Dealing with learning disabilities in Math

All my life I have struggled with math; to the point where I find myself enraged every time I have to look at a math problem; I used to throw my math book on the ground because I got so frustrated; 25 years later; in college I find myself doing the same exact thing. Throwing a fit like a kid because I just don’t fuckin get it. I don’t know what the exact diagnosis is but I have a learning disability in math and it used to make me feel so stupid. I will never forget when I was about 9 years old; they moved me from my special education class to a regular classroom; I had no idea what so called “normal kids” were like. Anyways this teacher made me go up to board and solve a math problem in front of all the students; I can still remember turning red and hearing them laugh when I couldn’t figure it out and the more they laughed; the angrier I became at them but also at myself. I was angry at this teacher for putting a child with disabilities on display; knowing I struggled with it. In fact I hope things in school have changed since the early 90’s.  I felt so stupid because the other kids understood math with ease and I would look at a problem a million times and I still couldn’t figure it out. Due to the bullying they moved me back to the special ed class ( at least for Math) and I was given easy math assignments I could understand and got plenty of one on one help. By the time I hit high school I was still getting help for my learning disabilities and by that point; I don’t remember any math courses; then again it was a chaotic time in my life. I just remember now having to deal with math from 7th grade on; I figured I was free and never needed it again; I couldn’t have imagined at that time going to college in the future.  I got kicked out of high school and ended up in a bunch of alternative schools and their only requirement was that I showed up; not a lot of expectations. I look back and I feel cheated but I was a troubled kid and I needed to be there.

So fast forward to 2018 and I am so close to my degree. I have all of my classes passed; all the internships done; a good grade point average and I have taken 1 developmental math course (  passed by the skin of my teeth)  Now I am in the second class and it has to with prime numbers and simplifying fractions. mixed numbers etc; probably basis shit to most people, but for someone with maybe 6th grade knowledge of math ( and that is stretching it) it is all complex.  I don’t know how to divide or multiply without a calculator and the class requires that I not use a calculator for the first two weeks ( I had a assumed i could use the calculator from the start)  A lot of the coursework is done online ( thank god) but the tests are done in the computer lab ( which does not help my anxiety)  Yesterday was ok; I took notes of all the basis concepts and was able to finish some assignments; i felt confident.  Today I worked all day ( I am in retail and cannot take weekends off) so I was already tired. I came home again and started on my math work; took notes and tried to limit distractions.  When it came to taking the practice tests; I drew a blank and had to google the answers just to finish the assignment; it doesn’t help because I still don’t understand the concepts and I again feel like that 9 year old kid; I feel stupid, frustrated and incapable of learning this math.

I asked my family for help and said because of my temper they refused to help ( which is understandable) but that just frustrates me further; I feel helpless sometimes. I just say to myself I can write a 10 paper in a few days and get and A, but I can’t solve a simple 7th grade math problem; it hurts.  It’s the weekend; I am working; I can’t go to the school so I am sitting here; trying to calm myself down and take it a day at a time ( or in my case; a fraction at a time). I am going to get the right documentations and ask for accommodations because I need help. I NEED HELP!! There is also free tutoring and I am going to take advantage of that too.  I know I can do this with the right help and resources; I am not stupid; in fact I consider myself quite bright; I just have a disability and it isn’t my fault. And I’m not 9 years old and no one is laughing ( as far as i know)  I hope someone out there understands where I am coming from. The lesson of all of this is never be afraid to admit you have a problem and don’t be afraid to ask for help and never ever think or allow someone to make you feel like you are stupid due to a disability. You are not stupid; you just have a different way of learning things and need to find a way to adapt. With that ,I am emotionally drained and I am spending the rest of the night watching movies and leaving the math until tomorrow.

Good night




24 thoughts on “Dealing with learning disabilities in Math

  1. I hate maths and although I have never been put in an embarrassing situation as you had, I still hate maths.
    I can add and take away, but fractions, divide and everything else is where I find it challenging, or dam right impossible.
    And backbone to the algerbra. Who the hell came up with that one? I used to think to myself in class as a teen that I am not going to be a scientist, where else does it help with life, so why do I have to do it?

    In junior school, the same people including myself were always the ones left behind inside school, while everyone was playing outside. It felt like we were punished. No teacher about while this happened. You couldn’t go out until finished. I imagine the ones left behind when I managed to get done before school break finished, ended up missing theirs. This was so wrong that we were mostly in there on our own, with no teacher.
    I know mum raised a few things she was not happy about, in the way they teached. I don’t know if this was another she might have complained about too.

    I have done maths as an adult and although I got there in the end, because of the right support, as well as understanding how to to divide without a calculator, because I have not needed it since, I don’t know how to do it.
    I have some maths and maybe if I sat down and read how to do it, it may come back to me. But this area will always be the difficult part of my life and what makes me feel the thick and slow me down.

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      1. Yes, definitely terrible in the past unfortunately. A lot of things better than they were now, so I hear, but whether there is still issues remains another thing. I think people have to sometimes fight for what they require to help them at school though.

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  2. I feel your pain. I work in an elementary school setting and when I sometimes see the math they have to do, I am so damn confused. I have a 4-year college degree and probably the capability of a 5th grader. That’s a stretch. I have an English degree. Reading/writing/literature (basically useless without a masters or a hell of a drive and commitment to greatness, which I am LACKING). I probably couldn’t divide Or multiply extensively without a calculator. Like, big numbers. I’ve always been terrible in math and have not made myself work and put in more effort. That’s a detriment to me. Best of luck, I enjoy your blog!

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  3. Math has never been my strong card. I’ve got a block. Calculators saved me in accounting school, but algebra was also needed and my anxiety and a few others anxiety caused the instructor to allow the formula to be open book. I’m good with accounting but could never be a CPA. There’s no escaping calculus. Feeling for you and you are almost to the finish line. Sending positive thoughts.

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  4. My daughter has a mental block when it comes to math. I’ve never understood why we need to know all that unless we are going into a mathematical field. She loves photography!

    She is required to take a math test before enrolling into community college, and she dreads it, but like you, she is determined to not let that stop her. You will find the guidance you need.

    I’m in my 50’s, and cannot think of one day in my life I used Algebra. 🙂

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  5. I am going through this right now, I’m so close to finishing school and math is so hard for me.. I remember being in the 4th grade and having to do those full page multiplication problems under 10 mins. I am in college now getting ready to get an assessment done because I was never diagnosed. I have A’s and B’s in all my other courses. and Math I just can’t seem to pass it, I’ve withdrawn twice already this is my third time trying out math once again, it’s a pass and no pass class. Ending this comment now, just want to wish you good luck and know you can pass your math class! let’s not give up anything is possible! 🙂

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