Dyslexia Manifestations

When someone is told they have a learning disability, it doesn’t really help if you also tell them dyslexics usually earn 15 pts more than average on the IQ test. Who cares if I’m “smart” if I can’t get a good grade in school?  I always felt that in class exams came straight from the devil.  My classmates felt this way too. Ergo, it never occurred to me that I might have strong internal reason that most for disliking the timed, stressful exams.   How many years of standardize testing does a dyslexic have to survive before they get to higher level mathematics? Based on my experience in the ivory tower, a student needs to pass their entire calculus series and survive number theory before things get better.  In fact, I would recommend that dyslexic mathematicians avoid combinatorics and algebra.

As it turns out, I can copy a page of a logarithm book, but I can not write and speak at the same time.  I will write 24 and say 42.  Sometimes I’ll say things that have nothing to do with what is on the board.  My colleagues have learned to work around this problem by… not listening to anything I say.  The stuff I write on the board is usually correct.  The stuff that comes out of my mouth is totally wrong. Bless these people who are capable of working with me. Without them I would not have survived graduate school as well as I have. For me, the biggest manifestation of dyslexia in my life is that I can’t trust my mouth. I think if the test my father gave me in high school was to accurate read aloud a page from a logarithm book, then I would have certainly failed. But luckily, mathematics is not a spectator sport.

Additionally, my dyslexia means I’m much happier reading mathematics upside down than sideways.  Please, don’t turn the page sideways like you are trying to help me read it and understand it.  Your kindness is only making things worse! Be rude! When a colleague and I are working across the table we keep the page pointed toward him. I’m sure it looks really rude to an observer. But seriously, it’s much better for me. Try it.  What’s easier for you to read?


About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of socialmathematics.net.
This entry was posted in Communicating Math, Learning and Teaching Math. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dyslexia Manifestations

  1. An dyslexic almost mathematician... says:

    Obviously the easiest one the read is the one in the center where everything is as it is supposed to be.

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