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Dyscalculia Diagnosis (as an adult): Is it worth it?

Navigating the path to obtaining a dyscalculia diagnosis as an adult can be both daunting and liberating. It’s natural to seek validation for the challenges you’ve faced, to confirm that you’re not alone in your struggles with numbers. But before embarking on this journey, it’s crucial to pause and reflect on what you hope to achieve with the diagnosis.

What Dyscalculia Might Look Like

To get a better grasp on what dyscalculia is, let’s first look at what it isn’t–it isn’t a lack of intelligence, lack of education or poor teaching methods. Dr. Steve Chinn in his book Mathematics for Dyslexics and Dyscalculics writes the definition for dyscalculia as

“a specific learning disorder that is characterized by impairments in learning basic arithmetic facts, processing numerical magnitude and performing accurate and fluent calculations. These difficulties must be quantifiably below what is expected for an individual’s chronological age, and must not be caused by poor educational or daily activities or by intellectual impairments” (p.7)

As an adult, dyscalculia can manifest in various ways, impacting daily tasks such as navigating maps and directions, struggling with time management, encountering difficulties in managing finances effectively, feeling overwhelmed by spreadsheets, and experiencing challenges in interpreting charts and graphs.

These issues can significantly hinder one’s ability to perform tasks that involve numerical reasoning–leading to frustration and a sense of inadequacy in managing mathematical concepts and practical applications in daily life.

During childhood, dyscalculia may present itself in various ways, including struggles with counting, difficulty recognizing numerical patterns, challenges in recalling math facts, and trouble telling time on an analog clock.

Should I Get Diagnosed?

Deciding whether to pursue a formal diagnosis for a suspected learning difference like dyscalculia or dyslexia is a personal choice. While an official diagnosis can provide validation and clarity, it’s essential to consider what you hope to achieve with the diagnosis. Reflecting on your goals and needs can help guide your decision-making process.

Whether it’s accessing accommodations and support services, gaining a deeper understanding of how you learn, or simply finding peace of mind, the decision to pursue a diagnosis should ultimately align with your individual circumstances and objectives.

Are you going to advocate for yourself at work?

Advocating for oneself in the workplace is an important aspect of fostering inclusivity and creating a supportive environment for individuals with neurodivergent conditions like dyscalculia or dyslexia.

Adam Grant’s exploration of the pros and cons of disclosing a diagnosis in the workplace sheds light on the complexities of this decision. While disclosing a diagnosis can lead to increased understanding and access to accommodations, it may also come with potential risks such as stigma or discrimination.

Listen to Adam Grant’s talk about the Pros and Cons of disclosing a diagnosis in the workplace HERE!

Ultimately, the decision to disclose a diagnosis at work should be made carefully, weighing the potential benefits and drawbacks in the context of one’s specific workplace culture and needs. Open communication, education, and a supportive work environment can help facilitate successful advocacy efforts and promote acceptance and inclusion for all employees.

Advocating at University

Advocating for accommodations at the university level can be a game-changer for students with dyscalculia, providing them with the necessary support to excel in their chosen fields of study.

Try visiting the Learning Center to see what accommodations your University has in place for students with similar struggles.

Whether pursuing degrees in nursing, forensics, statistics, or any other discipline, having access to accommodations can level the playing field and allow students to fully engage with their coursework.

It’s inspiring to hear about individuals with dyscalculia thriving in fields like statistics, demonstrating that with the right support and accommodations, they can overcome challenges and achieve their academic and career goals. By advocating for themselves and seeking the support they need, students with dyscalculia can unlock their full potential and pursue their passions with confidence.

The Financial Side of Things

Indeed, the cost of getting a dyscalculia diagnosis as an adult is a significant factor to consider. Dyscalculia evaluations are often not covered by insurance, meaning individuals must bear the expense out of pocket. These evaluations can be quite costly, with prices ranging upwards of $2,000 or more.

For many adults, especially those already facing financial challenges, this expense can be prohibitive and may deter them from seeking a formal diagnosis. As such, it’s essential to weigh the potential benefits of a diagnosis against the financial burden it may impose, ensuring that individuals make informed decisions about pursuing evaluation and support for dyscalculia.

Do you need to get a Dyscalculia Diagnosis?

While seeking a formal diagnosis for dyscalculia can provide clarity and access to support resources, it’s not always necessary for everyone. In recent years, self-diagnosis has become more accepted, particularly for conditions like autism and ADHD.

One approach is to utilize checklists or online resources to evaluate whether the symptoms and challenges associated with dyscalculia resonate with your experiences. By identifying common indicators and assessing how they align with your own struggles with math and numerical concepts, you can gain insights into whether pursuing a formal diagnosis is warranted for your individual circumstances.

Ultimately, the decision to seek a diagnosis should be based on your personal needs, goals, and the potential benefits of receiving formal recognition and support for dyscalculia.

The diagnosis of Dyscalculia is still in its early stages, with definitions that may be overly broad or lacking in specific subtypes. As a result, individuals may find that the label of dyscalculic resonates with their experiences, even without a formal diagnosis. If you feel that identifying as dyscalculic would be beneficial for you, don’t hesitate to embrace it as part of your identity.

If you’re seeking a supportive community of individuals who understand the challenges of dyscalculia, consider joining the movement at Made for Math and following us on Instagram. Additionally, for those looking to dive deeper into understanding Dyscalculia, Made for Math offers a comprehensive web series with over 20 episodes dedicated to exploring this learning difference.

MFM Authors

Jennie Miller

Jennie Miller

Marketing Assistant

is our Marketing Assistant and content creator here at Made for Math. Jennie loves being part of a company that is working to make mathematics accessible to children with dyscalculia.