Im awful with numbers. It took me 3 times to pass my maths GCSE. It’s quite hard to hide my difficulty with numbers publicly. For example I’m not good with money, time, reading timetables, or maths related questions. I never count my change in a shop to check if its right because I would be there for an hour slowly counting trying to work it out! Im severely dyslexic and dyscalculic (essentially the maths/number version of dyslexia, read more about it here: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexic/dyscalculia)
It also takes me longer to write things. I was forced as a a child to have joined up handwriting in primary school. I just could never write joined up no matter how hard I tried and it would slow up my writing speed because I would be thinking about joining each letter up. I used to work in class with a coloured overlay sheet (mine was purple – but different colours work for different people). I also found writing with a berol fine tip pen in school helpful. you can also get weighted and vibrating pens/pencils which are great for sensory feedback and can be useful when writing.
Top tips for anyone with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or anyone who suspects they may have either:
- Get tested if you haven’t already- I only found out I was dyslexic at uni! It took years for me to find it out. If you think you might have difficulties there are test centres you can get assessed at. My assessment was subsidised by my uni but I still had to pay a bit to have it,
- Use your report as evidence – I’ve used my report as evidence of my diagnosis and it has enabled me to get 25% extra time in exams, Disabled Students Allowance (UK) which allows students with special needs and learning difficulties to take advantage of technology such as laptops, dictations software and dictaphones, books, printers, etc in order to help them learn effectively. I love my dictaphone and am always using it for lectures!
- Learn effectively – use highlighters, mind maps, large sheets of paper and get creative! Being dyslexic I find my memory is quite poor so I use loads of different methods to revise like revision cards, posters, mind maps, bullet points and lists, etc. I also draw things next to key words and facts to make them more memorable – associating a drawing with a fact can make it easier to recall in your head as its more visual.
- Don’t be afraid – I hate telling people I have trouble counting and writing as its a basic skill but most people are understanding. I have a close group of friends at uni and two of them are dyslexic too so I don’t feel alone. Dyslexia is recognised worldwide unlike SPD which means theres more awareness and understanding of it, especially in workplaces.
- Don’t let it stop you – I always use my phone calculator in restaurants or when having to split costs between me and my friends. Im determined to not let my difficulties get the better of me. My friends are all great and know to ask me if I’m okay if I’m struggling.