I Have Dyscalculia

I think that most people have a weakness in something.  My weakness is in the area of math. Only recently did I learn that there is a name for this. It is called “dyscalculia” and there are a lot of others out there that struggle with it.

What is dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a disability that affects the learning of mathematics. To some, it is considered the math version of dyslexia (https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/dyscalculia-facts#1). Some of the symptoms include:

  1. Trouble learning to count as a young child
  2. Trouble learning simple and complex math
  3. Trouble with spatial skills
  4. Trouble reading an analog clock
  5. Trouble with estimation
  6. Trouble reading large numbers
  7. Trouble counting money and making change
  8. Trouble remembering formulas

Growing up

I am not good at math and I never have been. My math problems first started in the 2nd grade. I remember it vividly. There were reading and math groups based on the level each child was at. I was in the lowest math group and the highest reading group.

There was one day in class where we had to write all of our numbers to 100. After the teacher graded it I saw that I had missed a bunch of numbers. I remember feeling so embarrassed by this. After that day it seemed like I was in a downward spiral failure.

I was doing so poorly in math that in the 5th grade there was some talk of me possibly having to be held back. This made me feel awful about myself. Fortunately, I was able to get it together so that my grade improved and I could go to middle school at the same time as all of my friends.

My math struggles continued on and in 9th grade I actually failed algebra. Like actually FAILED! I was so depressed and hated myself. Feelings of worthlessness consumed me.

My parents enrolled me in Sylvan Learning Center in my second semester of 9th grade. I hated going there but it did help a lot. After a while though, I stopped making progress and my parents unenrolled me. I recall some days being handed a math problem and I would just stare at it without a thought in my head.

There was no way that I was going to be able to do the required geometry course in 10th grade so I started an online program. I barely got through this to be honest. Fortunately, I ended up doing just well enough to pass.

At least I graduated from high school on time!


In the summer following my high school graduation, I took a remedial algebra course at the community college. I hated it but I did pass.  At that point in time I really wanted to be a nurse so I knew I needed to get better at math.

The math professor told me that I would be fine to take a chemistry course so that is what I did. Needless to say, it did not go fine! I ended up dropping out after the first week.

I realized that being a nurse would not happen so I decided on a major that did not require so much math and science. This major was Communication Disorders and was supposed to lead to a career in speech pathology.

In another post (College Experience) I talked about all the majors I have thought about so I will not go into all that again. Suffice it to say, nothing has really worked out for me in terms of college majors and careers.

These days

Even though I feel really dumb I try not to dwell on my math difficulties too much. I do have to thank my lucky stars that I am able to do simple math  (addition, subtraction, fractions, multiplication, division, simple algebra etc) because some people with dyscalculia are unable to.

I do wish my brain worked differently but there is nothing I can do about it. There have been many times where I have thought that dyscaculia has held me back in life but maybe it really has not. Maybe I was just not meant to be one of those things that require a lot of math? As in, maybe if I was able to do more complex math I would still have not liked those careers I thought about.

Right now I am just a stay-at-home mom trying to figure out what my next income generating gig is going to be. Going back to college is not really an option so I am pretty much at a loss.

Also, I really hope that my son does not end up with dyscalculia. If he does, at least I am educated on the subject and can advocate for him.