How kids with dyscalculia may struggle socially

Dyscalculia makes life difficult.  Having dyscalculia usually makes math class a humiliating experience, it also makes some common everyday skills difficult as well. Knowing left from right, reading a clock, using standard instruments of measurement such as a ruler or measuring cup, courting money and making change are a few examples.   But perhaps the most painful problem dyscalculia gives us is the social challenges it creates.   We can always find a way to avoid numbers, in fact we spend most of our time NOT working with numbers. Math class only lasts about an hour a day.  But we are always social. We can never avoid being social no matter where we go or what we do.  Therefore social struggles that are a result of struggling with numbers are far more troubling than the actual struggle with numbers itself.  The social challenges that children dyscalculia often deal are that they tend to get picked on by their peers and often times have low self esteem.

Getting made fun of by their peers.

Children with invisible disabilities like dyscalculia are always more likely to be teased by their classmates for the everyday skills they find difficult.  Kids usually don’t understand why someone who seems so normal has trouble doing simple things such as telling the time or knowing left from right, as a result they end up being judgemental of their classmates with dyscalculia.  There are plenty of situations where a child with dyscalculia can become a target for teasing.  There are lots of games and playground activities that use math skills and strategies.  Kids with dyscalculia will likely find these games and activities difficult, making them vulnerable to being teased by their peers.

Being teased by their peers can leave a child feeling isolated , lonely, and questioning her value as a person. Research has shown that children teased by their peers are at a higher risk of developing psychological disorders as adults such as depression and anxiety.  Research also shows that they are also more likely to smoke, drop out of college, to be socially isolated, and to have lower levels cognitive activity at age 50.

Low self esteem

Our self esteem is built when “good things happening to us”.   Scoring 50 points in a basketball game builds your self esteem, getting an A+ on your math test also builds your self esteem as does being voted captain of your hockey team, even answering a question correctly in front of the whole class builds self esteem.  Our self esteem gets damaged (or lowered) when  “bad things happen to us”.  Being the only member of your basketball team not to score a basket all season lowers your self esteem, failing a math test lowers your self esteem, being put down by your teacher or parents lowers your self esteem, even answering a question incorrectly in front of the whole class lowers self esteem.

Having dyscalculia often times lowers self esteem because it contributes to bad things happening to us, repeated failure in math class, difficulty learning to drive, being teased by classmates are some examples of bad things that can happen to children with dyscalculia.

Everyone has their own burdens to bear.  But some peoples burdens are heavier than others.  People who have dyscalculia have the burden of  having an invisible disability.  Having a disability makes some everyday skills difficult and the likelihood of experiencing failure high.  Having an invisible disability makes it likely that others will judge you and make fun of you.  All of this makes it likely for those who have an invisible disability to suffer with low self esteem.  This is a heavy burden to bear.

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