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Learning math/physics with a learning disability.

  1. May 23, 2015 #1
    Im I the only one who wants to learn math/physics and has ADD? I feel like I am the only one with this problem.

    I have Attention deficit disorder(ADD) and obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD).The psychologist that told me I have ADD told me I am a "slow learner". I have a hard time remembering new information. Meaning if I am learning a new term or concept it takes MUCH longer for me to remember the information. I have to repeat the information to myself much more than most people. Its humiliating. How my psychologist figured out that I have ADD was by looking at my IQ scores. He told me that my scores is very uneven in all the areas (Such as memory, problem solving, visual logic, etc.) whereas most people score about the same number in all areas. When it comes to my reasoning abilities I was above average. He said my scores ranged from an average community college student to university student. But when it came to my short term memory, I scored almost borderline to borderline. I lose things all the time, I need constant reminders, and often forget important things. I knew I had a learning disability, but I had no idea I was that bad. I cried for hours.

    I have been teaching myself algebra/precalculus, and I am just fine learning on my own time. But last time I went to college I almost failed all my classes and failed precalculus part one because I am so slow. I dont want to rely on drugs. I dont know if I am even capable either way. When my boyfriend last night was trying to teach me about computers and networking (which I am very interested in.) I had a hard time keeping up. He thinks I am very smart. But how can I be so smart if I cant remember ANYTHING?! How can I be smart but be a slow learner?! It makes no sense! Im I the ONLY one who has this problem?! If I go back to school and fail again I WILL lose my financial aid. I want to go to school and have a career so badly. I am sick of being paid only a little above minimum wage (7.50/hour.). I am sick of doing work I HATE. I am so stuck.

    Do you guys have ANY advice to me? Im I the only one with this problem?!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I would check online for this kind of help. I did find one reference that you could read:


    and there may more on the web site as you read through the article.

    Are you more of a visual learner? Have you looked at mind maps? Mind maps are a way to roganize what you're learning as a 2D outline. There are some really good apps on iPads for it namely iThoughts.

  4. May 23, 2015 #3
    Though I've never been officially diagnosed (I avoid doctors at all costs), I've always had problems concentrating and retaining new information. My brain is always working overtime and it makes it difficult to sit down and study a subject. I often have to reread a sentence or equation 10 times over before it really sinks in. I almost always have to force my brain to slow down to process what is happening. There's nothing wrong with that, either. You do whatever it takes to understand the information, even if it's a slow process. Don't feel stupid because you learn differently then another and have a few things setting you back. If you give it your all, I'm confident in your ability to succeed.

    As far as college goes, there's a few options. One, ask the professor to slow down on a concept that you aren't picking up. If you have to, stay after class or ask another classmate to explain it. If you're too shy, compensate by taking great notes and reteaching the material over at home. I've found it helpful to find youtube videos of material being explained that I otherwise wouldn't have picked up in class.

    Point is, we are all different. But the mind can overcome many obstacles and achieve great things. Find a technique that works for remembering things. You can make castles with storage rooms for information in your head. Draw models, graphs, or visual outlines. Recite a concept out-loud. Make note cards. Perhaps you just haven't found what method works best. Keep looking!
  5. May 23, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

  6. May 26, 2015 #5
    Don't get discouraged. I feel like stem fields are filled with people that were groomed their whole life for it. It's easy to get over whelmed and feel impostor syndrome. But it's just a skill, same as everything else. All it requires is concentrated time and practice.

    I have ADD too and am trying to change majors right now myself. If you are failing classes and have a verified learning disability there are courses of action you can take at school. Look up disability services they can require things small as you getting lecture notes to things as helpful as taking tests separately at the learning center. You also have to be prepared to make yourself more accountable; no procrastination, if you're likely to not pick work up once you put it down, you can't put anything down till your responsibilities are done.

    Unfortunately, neither therapy or medication will fix our condition and make us normal enough to act like everyone else. We just have to more mindful, swallow that shitty fact, and accept everything is going to be harder but that's better than working for minimum wage forever. Good luck.
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