Friday Counseling Issues: Learning Disabilities

Dyscalculia.  This is going to be a short one today, because dyscalculia shows so many similarities to the dyslexia we covered last week.

This one I know about on a very personal level.  I’ve struggled as long as I can remember with simple calculations because I tend to put the numbers in backwards, or to do the wrong calculation with the right numbers.  Like, eight minus four is 24.  Seriously. 


I wore holes in my homework papers with all the erasing I did. I understood the processes perfectly, but getting my problems right was a daily torture.  I did finally discover that talking to myself as I worked was helpful.  If I said the numbers and the process out loud, it seemed to make a big difference. 

I loved algebra and geometry.  It wasn’t all numbers.

Here’s a symptom list that you may find helpful:

So did I ever ask for help?  Good grief, no!  I was an “A” student.  My problem made me feel so stupid!  I’d never heard of learning disabilities back then, and I doubt any of my teachers had, either.  I even managed to test out of 8th grade math and go right to Algebra I in eighth grade, which was such an immense relief to me that I thought I’d won the lottery.  Algebra, I could do.  It was fun.  There were letters AND numbers, which cut my misery in half.

My problem was relatively minor compared to a lot of kids who ended up in tears during most math lessons.  But I will always remember how much I struggled, and how embarrassed I was when I had to go to the board to solve a problem, dreading that moment when the teacher would intervene with a puzzled look at me because I was “one of the smart ones.”

There is help. Lots of help online.  Search “dyscalculia help” and you will find lots of good information.

You know, the memories are flooding in right now.  Learning my nines in the multiplication tables was torture. I hated long division. Timed tests were also torture. And I’ll always remember the time I put the check number in the  amount column in the checkbook, and the amount in the check number column. Yeah, that was lots of fun to figure out.  When I finally realized what the problem was, I wanted to punch holes in walls.

Terry thought it was funny, which made me want to punch holes in HIM 🙂