Parenting in Spain, Sweden & Australia

Living with Dyscalculia

Life, Random

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew there was something different about me. I wasn't special, not more special than anyone else, but my mind did not function the same way. My whole life, school was a pain. From the very first math book I received, counting was an issue. No matter how many times I tried, how many different ways I was taught, I couldn't do it. As I got older, math got more advanced and it became harder for me. I'm creative, so I've always enjoyed music, art, writing... but none of that mattered when a little girl hears from grown ups that she won't ever make it in life. Thats right, time and time again I was told by several teachers that I was a lost cause and that I wouldn't ever become anything. If you hear something like that enough times in your life, you start to believe it yourself.

It was not all bad, a lot of the time, I actually really enjoyed school. Going to see my friends every day and making new ones, but there were times when it got so bad that I simply just gave up on it. I actually never really noticed that it effected me more than just my school work until recently when I've realised that having a learning disability that for the most part of my life has been unknown, is probably part of the reason why I go through periods at the time with high anxiety and depression. I'm an extremely lucky person, having the parents that I have, because when everyone else had, they never gave up on me. Around 6th grade, I took a test where I was diagnosed with dyscalculia but that was not something I got on paper at that time, but the subject was not talked about enough for any of the teachers to do anything about it, so I continued as a regular student, feeling more stupid than ever. When students with dyslexia got special treatment, I did not get the same option. For years this effected me, not just in math but everything else because it finally came to the point where I just didn't have the energy anymore. For years I met more teachers than not where they told me that dyscalculia was not real, I was just dumb and that I needed to redo several grades. Thankfully I've however had those few teachers there who's seen my potential in subjects that I aced without a struggle that kept me going.

When I was in the ninth grade, I was in a boarding school and I was an extremely unhappy teenager at this point for several reasons. I had math class, just like everyone else several days a week and just like everyone else, I did my best. But my best was once again not good enough. I remember once that the students who 'weren't doing too good' in math had to do some extra homework. I, of course, was one of those students. I remember going home, sitting with the piece of paper in front me, trying to figure it out and even though I did not understand, I tried anyway and I finished it. I was the only one who had actually done it and handed it in. My teacher took one look at the paper and said that I had to redo it because I was not suppose to write the answers on the same page as the questions. I copied the answers and wrote them down on a piece of paper where it once again was not right. The third time I handed it in, once again, being the only one who had actually done what I was told, my teacher told me that all the answers were wrong and that I would never be anything if I didn't try. I remember that moment so well because there was something within me then that triggered. I got so angry in a way that I'd never gotten before, and I yelled at the teacher, went to my room in tears, called my parents and just wanted to give up on everything. It may seem like a little thing to get mad about. But I'd heard it so many times before and I knew that no matter what I did, I'd never get it right. I stuck out till the end of the year before I did a second dyscalculia test and I finally got the results on paper that was sent to the new school I'd decided to change to. The school I went to in the 10th grade was not a great school but my very last day there, my math teacher held me back and told me that I should never ever let anyone tell me that I am not good enough again. That was the first time I had ever heard that, and those words gave me the strength I'd needed so badly to never give up. After that did I not only change school, but country as well where I was back with teachers who had never even heard of dyscalculia but after a couple of months studying math, we all agreed that math should be dropped from my schedule. My principle that year told my mum that I was not good enough and that life was going to be to hard for me. That time however, instead of breaking down, I wanted to prove him wrong, with or without math. I held my head high and I passed high school with flying colours. Not only did I pass high school, but my grades got me into a good university. Now almost four years has passed since I graduated and I've studied creative writing, I am now studying screenwriting and I have applied to get into another university. I've recently been introduced in the business world, I blog, I'm writing a book and the most important job, I'm a mum so to everyone who ever told me that I was not good enough, I just want to say, with all due respect, IN YOUR FACE. I am still young, and I am still figuring myself out like many others, and if I ever were to become a teacher, my main goal would be to never, ever make anyone ever feel stupid again.

It was only a couple of years ago that dyscalculia was discovered and there are still teachers out there today who don't believe it is a real thing. I've always had a hard time understanding those who are fully aware of learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia but can't process that there is one related to numbers. Everyone is smart in their own way, and anyone can do anything with the right equipment. My feelings about getting the message across are so strong so that more teachers out there can educate themselves on the subject and teach students in ways that is fair for everyone. Living with dyscalculia is not shameful and most people with it have a lot of strength in other areas. If everyone becomes aware of dyscalculia, then more people can get help and education can become everyones choice! If I can do it, anyone can. Help me spread the message across for our future generations to come so that everyone can be treated fairly and no one has to be looked down on again for not having a mind that works in all areas!!



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