there are intro-level soil science or agronomy classes that are really easy and can fulfill your physical science requirements, with little or no math involved. I didn't know about this until I had already finished up my physical science requirements, but I found out that my school had a HUGE selection of entry level soil science classes that are supposed to be a cake walk.

Those are all just suggestions for physical science classes you might want to try taking in the future, either if Astronomy doesn't work out or if you still need more of those type of classes for your degree. Good luck!
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer
 
RottieWoman
#5 Print Post
Posted on March 21 2012 09:51 PM
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hi there, tranquilheart!

When I was at my university <which was how I was diagnosed - through Disabled Student Services>I had to take some science courses too, although I was going for a B.A.

I agree with Kat about the Geology, I took that in place of things like astronomy or chemistry, and did well in it. There was some math but as was stated, a great deal of study on rocks, topography and various types of earth formations and processes.

Where I went for college/university, the soils/water classes were heavy-math as they were part of the group of majors that the university was known for, which was "Natural Resources" - various degrees focusing on different environmental and conservation majors.

I also took Basic Bio as I'd taken AP Biology in high school and do well in most aspects of Biology.

I found that not only turning in a form letter, but also discussing with the teachers up front, each semester, worked well for me. I was and am very open about my learning disability and had experience in the field of working with other people with disabilities before I was diagnosed.

glad you found usSmile
 
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