Kathy Florida

I am 34 years-old and I think I've been able to work through most of my math issues. I'm finishing my last calculus class this semester with a C- and that's passing! I don't think I have a very severe case of dyscalculia; if I do, it's not like that girl in a video I watched. If I focus really hard, check, recheck, then triple check my work (even with a calculator, because sometimes I'll type in the wrong number), I can usually get it!

My Dyscalculia Checklist:

(a) Difficulty with time, directions, recalling schedules, sequences of events. Difficulty keeping track of time. Frequently late.(b) Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name-face association. Substitute names beginning with same letter.

(c) Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Bad at financial planning and money management. Too slow at mental math to figure totals, change due, tip, tax.

(d) When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these mistakes may occur: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals.

(f) Poor memory (retention & retrieval) of math concepts- may be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next! May be able to do book work but then fails tests.

(k) Difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, cards, etc. Often loses track of whose turn it is. Limited strategic planning ability for games like chess.

(l) Experiences anxiety during math tasks.

(m) Uses fingers to count. Loses track when counting. Cannot do mental math. Adds with dots or tally marks.

(n) Numbers and math seem like a foreign language.

TRICKS  I like songs that help me recall things more easily, and tricks (like the finger trick with multiples of 9 up 10 - you'd think I wouldn't still need that by now). I do really well if I can see examples in a step-by-step fashion, I mean EACH step, even if it seems like something that can be skipped - no way, lay it out for me! I have to make sure I take my time, go in those steps, and write everything out. 

ARITHMETIC  It's not the bigger concepts I have as much of a problem with - I understand what to do for derivatives, partial derivatives, rates of change, integrals, exponential growth and decay...it's the basic math - mostly subtracting and dividing, but also sometimes addition and multiplication - where I (usually) make my mistakes. 

If I have enough time & paper, I can solve some pretty large equations. This was my second time taking the class. The first time, I received a D, and even that was only after the instructor gave me extra points on tests when I showed her my work (it was a distance course, mostly online, but you tested at the testing center and she collected your scrap paper, so if you had any rebuttals, she'd look at your work - sometimes I'd write down one answer on the page, but I ended up typing in something completely different; other times somewhere along the equation I'd turn one number into another, "Where'd this '2' come from?"  I have no idea. 

DRAWING  I draw a lot of stuff out...I draw a lot anyway, but for math problems, it helps me see what they're talking about. It's more of a thing in my chemistry class though, like when we're supposed to figure out chirality and if a molecule turns left or right. I usually get it wrong, even though I know left from right! If it's already set up, I can do it, but if the molecule's been rotated on the page and I have to figure out what it looks like with the lowest priority in the back, I can't seem to get it. If you're not familiar with chirality (which seems very specific and unnecessary for my interests anyway), this video describes it, and also features a trick that I am going to try for my upcoming test...we'll see if that helps! (we'll also see if I can remember it during the test).

WRITING ERRORS  It was my ecology professor that had mentioned I might want to look into dyscalculia when I explained to her how frustrating any of my classes that involved numbers were (economics, physics, chemistry...and of course calculus), because I knew what I was supposed to be doing but kept writing the wrong answers. I had never even heard about it before, I just figured I didn't like math...but I don't dislike math, I find it fascinating and mysterious. 

I call people that are really good at it, "mathemagicians," because it really does seem like magic, the way they can make those numbers mean something. I tend to say I hate math, but I really don't...I'm jealous. I was in advanced math classes all through middle & high school, but teachers were more interested in the steps you took than the final answers, so I would do well for the most part - until I got to college and the final answer was all that counted. If it's multiple choice, I can usually find something close to my answer and get it. 

TYPOS  Oh, does it mean anything if you switch letters a lot while typing? Only while typing; I write freehand just fine. I read just fine too, though not in the car. While typing though, I tend to flip letters or add spaces in the wrong spot. I understand it if I'm typing fast, but it happens at normal speed too. It's annoying. It's not an issue for anything online because I have an internet spell-checker that highlights when I do it so I don't look like a complete fool, but at work...that's not an option, and everything at work is about typing, so there are a lot of "teh"'s and things like "actuallys een him"-type errors (I'm at work now...that is a true chunk of example I'm reading). 

NUMBER READING ERRORS  I also read the digital clocks at work wrong. We have to give the time a lot, and I often say the wrong time, sometimes even a time that doesn't exist (we use a 24 hours system). I can see the numbers, I know the numbers, but when I go to say them, they're not always the same.