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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?

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How does your family treat you?
#1 Print Post
Posted on May 15 2012 09:40 PM

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I was just thinking about my relationship with my father, we're not very close and I think it has something to do with my dyscalculia. My dad has dyslexia and still struggles with it sometimes. And when we found out I had an LD too, he began trying to work with me. The problem was that he is so incredibly gifted in math and science that he had a REALLY difficult time understanding why I can't learn math. Eventually he gave up trying to help me and began almost neglecting me. He bagan spending more time with my brother who is also incredibly gifted in math and science and music too. Whenever my brother would get a good grade in school my dad would say, "you're so smart" but when I got a good grade all he said was "you're so hardworking". To this day my dad still hasn't told me I'm smart, he just won't say it. He says "you just smart enough to work hard". As if thats as smart as I'll ever be; like I'm some sort of mindless drone destined for an average life inside a cubicle. I get waaaay better grades than my brother ever got and I also plan on majoring in psycholoy and not dropping out of college. No matter how many college degrees I get my dad will never tell me I'm smart. When ever we go to dinner, my dad and my brother have actual conversations about physics and chemistry and the possibilities of space travel, with me, he only gives orders.

Now, I know some of you weren't diagnosed until you were adults, but I wanted to know how your family, particularly your parents, reacted to your diagnosis. Or if you have a child with dyscalculia do you feel you treat him/her differently from your other children?
Equations are the devil's sentences. -Stephen Colbert
#2 Print Post
Posted on May 15 2012 10:36 PM

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Eventually, those family members may read the content here and figure out which 'name' is 'who'. I've shown several of my teachers our site when I was trying to explain 'dyscalculia' to them, and I'm sure that they can figure out that I'm "jus'". If you don't get much feedback, dandy, it's not because it wasn't an interesting question. - jus'
#3 Print Post
Posted on May 15 2012 10:39 PM

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Hi, dandy,

after my diagnosis, my dad actually became more patient with me and there were times when he and were together and in a venue where we had purchased something and he'd want me to go get change while did something else <say, loaded the groceries into the car, or whatever>. Before, when this happened, I'd go in dread to the desk or cashier and was always very confused and usually wrong and one time in particular he got really upset with me because I came back to him with a totally messed-up handful and I had no idea what was wrong with what I was given back or what my dad was talking about. He got very angry and yelled at me in the store and I burst into tears.
Well, after the diagnosis, my dad either went himself or if I did, then he would help me and be much more patient with me and try to work with me to make sure that didn't happen.
At the first DVR appt. when we were told of the math LD, he said "I always knew there would be something else" <I'd had other birth and young childhood-age issues>.

My mom initially refused to believe I have LD and while she still won;t really name it in connection with me, now, when discussing with me, she does phrase certain things relating to telling time, and do some other things regarding instructions or other math-based things - differently then she used to. It's very subtle but it's there.
My mom has some of the same symptoms I do but not all, and what she does have, is overall more mild.

Parents can have a very hard time seeing something in their children that they don't want to see or understand in themselves.
#4 Print Post
Posted on May 16 2012 12:52 AM
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It took my mom a while to warm up to the idea of me having LD. I was diagnosed my first year of college, so she was skeptical as to how a person could go 19 years of their life without ever having been diagnosed. My brother has dyslexia but he was diagnosed in early elementary school... he didn't slip through the cracks until college like I did.

I think it was also hard for her because out of all of us kids, I am the most "gifted." We all did well academically, but I'm the bookworm, the info nerd, the one who loves to learn new things just for the sake of learning. My brothers and sister are all smart, don't get me wrong, but we are just different kinds of intelligent. So I think for my mom, to hear that I of all people was learning disabled in some way... she had a really hard time buying that.

One day she finally sat down with all of my paperwork and read through it for a long time... afterwards she called me into her room and said, "I guess it wasn't such a waste of money to get you tested after all." My mother doesn't apologize, ever, but I think that was her way of saying she was sorry for telling me that I was wasting her money by seeking a diagnosis, and all the other things we argued about before my official dx.

Nobody in my family treats me any different because of dyscalculia, they just know that it's part of how I function and they've come to accept it. Nobody hassles me about it, except the occasional good-natured ribbing because I can't read maps or tell time on a regular clock, things like that.

I don't see any way in which the 2 of us with LD have been treated differently than the 2 without, but I did see a difference in the way my brother, diagnosed at a young age with a more socially accepted LD, was treated versus me, diagnosed in college with a LD nobody had ever heard of.
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer
#5 Print Post
Posted on May 16 2012 02:54 AM

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CheshireKat, you've touched upon the very root of the problem I think--the fact that not many have even heard of Dyscalculia, so it's hard for some people to accept it. What makes it even more difficult for some to accept is when one is "gifted" as so many members here seem to be (not me, I'm afraid I was good in other subjects, but not exceptional, except for maybe English/Journalism).

My mother doesn't believe me at all. Until I get an official diagnosis, she won't. I'm certain my brothers and sister all instantly recognized me when I wrote them all in one E-mail about it, giving them links to the signs/symptoms. My Dad never even responded to the E-mail--he clearly recognized me in it or he would have. However, he opted to remain silent rather than acknowledge it, probably because I've not been "officially" diagnosed.

I think sometimes parents take it as a personal failure on their part if they didn't see something in their child that they feel maybe they missed or should have realized, regardless of whether or not they had the requisite knowledge to identify it. I think the best approach is to recognize and understand their feelings of failure and simply teach them about what it is you have. Eventually, when they can completely identify the symptoms and recognize them in you, they will ackowledge it--only not necessarily in the manner you'd hoped for. As much as it must hurt some of you to never receive that validation from the relevant people in your life, it's something you may have to learn to accept.

Algebra? When I learn decimals and fractions, you're welcome to try teaching me, but unless you have the patience of a saint and are very long-lived, good luck with that... Grin
#6 Print Post
Posted on May 16 2012 12:55 PM

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yes, 'Kat and Ladyhawke, I agree too that the unfamiliarity of math LD or dyscalculia presents a difficulty of belief. My mom saw me as a very bright, quick-to-read child who just "wasn't interested" in math - I was in the highest reading groups as a kid and the lowest math groups <yup, still had them in the late 70's and 80's when I was below-high-school-age>; she associated learning disability with dyslexia or "cognitively disabled" kids...with kids who really struggled overall in academics. Neither of my folks had heard of math LD until I brought it up to them when I was thinking about getting tested.

and true, too - parents bring their own baggage into relationships with their children, most of the time - whether that be in the form of seeing "failure" in children and fearing that's a reflection of themselves, something they did "wrong", or anything else. My mom did smoke briefly when she was first pregnant and then quit at the urging of a co-worker. She had no mother role model to look on as her own mother was physically and emotionally abusive and would tell my mom and her younger sister that she wished those kids had not been born, to"get out", how she hated them etc. So that of course was all brought into play in terms of how she parented me.
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