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CJO86
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the PhysOrg forums and I figured I would begin my time here with seeking advice on something that has bothered me for the majority of my life. I am unsure if this is the correct section of the forum to post this topic, since this is not necessarily "news," but I have scanned through others and it seems that it is a general discussion place for health issues.

My problem is this:

I have problems with mathematics that exceed typical explanations as given by, say, theories of the lateralization of brain functions. I have difficulty remembering simple number patterns; thus, at twenty-one years old, I have still not managed to memorize the multiplication tables. As may be evident, my language skills are fine. I have no problems with reading and writing. I do not have dyslexia. But when it comes to understanding mathematical principles, it feels like the gears in my brain cease working, and everything crashes together in a frustrating fit of confusion.

One possible explanation is dyscalculia. It has often been referred to as the numerical equivalent of dyslexia. People with dyscalculia, and this is most noticeable in children, have trouble memorizing number facts, reading an analog clock, doing longer mathematical problems (such as simple long division), and so on. But some have a tendency to work well with "higher" mathematics, such as algebra, calculus, et cetera, supposedly because brains that have dyscalculia organize the otherwise troubling equations as symbols, and are thus able to operate around them that way. This is the same with me. I enjoy calculus, actually. I have to invent for myself a lot of mnemonic devices when working with it (and this can be difficult), but simply learning about its functions excites me. I enjoy physics immensely. With the appropriate time spent on all of the variables presented, I understand physical laws easily, and their subsequent progressions.

If, indeed, dyscalculia is what I have, then obvious problems present themselves for a youngster such as myself. I failed the 6th grade three times because of this hurdle (my school did not believe in "special education," opportunities that are available elsewhere in the country), and I was only passed to 7th because of regulatory necessity. By this time I was so embarrassed with myself for being so much older than everyone in my classes my grades sank even lower. By the 9th grade, at age 14, I had dropped out.

I didn't care much about my education until I was nineteen, and had the support of my uncle to encourage me to try and overcome my difficulties with math. At this time I was in interested in military service, and to my dismay, I found out that the United States Navy does not accept high school dropouts, and only accepts GED graduates on a limited basis, so the General Equivalency Development certificate is what I went after. A high school diploma is almost entirely unattainable for me; I dropped out of high school with less than a total of 3 credits to my name. It would have taken me approximately six years to graduate on the credit-earning level offered by most adult education programs.

I obtained my GED. I actually scored within the top 5% of GED graduates in the state with a score of 3088 (4050 being the highest score possible). That was encouraging. By this time naval service did not interest me at all, or any military service for that matter, and I wanted to go to college. But another hurdle arose: the only subjects I was interested in studying, and am interested in, (computer science, physics, engineering) are all heavily math-based. And my problems with mathematics persist.

So I am seeking advice. Has anyone else had abnormal problems with mathematics? And if so, how have they overcome them (if they have at all)? Is it a matter of brain chemistry (i.e., I'm just programmed to fail horribly at number operations - "maybe I should try journalism," being a common recommendation) or is the brain a muscle that I should work overhard on exercising? I would appreciate anyone's knowledgeable opinions on the matter, or those based around experience.

In closing, I should mention that I take my vitamins (men's daily multiple, loaded with everything necessary) along with a fairly good diet. It's not perfect, but it's not bad, either. It is balanced, more nutritious than harmful, and not excessive. I have also tried a new product from Bayer in their "Nutritional Science" series, called Sharp & Vital mind, "natural" substances intended to boost the brain's performance, but I cannot notice a significant change in my memory, or my working ability with mathematics. It also set me back by $17.00 for a bottle of 30 tablets, a rip-off, in my opinion.

Thanks anyone who might be able to offer their assistance. I do apologize, also, for the length of the topic. Didn't intend it to be that lengthy.
Guest_Marley
I'm new to this forum, so I don't know if there have been responses to this post that I'm not seeing because it works differently than other forums(?)

If I'm the first to reply, then I'm sorry, but I don't have any answers for this. However, I found this post from starting my own inquiry into what specific neurotransmitters and other brain dynamics are at work when doing math in particular. This has become an interest for me this fall term when I found myself getting locked up mentally and going into a bit of a panic during math tests when I felt the pressure of time running out. Getting locked up only seemed to escalate the problem, so I figure that cortisol has something to do with this, but I'm curious about the exact mechanics of that, if there are any other dynamics at play, and ultimately, what I can do to immediately reverse the effects and essentially get my cognitive abilities back, as well as how to keep myself from being affected by pressure and start shutting down to begin with.

So if anyone has any ideas about this I can look into, I'd really appreciate it.
brucep
QUOTE (Guest_Marley+Dec 18 2012, 11:22 AM)
I'm new to this forum, so I don't know if there have been responses to this post that I'm not seeing because it works differently than other forums(?)

If I'm the first to reply, then I'm sorry, but I don't have any answers for this. However, I found this post from starting my own inquiry into what specific neurotransmitters and other brain dynamics are at work when doing math in particular. This has become an interest for me this fall term when I found myself getting locked up mentally and going into a bit of a panic during math tests when I felt the pressure of time running out. Getting locked up only seemed to escalate the problem, so I figure that cortisol has something to do with this, but I'm curious about the exact mechanics of that, if there are any other dynamics at play, and ultimately, what I can do to immediately reverse the effects and essentially get my cognitive abilities back, as well as how to keep myself from being affected by pressure and start shutting down to begin with.

So if anyone has any ideas about this I can look into, I'd really appreciate it.

This is probably trivial but I do better if I'm relaxed and have confidence in my 'foundation of knowledge' preceding the challenge. Easier said than done.
Robittybob1
All I can add is that over the last 10 years since 9/11 there have been times when working on a specific maths issue my brain came to the very limit of my ability to comprehend what I was doing and there were no more ideas forthcoming.

I had to leave the "problem" alone for a period, but with time my understanding returned and I was able to progress. In the end (to date) I never solved the problem.
Mekigal
QUOTE (brucep+Dec 18 2012, 07:58 PM)
This is probably trivial but I do better if I'm relaxed and have confidence in my 'foundation of knowledge' preceding the challenge. Easier said than done.

that is not trivial and the relaxed state is key . Concentration also . Distractions when absorbing new material plays a roll . If you got music playing in the back drop or the T,V, is blasting you are not going to retain near as well if you have full focus on your achievement .
I am a self learner . A lot of my family has been ( no joke please . I know what i know if you know what i mean ) To be out a head of a subject matter . One thing about repetition is it frees the mind to see complexity . So the roots of the subject or the basics are very important to know with out thinking about them .
Like the beat in music . After you play the song to a point the beat is automatic you become free to explore counter melodies and rhythm enhancements . Thus the complexity of the root sound emerges . If you don't own the beat of the song then it has more of a tendency to sound more like disorganized noise ( although I like the sound of shovels scraping concrete my self , but thats just me )

So get out a head of the subject matter and it will seem more familiar as you buckle down , double down your efforts to take ownership of the subject

Last but not least ( Your teacher is your friend < Stop bucking the system . See what they have to give you and then if it is dog dung discard accordingly . After not while

Target compulsion . Yeah O.C.D. It is a tool . I know it drives the others crazy , but it is your life to achieve . They are struggling trying to make value of them selves so screw them and get on with your achievements . Go O.C.D. Live sleep eat poop pee the subject .
Who was the basket ball player who sleep with his basket ball when he was young < Bird , was his name Bird , Something Bird I think
Mekigal
the thread starter hit on something to my own bias . The school systems not making allowance for gifted children . The horror of that guy killing . I think he was molested at a young age . He has the signs of molestation . His fear of social contact speaks to that . The big sweep under the rug that men are fine young citizens even if they are molested by an older woman when they are children . That may never come out in the analysis of why he went over the edge and his molester will go on being the big secret of who ever did it to the social misfit.
I say he he was molested by < Possibly his Mother or a Teacher at a very early age and his trauma is what made him aware and disconnected from society
Guest
QUOTE (Mekigal+Dec 19 2012, 04:34 PM)
that is not trivial and the relaxed state is key . Concentration also . Distractions when absorbing new material plays a roll . If you got music playing in the back drop or the T,V, is blasting you are not going to retain near as well if you have full focus on your achievement .
I am a self learner . A lot of my family has been ( no joke please . I know what i know if you know what i mean ) To be out a head of a subject matter . One thing about repetition is it frees the mind to see complexity . So the roots of the subject or the basics are very important to know with out thinking about them .
Like the beat in music . After you play the song to a point the beat is automatic you become free to explore counter melodies and rhythm enhancements . Thus the complexity of the root sound emerges . If you don't own the beat of the song then it has more of a tendency to sound more like disorganized noise ( although I like the sound of shovels scraping concrete my self , but thats just me )

So get out a head of the subject matter and it will seem more familiar as you buckle down , double down your efforts to take ownership of the subject

Last but not least ( Your teacher is your friend < Stop bucking the system . See what they have to give you and then if it is dog dung discard accordingly . After not while

Target compulsion . Yeah O.C.D. It is a tool . I know it drives the others crazy , but it is your life to achieve . They are struggling trying to make value of them selves so screw them and get on with your achievements . Go O.C.D. Live sleep eat poop pee the subject .
Who was the basket ball player who sleep with his basket ball when he was young < Bird , was his name Bird , Something Bird I think

Good comments. Knowing how to study is important.
brucep
QUOTE (Guest+Dec 19 2012, 10:08 PM)
Good comments. Knowing how to study is important.

Guest was brucep. I forgot to log on.
Mekigal
I'm always logged on . Is it because I never logged out and is there a detriment to being logged on all the time ?. Got no idea what my pass word would be ? Is there a pass word ? Who knows ? I don't , Never logged off . Some sites automatically log you off after a long absence i noticed , but it don't seem to be the case here .
It is a little strange how guess can post . I do like that cause anonymous people tend to speak there mind more freely. That is good insight into humanity when people speak freely.

Do you ever get that tired feeling when the instructor is droning with his voice ? Like hypnosis almost and you can't focus and your eye lids are so heavy you don't know if you are sleeping or awake . The subject is as dry as a popcorn fart.
It is common in church . When I was young I would and my head bob . I seen our representatives in congress do it also , or lay your head on your hands propped up by your elbows resting on your thighs < out cold

I had a history teacher one time like that and I got the best sleep ever in his class . Funny cause this girl thought I had it in the bag because of my historical knowledge of American history due to my families genealogy work . That is what it was was American History class . She cheated and copied off me for the final exam and after class she said < I should do pretty good because I copied your answers . I said << You did what ? Bad move little girl , I will be lucky to get a D because I slept though the whole course and I did :: I got a D and probably should have flunked , but didn't cause he was an easy teacher .

So showmanship is a teachers tool to transfer information . A teachers droning Voice will inhibit your ability to learn also , so it would in my opinion be a good thing for Teachers to take a drama course so they can learn to put the enthusiasm in the subject by inflections / variations of there voice.

Natural ability due to your home life can play a roll also . If your mommy and daddy are piss poor mathematicians it will give you disadvantage compared to someone growing up with an engineer or other math related field .
That is not always the case though . You take George Harrison ( The Beatles) All peace love and rock an roll . His sons request was military school . Drove his dad mad and that was his intent < To drive his Dad mad
My Mother was a teacher and reading was her main thing . No help there with my dyslexia on that one , but she is still proud of me because of my never give up attitude about it and i believe one day i will own language as it is my life's struggle to overcome . That is one reason I post on sites like this < first I consider people like you all as closest to peers as I can get < second is you all are scrutineers and it is hard to change with out critical challengers( I thank you all for that , You too White Lotus , Kiss) and it is fun practice. That is what I do <practice candidness shoot from the hip language for any ones eyes . The training is great and conversation flow in real world has become much easier from it .

One thing to consider is you can get it here first ( or sites like sciforum ) Before media blitz science sites tend to reveal some information before mainstream gets there whiff . That right there leaves impressions of being on top of your game in physical world . Almost like you see the future in the eyes of bi-standards.

I thank you all , I love you guys and I mean that . You may not think of me as your friend , but I do think of you as my friends . I mean that and that is no joke
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