For Dyslexia awareness week I wanted to share this piece about Dyslexia and Dyscalculia, to encourage people who have either condition, for their parents, partners and friends who need to know more. Differently-abled can be a fantastic thing!
I am a Dyslexic blogger, author and creativity coach, but this blog is all about Pascal, a retired university lecturer.
“Although I knew about Dyslexia I hadn’t heard of Dyscalculia until I was teaching at a university. Each term students’ work had to be double marked by two tutors, and this was followed by meetings where we discussed the marks we had allocated. Not only could I could never remember how to work out the percentages of the marks, but then later I couldn't remember if it was agreed that the marks were to go up or down, so I was always having to double check with my colleagues.
The tutor that I double marked with also assessed students for Dyscalculia as part of his work, and eventually he took me to one side, to say that in his opinion he was quite sure I had Dyscalculia. Naturally as soon as I got home I jumped on the computer and did some research, and was astonished to find out that I experienced most of the symptoms! How had I managed to get to sixty five without
Unfortunately, although I wanted to be tested to make sure that I had the condition, which the University were prepared to pay for, but if the diagnosis was confirmed I would no longer be allowed to teach, as it would hinder my ability to mark work. Although I would be offered an alternative post that did not involve teaching. I decided it was probably better not to have the test and be formally diagnosed.
The being late part of my Dyscalculia has affected my relationships with friends, family and colleagues - it has been hard for people to accept how difficult I found being on time. It has also made it hard in later life to have the confidence to make choices which involve commitments and deadlines as they are a nightmare when you have no idea how long it’s going to take you to do something.
It has been discovered that Dyscalculia is due to the malfunction of one gene, and from an educational point of view is now legally classed as a disability and listed as a learning disorder. But I was brought up in an era where you just had to get on with it regardless of how difficult you found things, and I would never have recognised that I have a learning disorder nor would I have classed myself as disabled and having special educational needs! So, it has been quite a shock to discover just how much Dyscalculia has affected my life when I’ve stopped to think about it. I always recognised my difficulties with understanding Maths and remembering numbers but hadn’t realised that is affected things like always being late and not being able to learn tap dancing!