Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Learning Disability?!

This week's Mama Kat's writing assignment that I chose is 1.) In what way were you labeled as a child and how did it affect you?

There's no denying it, I am terrible at math. I always have been and I'm sure that I always will be.

There was a time when my parents and teachers didn't understand why I was so awful with numbers. They simply refused to admit that I just wasn't going to grow up to be the next math wizard. Sadly, I was one of those kids who couldn't add or subtract without using my fingers and toes for help. Then, when multiplication was dropped in my lap, it was an even rougher battle. I remember walking around my house chanting out the 6, 7, 8, 9 times tables and it still not sticking in my head. My mom would call out, "One more lap around the house Leah until you know them by heart!" It was torture! And then we got to ugly, ugly division... forget about that! I was a lost cause indeed.

Finally in 7th grade, my teacher asked my parents if I could be tested to see what was really wrong with my skills. My teacher wanted to know what was the root of my problems. I actually overheard this conversation and it tore me a apart. My mom never knew that. I think they all thought I had some kind of a learning disability. The phrase 'learning disability' sounded awful to me and for some reason, it made me think I was dumb. It also made me feel weak and less smart than all my friends. For one a girl who already wore huge glasses and in middle school, that is the worst feeling ever.

So at the time, my dad was kind of obsessed with student learning styles. For example; should you be studying in plenty of light or a dim room, studying in a cold or a hot room, seeing materials as opposed to hearing it explained. Anyway, my dad thought that I should be given all these tests too to see if I've just been studying and working in the wrong environment for my needs. Turns out, not so much. We did learn that I can't just have things told to me, I need to visually see things. I also can't have music or anything else playing in the background when I'm studying. Honestly, though, I knew all this before those tests.

After several weeks of numerous other tests, they finally concluded that basically numbers in general terrify me. Um, I could have certainly told them that without all those lame and scary tests. Ugh, I hated those things. Just knowing that they were 'tests' was enough to freak me out and not perform well on them. The tests also showed that I needed more time than most to complete math tests. I also made sure that my teacher understood that getting up in front of the class to answer math problems on the front board was absolute torture and if I could be excused from that hell from now on. Thankfully, she took mercy on me and I never had to get in front of my math class again. I was also given a little extra time to finish math tests which I was grateful for.

So, I might not have been exactly labeled with a learning disability but just the possibility that everyone thought that I might have one was enough to make me realize that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Just don't ever ask me to calculate anything for you without my trusty calculator/an hour of your time. : )


  1. That was sad they put you through all those tests just to discover what you already knew.

    Thanks for visiting our blog today.

  2. I wonder if my son is that way. He is a super smart kid, but math just isn't his thing. Poor guy! Poor you!

  3. It's rough, but at least they finally understood what the situation was.

    I'm happy for you. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. maths is not for everybody, that's for sure.

    and like you said, everybody's got their own strengths and weaknesses. it looks like you have accepted your "maths" weaknesses and you are now comfortable with your own skin. and that's all that really matters. :-)

  5. Sounds very similar to my history with math, and a few other people I know.
    I have the fear of math in me.

    This was the one thing that overwhelmed me last year in my attempts to begin nursing studies. I thought maybe I could grasp it better in my older age. I was wrong & math won again. lol

  6. Why does math always win?! : )

  7. Ugh. I went though almost exactly the same thing. Math blows!