I can’t remember a time I wasn’t terrified of maths. To most, ‘terrified’ might seem rather a dramatic description for a subject many people struggle with, but not for me.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve actively dreaded anything to do with numbers; I mean, I couldn’t tell the time confidently until I was about 15, and I had to work really hard to get there – even now, I still get a flutter of panic when someone spots my watch and asks me.
The first time I heard about Dyscalculia, all I could think was: “that’s me.” Immediately, I headed down the internet wormhole, losing a good few hours of my life to reading and research, but gaining a wealth of knowledge and insight into something I’d experienced my whole life – but could never put into words.
It was simultaneously a source of irritation and relief; had I been told about this as a child, perhaps I would have been kinder to myself for not understanding long division the twentieth time it was explained to me, and maybe there was a legitimate reason for my lifelong battle with numbers.
But mainly, I wondered how many people were left in the dark about it?
Often described as Dyslexia’s mathematical cousin, Dyscalculia is usually manifested in people who have a severe difficulty with numeracy, specifically arithmetic sums, making simple daily tasks – like calculating a tip at a restaurant, or giving correct change at the bar – both immensely difficult and potentially embarrassing.
The British Dyslexia Association highlights some of the more prevalent symptoms, such as difficulty counting backwards, having difficulty in understanding ‘basic’ mathematical facts, and using addition as their default operation, as the others are usually poorly executed.