sareini: default (normal people...)
I was recently provided with a link to a website called Dyscalculia Forum. I think most people already know that I have dyscalculia, also known as numerical dyslexia. I wasn't diagnosed until I was in university - before that, everyone just thought I had really bad math skills. I'd also been aware of the fact that there were very few dyscalculaics (is that a word?) around - or at least, ones who knew that they were, in fact dyscalculaics.

Anyway, I had a look round the site, and found it very interesting. One part that I found particularly interesting was their "symptoms" page - there are considerably more symptoms than I'd known about (and of course, reading the list convinces you that you've got all the symptoms...)

- Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing. Poetic ability. Good visual memory for the printed word. Good in the areas of science (until a level requiring higher math skills is reached), geometry (figures with logic not formulas), and creative arts. This is definitely me. Verbal, reading and writing I can all do well, obviously, logic problems and the like I'm almost scarily good at, and as long as it doesn't have equations or formulas I'm fine. Beyond that...

- Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. Substitute names beginning with same letter. I'm forever confusing names of people and faces.

- Difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction. Inability to recall schedules, and sequences of past or future events. Unable to keep track of time. May be chronically late. This one's an interesting one - I'm fine with time (almost obsessive-compulsive about schedules and the like, which for all I know may be me trying to compensate), but terrible with directions. I continually get lost when playing computer games, even.

- Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Poor mental math ability. Poor with money and credit. Cannot do financial planning or budgeting. Checkbooks not balanced. Short term, not long term financial thinking. Fails to see big financial picture. May have fear of money and cash transactions. May be unable to mentally figure change due back, the amounts to pay for tips, taxes, etc. Nick would tell you, at length, about how bad I am with money (although he's not too hot with it himself...), and I'd happily agree with him. As for my mental math ability... when I was very young, my father used to work with me for an hour a day with mental arithmatic exercises because he recognised that I had problems with it, so I can actually do some sums in my head better than if I do them on paper.

- When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these common mistakes are made: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals. I am forever confusing the numbers in phone numbers, PIN numbers and the like. It makes for fun times at the cash machines.

- Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Poor long term memory (retention & retrieval) of concept mastery- may be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next! May be able to do book work but fails all tests and quizzes. Oh yes. This was so bad for me that, when I was in school I had to do a seperate exam rather than submit coursework for my Maths GCSE.

- May be unable to comprehend or "picture" mechanical processes. Lack "big picture/ whole picture" thinking. Poor ability to "visualize or picture" the location of the numbers on the face of a clock, the geographical locations of states, countries, oceans, streets, etc. I'm not sure I have this one, to be honest. It's not something I've ever thought about. I know I don't have problems with clock faces.

- Poor memory for the "layout" of things. Gets lost or disoriented easily. May have a poor sense of direction, loose things often, and seem absent minded. (Remember the absent minded professor?) Again, my ability to get lost is almost legendary.

- May have difficulty grasping concepts of formal music education. Difficulty sight-reading music, learning fingering to play an instrument, etc. Don't have this one. I've played various musical instruments and learned musical theory since I was seven with no problems.

- May have poor athletic coordination, difficulty keeping up with rapidly changing physical directions like in aerobic, dance, and exercise classes. Difficulty remembering dance step sequences, rules for playing sports. I do have problems with dance steps and the like, although not that bad...

- Difficulty keeping score during games, or difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, etc. Often looses track of whose turn it is during games, like cards and board games. Limited strategic planning ability for games, like chess. Don't think I have this one either.

Which makes 8 or 9 out of 11, I think...
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