Category Archives: My journey through Dyscalculia

Giftedness and LD

Until recently I thought both Giftedness and LD are one and the same .

How foolish, isn’t it ?

While we did the assessment for Ruby last year , the special educator had just briefed me on his IQ level . His mental IQ level is 140 which would have put him in the gifted range . But his expression IQ ie . Reading and writing skills are far below . Just around 90. But they highlighted mainly the learning disability .

Even then , taking the average he falls in the bright normal range (119 ) which is also above the average population .

Wechsler’s classification

Classification IQ Limits Percent Included
Very Superior 128 and over 2.2
Superior 120-127 6.7
Bright Normal 111-119 16.1
Average 91-110 50
Dull Normal 80-90 16.1
Borderline 66-79 6.7
Defective 65 and below 2.2

When I went to the resource at school also , the teacher wanted to list him among the gifted kids . They did not say anything about the disability. So some how I got this misconception that they are both the same . I thought they were just synonyms for being 2E ( twice exceptional).

I didn’t know there are kids who have a gifted complex brain just like that of a dyslexic and at the same time don’t have any of the problems.

( I never cared about IQ tests as a student because I never scored good or even average 😛 )

Then during one of our virtual conversations, I happened to send my son’s IQ results to my  Blogger friend and homeschooler Priya .

Having an IQ of 140 puts him above 99.5 % of the population . The imbalance in the expression skills and other salient symptoms of dyslexia along with the giftedness is what created all the confusions and frustrations during his childhood.

This has lead me to an entire new area . Earlier I concentrated more on the disability part . Now only I started looking out for the signs of giftedness in my son . And they are all there .

” The giftedness mask the disability and the disability masks the giftedness . ”

Because of this Dyslexic kids always get categorised in the mediocre group . Whenever I ask his teachers they say he is okay . Because they have kids who are far expressive and capable than him and because there are more kids who are worse than him .

Priya’s revelation was something new to me .  Now that I am preparing him for the exams I am relaxed . I know he can handle it and much more .  And he will do well.

Music is my Life !

My life is so much intertwined with all the beautiful songs I have heard that sometimes I think I can make a graph out of them.

Last year , I had done some song quotes on computer with so much effort and I lost them while I imported and deleted my old domain. To tell the truth I lost many photos also which I could not find any where else . It is a difficult thing for me to get over my loses , however small they might be.

Yesterday while cleaning up and sorting out my desktop I accidentally found that I had  actually saved some of them . Vow !

When we were kids , my sister and I had a lyrics book in which we wrote lyrics of all the songs we ever heard . When we grew up , I converted it into a quote book .

Don’t ask me where is that book  now ? I don’t have a clue . ‘ Gone with the wind!’

( Once in a while I do some compulsive purging and almost always end up losing things I treasure most ) .

But the lyrics are embedded forever in my mind .

The down side is now I don’t remember any thing about these pictures or editing them.

The Dyscalculia Devil Reigns 😦

That is why I like this poem from Orkut communities very much . It is so true . I can’t Remember Me

I don’t contemplate the future
I can’t recollect the past
Lost in the land of limbo
In a time that may not last

The days now pass before me
In an alternating blur
Confusion reigns within me
For a past thats lost somewhere

I know I am, for I exist
The photographs don’t lie
Pictures of a life now lost
But I don’t remember why

I see a new life every hour
In a place thats not the same
No hint of recognition
For turmoil is to blame

I write these words upon this page
For others now to see
But don’t ask me if I wrote them
As I can’t remember me.

– Courtesy Orkut Neelam’s Communities .

Abacus Training: A mom’s view

Being a Maths phobic Mom ( I am a Dyscalculic ) , it was very difficult for me to teach my son , even the basics of mathematics. When he was in 1st std we both had a tough time learning maths. He was not able to do even simple sums and tables and I didn’t know how to teach him.

By the time he finished counting on fingers he forgot what he was counting and where to write them. And messed up with the answers. Anybody would say he was careless. He was a very slow writer. Couldn’t complete his notes often. He had problems with mirror writing and spellings also.

It was at that time I heard about abacus classes. ( If you don’t know what is an abacus click here )The word brought to my mind images of kids who can do the most complex sums with great speed and accuracy. My son was far behind when compared to that and I was afraid to send him for fear of failure. Then Priya Mam explained to me all about the benefits of Sip Abacus and Brain Gym . And to me it was a boon. What I needed was something to comprehend the brain functions. The maths skills were an added benefit.

From the first day of class itself Ruby got very much interested in it. The teachers were very friendly and jolly yet professional and competent. He is always enthusiastic to go to Abacus classes.

The first change came with writing. Practicing left and right hand writing improved his writing speed . I never had to worry about his notes again. Visualisation games helped with his mirror writing problem. Practising Brain Gym improved his concentration and memory.

And most of all by doing Abacus his maths skills improved very much. Now he beats me when I try to check him with a calculator. He is now in third standard and I am not at all worried about his Maths lessons. I just have to brush him up for the exams. That is all.

One thing you have to do as a parent is , You have to see that the child does the brain gym and abacus regularly and consistently to get the maximum benefits.

Sip Abacus

To wind up I asked him what did he gain from the Abacus classes and these are my son’s words “ It made me a speed writer , helped me to improve my hand writing , improved my maths skills, concentration and memory. “

My special thanks to his Abacus Trainer Ms.Priya and her team. They gave him confidence, support and freedom to evolve.

After dyscalculia.

Now that I know I have this problem it is not horrible as I thought it to be .

Now I know exactly the areas I struggle . I can pull myself together getting ready and thus avoid the panics that otherwise occured so frequently.  I don’t have to feel bad when I can’t do some thing. I can calm myself and start doing it from a different angle. Yes, I am working on it.

Two days before I was able to place a phone call using the coin box in one go, for the first time in my life . Yes,  You can’t believe it . Can you ?

I knew what will be coming and I prepared myself before I started. I read the instructions carefully and progressed remembering to concentrate on the sequence. And there I was talking through it. A week Before it was a horror.

With so much effort I make myself do multiplication and sums along with Siva . When he does his Brain gym I also do the  mental sums and Swetha gives the questions. I found out my old calculator and we take turns to check our sums. Yes, I can do it.

It feels like I had been treading  through a dark path which seemed never ending and now  suddenly I realise , I have reached midway . I can see a glimmer of the sunlight and the path that lay ahead is beautifully lit. The only thing I have to do is keep my pace and walk slow and steady. Just like the tortoise in the story I told Swetha yesterday.

Drowned in Dyscalculia

The urge to count with my fingers even in front of others. It is irresistible .  But Otherwise I will simply not be able to complete the sum.  I like to go to super markets mostly because they will tell you the exact balance and they will give you an exact bill. They wont ask you to check it once again. And I can be sure if they  billed something I forgot to take.

If you see me listening to some body who tells me about time or schedules or their strategies or projected amounts  or bills or banking , you may think  I am listening keenly or doing the calculations in my mind . But no, I am just staring into blankness. All of it does not mean any thing to me. I have given up listening to them a long time ago. ( My husband says it is the same for him when he goes to a doctor. Is there some condition like that as well ? I wonder ! )

If  my friends remember correctly I have an Id card with birth date recorded as 1997 instead of 1977. Mahesh , Are  you reading this ? Yes, I am now 13 years old or is it 12 ? Any way,  finally I am into my teens!

Now I have a watch which does not even have numbers. I just fell in love the shape of the dial and strap and couldn’t talk myself out of it. But now my times are so vague . Somewhere around something. And looking at the watch dial I feel like looking into a placid pond. It doesn’t mean anything. It is okey with me because I don’t care so much about time. I just want to know how much more time is left from the time limit I have . ( 5 or 10 minutes to reach some where .. like that  .) It need not be precise and I don’t care.

But I hate it when people ask me time . I am so embarrassed. I have to multiply the long hand number with 5 and find the product and then find the short hand number . And then again check the long hand and the again check  the multiplication and ( getting mad ???? )then again relate it to short hand and think if the multiplication has gone wrong , think if  what I think  is correct and then decide on some thing  . ( 15, 30 and 45 is easy but even then I have to mulitply  )

I have set my mobile banner in such a way that I can see time, date and day in letters . Not picture screen . And also calender. It is a blessing that we can carry it around.

I have clocks in every room , in every single position. because I will never know what time of day it is. I have very poor time sesnse. I will get ready early and wait for the correct time . And then I get messed up again in the last minute and reach late. How people really sense time ? I don’t know.

I am very poor with days and dates. Now I am so fed up with up my inability to remember I have stopped taking in data. I just ask the relevant people to remind me and tell them not to  expect me to remember it no matter however important it is . Yes I know my birth date. Year ? I have some how mugged it up. But if somebody ask my age I am cornered. Earlier I used to count them .  But I don’t that will apply now. Now every year I by heart my age. Wedding Anniversary ..tenth or eleventh ? ( my sister has got a head for numbers and dates and she makes it a point to call me before important dates ) My kid’s birth dates …I will count and subtract and do whatever possible.

Few days back only I told my sister I cannot understand the layout and  I have given up. Instead I drew every single page of the web site, with drop downs , in the order , how I want it to be and handed it over to the professional.  I think the persevering nature covers  the  problem to some extend and doesn’t let anybody find out how dreadful it is to be a dyscalculic.

My journey through Dyscalculia – Give me a calculator

Give me a calculator, I will just throw it away. Give me an ATM card and I will SCREAM .

Just a couple of days back only I realised I might be having Dyscalculia which can  be described in most simple words as number blindness . You can check the symptoms of Dyscalculia here !

I can completely relate to all of these. Actually it looks like my autobiography.

Even before I knew about this condition I had known exactly what my problems were and could even put them into words. But then I didn’t know all these problems were interconnected and pointed to a single condition. And then I didn’t know this was the answer to all the frustrations, anger, despair , depression , low self esteem , and helplessness I had felt all through  my life.

I needed to list down my problems one by one ,  so that I can find how to tackle each of them.  Without a list I am lost. Some times I even keep a list of all the lists I have with me.

Earlier I used to rely on calculator for my day to day sums. I will try 5 or 6  times to complete the sequence without mistake and eventually give up. And if I manage to get through and try to recheck my answer,  then I am lost. I will get a different answer every time.

I have always despised scientific calculators. My husband being in Accounting,  like the most complex ones. And I have the most simplest one with me..

For the past two days I have been reading a lot from the dyscalculia forum. And I realise there are so many people out there who suffer exactly like me.  I found the following there . This is exactly how it is for me to work with a calculator.

!Angry Let’s see , did I type in the plus sign and oh the equal sign uhm I don’t remember :ShockAngry! Start over Sad Concentrate Shock Add, subtract . . . .Oh no distractionShockAngry . Can’t add or sutract with or without a calculator! Angry

zero or two zeros , decimal or zero , did I press ‘+’ again . Did I press ‘=’ and is this the answer ? It is a total disaster. I have completely given up using a calculator. I don’t even carry one now.

When I try to do a sum in my mind it is as though my shortsightedness has affected my mind also. My mind gets filled with fog and the numbers start to dissolve. It is like looking out of the window when it is  dark and misty. Some times I imagine to wipe  off the mist just like we do when we can’t see through the front glass of a car when it is raining.

But the image just get bizarre and I cant go further. The numbers start moving, turn upside down, reverse, blink……….

The numbers won’t stand straight for me to add or subtract . Division………! Don’t even think about it……. Every thing will get dark and go beyond my area of vision……Percentage and interests and I will run away ! ………Ask me to count something and you will see me in a maze. Counting and recounting.

And the most happiest thing that happened in my life is that I got married to a maths genius. ( I don’t have to do the calculations any more 😀 )

I think my hubby understands maths and accounts even more than human language. Ha ha ! Some times he just gets bewildered that I cant even do the simple day to day maths . Or why I can’t count properly .Because other wise I insist that I have above average intelligence . ( my belief !)

But I tell you ,This world is a dreadful place for people who cant do maths properly. Remembering all the faces that stared at me when I stumbled with simple bills and change.

This all happened before I knew I am a dyscalculic. (yes , I am starting to accept the term.)

And you know in which stage I am in ? Phobia. Afraid of Maths and related devices. Bank Phobia. Afraid to handle cash . I dont know how many times i have sworn ” why we didn’t stick to barter system ”

Apprehensive of every thing and every body if I have to deal with numbers and calculations and fractions and schedules and so many things.

But I wont give up. Now that I know it , I will find some way to tackle at least some of the problems . One of my greatest strength is Perseverance. ( I wrote this before I stumbled upon the words of this great great man. )

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer- Albert Einstein  ( A dyslexic and dyscalculic himself. )

So, I am not alone !

MY GREATEST RESOLUTIONS ! YES !!!

Half of my time I spend organising every thing so that it would be easy for me to keep on track. And the remaining half I keep on re – organising them so that no body notices my absent mindedness.

I had enrolled Swetha for some talent day programs. But now that I have to prepare her I don’t remember which were the programs . I am planning to write a letter to her teacher to let me know from the list ! hahaha !

I keep on and keep on and keep on……… making newer and tougher resolutions to fight against my absent minded nature. But in vain. So I thought why don’t I write them down.

I am not making a resolution ‘ To Remember’  . Well, that would almost be impossible. ‘ I will not forget ‘ sounds to be more easy.

I will not forget

1. the day and date every day / any day.

2.  about the next day’s breakfast………..  to cook . ( not cooking ! just to cook every day’s food.).

3.  to pay the bills on time ( This itself will take care of almost 75% of  my problems. )………. to charge my mobile on time.

4. to put the laundry on time…………to  put the washing powder…………to switch on the machine …………… to connect and switch on the pipe.. to press the buttons…………… to check if it has started working……. ( After all these steps it is a real wonder I some times get it all done . )

5.  to fold the clothes and sort it out and keep it in exact places . Aaarg h!!!!!!!! ! To keep the waste…………to buy the milk and groceries on time……. I will not forget to boil enough drinking water. ( we don’t rely on filters ) ………….and to switch off the burner on time. ……..to do the dishes ………… to sweep and mop and dust.

6 .  to eat food and drink water on time .

7.  to set hubby dear’s take away bag / mobile / comb/bath towel/ clothes / key ???? …. never ending.

8.  the assignments given by hubby, the Boss.

9. to book tickets……….to light the prayer lamp every day…………..to do the bed…………….to water my plants.

10.  to  check my check list .

I will not forget my resolutions and want to start all over again.

Oh! Life is really tough . How do every body else manage to live with all these done ? ( My biggest question about life )

But in my case there is nothing any body can do.  First my mother and then my hubby dear have done every thing humanly possible to make a woman out of me 😮 ,  and have hopelessly given up ! 😀

But the most amazing thing is some times I manage to pull along with out catching any body’s eyes ! 😀

Daily Resolutions !