As many people already know, NLD causes difficulties learning math. Sometimes it’s impossible. I was diagnosed late and raised by math-loving parents who assumed that because I am musically talented, I must automatically be good at all my academic subjects. What a myth. They said I had an attitude problem when I didn’t get algebra the first time around.
Before that, I struggled with arithmetic, pre-algebra, and geometry. I ended up repeating algebra three times (both due to not getting it the first time and needing to review the skills because I don’t practice math much, just as someone with reading disabilities tends not to read as much/often as someone without them). Then I took a very watered-down basic geometry class so I would be accepted to the university I worked so hard to transfer to (I wanted to attend an excellent school because I’ve spent so many years needing to prove my intelligence and having the degree on paper sometimes helps, but not as often as one could wish; plus I’m not a school-name-dropper; if I’d felt like my intelligence was credited throughout my life, I wouldn’t be so obsessed with being admitted to the best schools, but that’s another topic).
Then I took Algebra II, which went fine because it’s so tied into Algebra I, and my professor was very good at explaining things in easy-to-understand ways. Unfortunately, now my future department wants all students to take a statistics course. I’ve dropped the class twice because I don’t understand things fast enough, or at all. Many times people think not getting math is a decision, as if we choose to dislike it. This isn’t true.
When someone doesn’t understand a basic academic subject, it’s painful. We would like nothing more than to confidently write problems on the chalk board, but NLD makes this experience unlikely. My former professor was walking around looking at our notes. When he looked at mine, he stepped back, as if to say “what the heck is this.” Sigh. I tried to get good at math many times, but it’s never worked out. I hope my department will approve a course substitution.
Too often, math-disability literature doesn’t focus on the college years. This is a big problem, since nearly all colleges require students to take some math or math-related courses. I hope that talking about this helps someone else. I’ll let you know what happens with my department. There have been worse problems in life, and this one ought to be fixable. Let’s hope so. Thanks for reading about this, and if you have ideas, please comment. More later.