Understanding Dysnumeracy (or Dyscalculia)
Explaining what Dysnumeracy (also known as Dyscalculia) is and its effects on the brain
There's been a lot of information about Dyslexia over the past two decades. The idea that some people have difficulty in reading and writing has pretty much been dealt with by spell checkers and other aids which (including a Scrabble Cheat) can have the average person who spells his own name wrong seeming to be University literate.
Most people don't know what Dysnumeracy/Dyscalculia is and think it's a joke of the kind one expects in the Daily Onion.
I was always bad at math. If it wasn't for corruption I'd still be in High School. Not only couldn't I 'get' the basics, but I have been given all sorts of 'helpful' texts which I have diligently studied. And by the time I reach the third chapter I have no idea what the previous two contained.
I assumed I was just 'bad' at Math until the last time I tried to write a cheque.
My bank manager called me in, and she was flanked by the senior loans officer and a few other important people.
As I raged about the validity of the cheque, (I had made it out for Twenty thousand although the bill was for something like Eighteen Thousand six hundred and thirty one Dollars, because I knew I would never get the numbers and letters to match).
Yet it bounced.
The Bank team handed me the cheque and I saw nothing wrong with it. I read, reread it, and saw nothing wrong with it.
It was pointed out to me that the date I had written was May 11, 1849.
I ceased to write cheques.
Dyscalculia (or maths disability) is a specific learning disability
involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic.
It is akin to dyslexia and includes difficulty in understanding numbers,
learning how to manipulate numbers, learning maths facts, and a
number of other related symptoms....
...cognitive psychologists as a more fundamental inability to
conceptualize numbers as abstract concepts of comparative
quantities (a deficit in "number sense"), which these researchers
consider to be a foundational skill, upon which other maths
What it usually means
Persons who are dysnumerate will have problems with;
b) reading analog clocks
c) financial planning or budgeting,
d) estimating the cost of items in a shopping cart
e) difficulty conceptualizing time and judging the passing of time.
f) differentiating between left and right
g) difficulty reading musical notation
h) unable to grasp and remember mathematical concepts, rules, formulae, and sequences
How to deal with it
People who can't use numbers resort to logic.
Dysnumerate people are almost never involved in Ponzi schemes or invest in entities like Facebook. As they can't get 'percentages' 'returns' 'yields' 'projections' and the usual gibberish, they can only think; "this doesn't make sense" and pass.
Working out problems with logic often leads to the right answer because of the concept.
For example, just about every one (except dysnumerates) can create a simple equation. Being unable to do the a over b times c divided by d they have to talk it out.
Hence in the typical; "A floor is ten feet long, a wall is five feet high, how long a plank does one need to go from the end of the floor to the rest on top of the wall?"
A dysnumerate is going to visual the wall and the floor and the plank and see that when the plank is lifted there would be space and guess that making the plank six inches longer would work.
Sure the answer probably isn't right, there has got to be all kinds of .0 somebody to mess it up, but in real life, it would work and the person who was actually building something like this would take a saw and cut off the stick out piece.
As you can see from my cheque disaster, I would tend to overwrite the sum so that the other side would owe me, and send the rebate, (they are getting paid, so can work out the numbers).
When it comes to counting money, I never make a mistake. This is because it takes me so long to do it, and I have to break it down into small piles that it is beyond question.
Calculators aren't that helpful because I could always enter 1,383,218 as 1,838,281 and never notice. So, I tell people to get Manager's cheques for the sum, which I get the clerk to write down on a piece of paper.
In this way I can never steal, misplace or misappropriate a cheque which isn't made out to me but to some agency.
Further, being painfully aware I can't do math in any form I can often translate what should be an equations into a concept which I can explain easily.