I was just too stupid

by Tori

For as long as I can remember, I've excelled with words. Reading, writing, the ability to make up stories came naturally to me. I was in honors english classes, and the number one student in my reading class. But for an equally long time, I failed at math.

The thought of playing "around the world" in third grade always made me sick to my stomach. Timed math tests were worse. Whenever I'd use a calculator, I'd have to clear and re-type my equation multiple times because I just could not seem to hit the right numbers. Even reading analog clocks was a challenge!
I did everything that I could think of to avoid math. I didn't understand the scoring in games during gym class, and the constant changing of direction left me confused. I didn't do good on my PSSA tests, even though I stayed after school two times a week to get tutoring.
My mom always told me that when I got older math would get easier. I hoped it would, but I noticed how my math skills--especially my money management skills--stayed the same, or even got worse. Once when we were having a yard sale, my mom had to run to use the restroom. She asked me to check out the people who were buying some stuff. When I read the price tags, I added them incorrectly. The guy had to correct me. Then I gave him the wrong amount of change back. He had to correct me again. I was so humiliated, that after they left, I had to go in the house and cry.
I was in the highest english class but the lowest math class, and my skills were even worse then the kids' who goofed off the whole year and never did their homework. I felt like I was just too stupid to understand numbers.
But then I noticed connections between my brother's math skills and my own--including our lack of oxygen at birth. It was just too cliche. I began researching and was surprised by what I found. I'd always joked about having "math dyslexia"; I'd never thought it actually existed. Now that I know about dyscalculia, I not only feel better, but I've also learned to see it as a unique difference rather than a disability.

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