What It’s Like Living With Dyscalculia?

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REVIEWED BY NUMBERDYSLEXIA’S EXPERT PANEL ON APRIL 13, 2022

Daily life is often not the same for all people. Not only the family structure and the workplace environment but personal compromises if any may impact reasonably. While Dyscalculia may be known to compromise learning numbers, several other daily life instants may be impacted. It may be crucial for some to comprehend how it is exactly like living with such a special condition?

While this may be a broader theme to learn about, a few valuable insights may be often eminent. Here we have tried to build on what Dyscalculia is all about, some individuals with their insights, and a few other areas worth considering. This way, you may better comprehend the scenario. 

Dyscalculia: What makes it different?

Dyscalculia may have complexities beyond a child’s ability to cope with math instruction and homework. Math skills and ideas are employed in a variety of settings, including the kitchen, the playground, and the workplace. While simple personalized strategies and tips can ensure them to manage, listing out how it is living with compromise may be essential.

In some persons, problems with number awareness might appear as early as preschool. For some others, hitches become apparent as math becomes more advanced in school. Students who suffer from this learning compromise may be more likely to lag behind in school, experience anxiety, and detest arithmetic. 

Although there is less genetic evidence for dyscalculia, studies[1] have indicated that it does run in families, according to some experts. The most defining attribute is having difficulty dealing with numbers, such as counting and math. Other early indicators of dyscalculia include a dependency on finger counting when others have stopped doing so and difficulty estimating numbers.

The number compromise might make it difficult to estimate the number of items in a group or to recognise the difference between the relative sizes of two objects. It may make working with fractions and graphs take more time. In everyday life, such individuals may have difficulty with any task involving numbers, from telling time and paying for something at the cash register to tallying up points in a board game or watching a sporting event.

Below are the most common characteristics that individuals having dyscalculia have. 

  1. Lack of number sense
  2. Directional confusion
  3. Difficulty with basic formulas and  handling money
  4. Difficulty paying attention in class
  5. Discerning time from the clock

Dyscalculics in real-life- Reflecting the “Numberless” lifestyle

Without ever being diagnosed with dyscalculia, most persons with math challenges either strive to overcome their difficulties or are provided assistance. Dyscalculia, on the other hand, does not exclude achievement in life.  This compromise is not often a  sign of poor intelligence. We have already known about prominent people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein, all struggling with math. These people fought very hard to overcome their challenges during a period when there was no such thing as dyscalculia, and they were successful.

Mary Tyler Moore as well as famed actress and singer Cher, have all been diagnosed with dyscalculia. Actor Henry Franklin Winkler in an interview discussed how he endured and then managed learning compromises. He was put on academic probation and he had to complete in his room.

 Bill Gates, an iconic idol of youthful talents and the CEO of Microsoft, is said to have dyscalculia, according to certain reports. Gates, on the other hand, has never verified this. These individuals showed that living with dyscalculia is manageable to get success. 

How is it living with dyscalculia?

Below are some of the real-life examples of what problems a dyscalculic individual faces on a regular basis.

1. At grocery stores

At grocery stores

Retaining a number of items at a time may be arduous for these individuals. Further, with multiple items racked in the store, they may be confused to pick the right one may be due to spatial reasons.  Further, counting the number of eggs or candies maybe something they may ward off. They may manage these minor hitches effortlessly. For instance: They can make a list of groceries along with their prices beforehand so that they don’t face this issue later at the store. Again, they may prefer to purchase a pack of candies/eggs which ensures a definitive number and also saves time. 

2. They may avoid paying at the counter

They may avoid paying at the counter

Counting money is a difficult task for those with dyscalculia. Because they may not be able to estimate the price of things in their basket precisely. They may ask their company to pay or may take some reasonable time to estimate, and confirm before paying out.

3.  Cooking that requires measurement

 Cooking that requires measurement

Some recipes that require measurements may be difficult for someone with dyscalculia to measure each ingredient. They might mess up with the quantities. In this situation, they can use measuring cups wherein each measurement is written on those cups, and they can easily cook or bake anything using those cups.

4. They take additional time to master the keyboard

typing

When it comes to typing on a computer keyboard, these individuals may initially feel it arduous to speed up typing as they may take time to infer different numbers and letters on it. Alternatives like voice typing and voice search may mitigate this effortlessly.

5. Train and platform numbers

Train and platform numbers

when these people are at train stations they often face problems with which train platform they need to go to and with the train number that they need to board. They can write down the platform and train number in advance so that they don’t face issues while trying to remember it. 

6. Time management for Executive functions

 Time management for Executive functions

Organizing daily tasks to ensure they get addressed on time is often essential. WIth number compromises, individuals may take more time or feel it strenuous to manage time for all. Firstly, they may face similar challenges with reading clocks. Secondly, they may need to estimate time needed for each event, which may be a stumbling block. Evidently, ensuring good tools and resources may assist. 

7. They may not be fans of family games

They may not be fans of family games

After a hectic day, it may be a good idea to spend time with family in the form of recreations like UNO. Nonetheless, with the evasion of numbers, they may try to avoid or suggest alternatives. Taking time to understand the number game is appreciated here. Further, taking help from family members to get better with arithmetics can be a fair idea too.

8. They may take time in dialing numbers

They may take time in dialing numbers

While there are a couple of ways to call a person, they may prefer to check out contacts rather than dialing numbers. Even if they have to dial, they may take time. Nonetheless, ensuring accuracy can manage other aspects. 

9. They may feel it is arduous to have a sense of direction

sense of direction

For instance,  Handling a vehicle on the roadway often stipulates a need for multiple skills like color perception, spatial awareness, and strong language skills to infer hoardings and signs. While these abilities may need a boost for special individuals, they may often like traveling as a passenger rather than grabbing the steering wheel. Automatic vehicles ease-out piloting and may be a better option for these individuals.

10. Social skills may have a noteworthy impact

social skills

Living in society may bring about multiple complications. Being compromised, they may be exposed to bullying, may not be accepted everywhere, and sometimes discretionary removals. These may lead to absenteeism and procrastination. With support from family and IEPs, they may manage to compete. 

11. Creativity can be an edge.

While they are innovative in most of the cases, when it comes to finishing tasks that need number comprehension they may come up with good alternatives. For instance, they may ask others to share a contact to mitigate dialing each number. 

The lifestyle that a number compromised persons have is quite different as compared to non-dyscalculic individuals. These people need to make changes in their day-to-day life to make their understanding of things easier. Only a few changes and a little patience are enough for them to lead a happy and problem-free life.

The individuals that are mentioned are successful people who have dyscalculia. If these people can overcome this issue and succeed in life, so can everyone else. They didn’t let the difficulties stop them,  Dream big and worked hard to accomplish their dreams.

Wrapping up,

Living with a number of compromises may not be the same for everyone. Since childhood itself, they may feel arduous in selected areas. But even with these manageable complications, they achieve success if they believe in themselves. The challenge is to trust in themselves and not let their state impact their confidence and self-esteem. Parents may focus their attention on them and make them realize how they can compete too. With minor changes, as stated in previous lines, life may be manageable for them. Further, insights into famous personalities are often a valuable resource.   

References:

  1. Kaufmann, L., & von Aster, M. (2012). The diagnosis and management of dyscalculia. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 109(45), 767.

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