Wednesday, January 10, 2018

ADHD Daily: Number Condunrum

So I’m terrible at math. It’s just not my cup of tea.

I was listening to ADHD ReWired with Eric Tivers, and he mentioned that he wasn’t good with math. I started to think, “Hey I’ve got ADHD and I’m not good at math either. I wonder if it’s a common issue with people who have ADHD?” So I wrote down the idea in my Bullet Journal and decided it might be worth looking into, and wouldn’t you know it, ADDitude Magazine has an article from 2010 about just this thing.

It’s called, Dyscalculia, which means there are some people, about 3 to 6 percent, that have “difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in mathematics.” Because the ADHD brain is wired differently we tend to have issues with complex tasks that require multiple processes and brain functions needed to solve math problems such as working memory, organizing thoughts, and recall, which is needed for practical math solving. I also have to wonder if that number isn't higher for people with ADHD.

Practical Math has always been super hard for me. In school, I had, and have trouble with remembering multiplication tables, doing division, or just about any of the basic math skills. Now over time I’ve figured out ways to cope, and to do basic add and subtraction. However, you’ll see me pull out my calculator app on my phone for more complex problems. It’s an issue I’ve had to deal with daily.

Now I can grasp theoretical math ok, because they are concepts not practical math. I even learned algebra fairly ok, I don’t remember any of it, but when I was in school, I understood it well enough.

So I have to wonder just how common this issue is within the ADHD community, and if it’s as common as I think it is, does that mean the DSM should be updated to include this as part of the criteria for diagnosing ADHD. Also, should it be something that teachers need to start thinking about when they teach math, and is there another way to teach an ADHD student math that accommodates for this issue.

The older I get, the more I understand how underserved people with ADHD are in school. I had my issues, however I feel that ironically, if more attention was paid to the fact I have ADHD that it could have been possible for me to have done better in school. I think the public school system uses special education as a dumping group for kids they don’t want to deal with, or kids they feel are just too much trouble to spend the time on. Special Education has its place, and it’s important for those students that need that one on one help. However, it’s been my experience that Public Schools that are already overflowing use it as a way to avoid dealing with students that could be in mainstream classes, with just a few accommodations.

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