Dyscalculia in the Workplace

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If your dyscalculia was undiagnosed until adulthood or perhaps you’re still undiagnosed, it is possible that you have gravitated towards a career that doesn’t involve maths. But no matter how often you need to do equations or handle numbers on a daily basis, simple accommodations can help you to perform your job to the best of your ability.


Some ideas include:

 

Getting a phone with a virtual assistant

This is a new one for us with learning difficulties and it possibly could make our lives so much better. If you are struggling to write something down before you forget it just tell your virtual assistant to write it down. And even better, you can ask it to do equations such as adding or even converting between units of measurements.

 

Getting a calculator

If you struggle to add, subtract, or multiply in your head, ask if you can keep a calculator at your desk to help save time. If your job requires more complex calculations, request a scientific calculator.

 

Using a notepad

If you don’t have access to a virtual assistant, you can always use a trusty pocket sized notepad during meetings so you can work out math problems as they come up.

 

Putting up tables and charts

If multiplication is necessary for your job, put a multiplication table near your work area. If your job requires conversions of measures, have a table with common conversion formulas in your workspace.

 

Using jigs and pre-measurement guides.

Some work requires the use of machinery and equipment. In these cases, request that tools with pre-measured guides or build your own custom-made jigs to be used to again and again for those repetitive tasks to ensure fewer mistakes.

 

Using Calendars, Reminders, Alarms & Timers.

Dyscalculia can make it difficult to plan your day or know when to move on to the next task. Time management tools, like smartphone calendars, reminders, alarms and timers can help you keep track of time whilst you are working.

 

Maths is everywhere in our day-to-day lives and working with dyscalculia is never easy. But with the right accommodations — and a little understanding from parents, teachers, and employers — children and adults alike can build confidence in maths and find the areas in which they thrive.

11 thoughts on “Dyscalculia in the Workplace

  • May 27, 2019 at 5:09 pm
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    I routinely use a calculator on my phone whenever I’m at work on the till. It helps me give the correct amount of change needed to the customer.
    Also I love your blog. It is interesting and useful to read. It’s true numbers are everywhere like words. My partner is dyslexic so he struggles with reading and spelling at work.

    Reply
    • May 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm
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      That’s great Thara! Everyone should except that its ok to use a calculator at work 🙂 Thank you for your comment we try our best!

      Reply
  • May 29, 2019 at 9:07 pm
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    Is it true that Spina Bifida causes dyscalculia? The reason I ask is because my son has Spina Bifida and we are noticing that he has difficulty with numbers.

    Reply
    • May 30, 2019 at 8:08 am
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      Hi Thara, I have read a few studies that point towards Spina Bifida being associated with math difficulties and Dyscalculia. The most in-depth study I found was MATHEMATICAL DEVELOPMENT IN SPINA BIFIDA, I hope you find this useful 🙂

      Reply
  • May 30, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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    It was definitely useful to read.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 1:07 am
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    I am a 57 year old woman that was recently diagnosed with dyscalculia. I have been at a job for three weeks and my brain just shut down. I couldn’t even function! I broke down crying in my office. The amount of emails and spreadsheets with numbers froze my brain. I have been a very successful manager for 15 years. and always new I was slow and math was not my favorite thing and I never really needed it. I have excellent reviews from my previous bosses. I moved to be closer to my daughter and took a new job. They never once told me I would be buried in paperwork, spreadsheets and numbers! The property management I was used to doing was customer service based, boots to the ground and hands on. After my break down I went to see a Doctor and was tested and diagnosed and I am extreme on the spectrum of Dyscalculia. I’m embarrassed and don’t want this! I have no choice but to stay at the job. I need the income and it’s an amazing paying job. I want to stay and do well at my job and do whatever it takes to be successful. Can they fire me? How do I get past the humiliation? My boss is making me feel ignorant! Im working 15 hours a day and on Sundays with no pay just so I can keep up with the spread sheets and paperwork. I don’t know what to do. I can’t quit but the humiliation I feel is unbearable. Im working with my doctor to help me with a long term career plan. But now that I know I have this disability it will probably make it harder to get a job and even worse have fair pay.

    Reply
    • September 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for reaching out to us, I understand how difficult of a time you are having currently.

      Your workplace have no grounds to fire you especially as it was not clear that this amount of paperwork was part of the job and you also did not know you had dyscalculia. Workplaces should make accommodations for you so that you feel more comfortable at work – more info here http://www.ldonline.org/article/9942/

      Also here are some tips that hopefully help you a little at work – https://dyscalculia-blog.com/2018/11/11/dyscalculia-in-the-workplace/

      You can find others that have gone through the same situation people that care and can help you in our Dyscalculia Support Group on Facebook (click here). They are people like you who have struggled with maths all their lives and can offer practical advice and support, some of them are now professionals that work with maths and dyscalculia, so even more help!

      Reply
  • September 18, 2020 at 1:39 pm
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    Hell James and thank you for the words of encouragement. I spoke to my boss and everything turned around! They really want me to stay at my job and they said they would help me. I don’t even know what I need to do to be successful but I do I can only take one step at a time and start with knowing that I am in very good company with this disability. Thank you again for the websites and some direction.

    Reply
    • September 21, 2020 at 5:45 pm
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      Hi Michelle, that’s amazing news! I’m so happy for you 🙂

      Reply
  • October 16, 2020 at 11:36 am
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    How do you cope when numbers come up? I have a hike planned for this afternoon and I have to use a map.

    Reply
    • October 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm
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      I have managed to get to a point where I keep calm and know that I will have to look at the numbers again and again and triple check any maths I have to do. I know it will take me longer so I allow myself time, this plus the use of my phone that I often use the smart assistant to do some simple calculation. It’s not easy to keep a level head and not get stressed out when I don’t manage I will ask who i’m with for support. 🙂

      Reply

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