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Medical Math and dyslexia?

  1. May 21, 2012 #1
    I have dyslexia and occasionally it makes things difficult with long strings of text or numbers and I was wondering if any one of you have dyslexia and how you cope with learning math?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2012 #2
    I don't have dyslexia, yet i know that it is close to what is called dyscalculia (dys = somewhat close to disability + calculia = calculate).
    Some dyslexic people are pretty good at math as it is a less complex system than letters forming words forming sentences with a certain grammar. math also easier because it's "sentences" are shorter and uses simple one-character symbols for certain actions (e.g. "*" for multiply ; "*" = 1 symbol/star/dot/cross/whatever-you-use-for-indicating-multiplying while "multiply" = 8 letters).
  4. Jul 24, 2012 #3


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    http://www.emcartoons.com/images/stories/web%20dyscalculia.jpg [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Jul 24, 2012 #4


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    Not fair, he has to ask him to solve an expression that doesn't commute!
  6. Jul 24, 2012 #5
    dyslexia should not have any problem with math, science or any the topics on a typical IQ test. dyscalculia is different though, there is some processing issue there.
  7. Jul 25, 2012 #6


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    Actually, a deficiency in mathematics is one of the symptoms of dyslexia...
  8. Jul 25, 2012 #7
    What exactly is dyslexia?
    according to the wiki
    "Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid naming."

    None of those should really stop you being good at maths. Maths past arithmetic that is, I could see that making arithmetic hard.
    Or am I missing something? :confused:
  9. Jul 25, 2012 #8
    My daughter is dyslexic. The teachers had her use vertically lined paper (e.g. large block graph paper) to separate each part of a number into its own column. e.g. 232567 would appear as 2|3|2|5|6|7|. That made a significant difference. She then learned to print very neatly and put a little extra space between each number to give a visual separation e.g. 2 3 2 5 6 7, in place of the vertically lined paper. She does fine as long as she makes the extra effort to be neat and avoid jamming numbers close together. Her public school had an excellent remedial program for dyslexic children, and she now reads more and faster than I do. IMO, don't pass up on available help in your school, and get an IEP (Individual Education Plan) that will allow some accommodations related to dyslexia. Dyslexia is for life, so learn from knowledgeable folks the best methods to live with it. Also, as you may know (I didn’t until her doctor told us), dyslexia comes in various levels of severity, so there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Get evaluated and get help. Best of luck.
  10. Jul 25, 2012 #9
    Yep, you are missing something. Look up the technical terms in your quote and it will be pretty obvious. Those things cause issues with reading word problems, what the eye sees verse what the brain interprets (decoding), and numbers in general.
  11. Jul 25, 2012 #10


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    I think people are forgetting that they had to learn math in the first place. A period they probably don't remember well, but a period in which this kind of fine structure visual processing is needed to learn the material.
  12. Jul 25, 2012 #11
    I think I may have just been guilty of doing this :frown:
  13. Aug 9, 2012 #12
    I'm dyslexic, or at least I was when they tested me as a kid, does it go away?

    It only affects my writing, not my reading. A really broad term as someone said!
  14. Aug 9, 2012 #13
    I flip numbers and letters around when there are long strings of them together.
  15. Aug 9, 2012 #14
    What do you mean exactly by "flip numbers around"?
  16. Aug 9, 2012 #15
    If there is a long number like the one above 232567 I sometimes would see that as 252668, or even 282667, which can make getting math questions right harder. I think that's why I've always hated math. I can figure out what words are just because I know how to spell them and if it looks funny then it likely is. I have trouble with names that are unfamiliar. My psychiatrist thought at one point I had sensory processing disorder, due to problems with my other senses as well, like pain. Don't remember if I was ever given the diagnosis or not, or even of it is only a theoretical problem or not.
  17. Aug 9, 2012 #16
    Something used to happen between me seeing things and writing them down, but it wasn't that I saw them wrong.. at least I don't think it was, they would just come out mixed up written down. It's like I'd see the word "porcupine" and I'd recognize it as porcupine easily but I'd write down


    and my teachers would shout IT'S RIGHT THERE you're being careless!

    Ah, memories.

    It was more like I saw the word as a picture and I recognized a picture, like you'll recognize an owl but that doesn't mean you can draw an owl.

    This is probably a dumb question but have you gone for an eye test? I found out that on top of everything else the front of my eyes were flat which was making things like Rs look like Bs (for example) sometimes by distorting the image.

    If maths is really important in your life try a dyslexic forum for adults. I bet they'll have some ideas about how to help you.

    I wonder if a program that automatically changes the colours of digits exists. .

    Like if you just learned that 1 was black 2 was grey 3 was brown 4 was orange 5 was red 6 was yellow 7 was green 8 was blue and 9 was purple.... then it would be easy because you could check the colours in the words matched... You could do it with colored pencils...

    Anyway that's probably a really dumb idea but my point is there are ways ways around anything, I promise!
    I mean When I was 13 I couldn't spell 4 letter words like "what" and now I teach English as a foreign language and have to spell things every day.

    [Edit: dumb anecdote: By 18 I was doing my school leaving exam and writing essays and spelling more or less okay. My English teacher would get really riled up about me spelling words like "soliloquy" wrong. I'd just have to look at her nodding and wishing I could somehow explain to her how fricking amazing it was that I could even spell "Hamlet".]
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  18. Aug 9, 2012 #17
    That's part of the reason I posted. I was looking for ways around it so I would know I was reading what I was reading.
  19. Aug 9, 2012 #18
    Another thing that could help would be text-to-speech. It reads numbers, maybe you could set it to only read numbers. That would work fine in the real world (computers) but not in exams (paper).

    And another thing is spacing, if the numbers are spaced out more 1 2 3 4 5 6 instead of 123456, does that help do you think?
  20. Aug 10, 2012 #19
    The number spacing helps a great deal.
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