Having a learning disability and Nursing

  1. Hello everyone

    I'd always had a hard time in general with anyone thing holding my attention. I also had something I called directional dyslexia (I mean to turn left but say right or visa versa-I had to put up the Ls with my hands to be able to differentiate haha) which with research (had the hardest time with numbers as well-scrambling them or putting them out of order, etc) I found out was called dyscalculia. I also had a lot of the other qualities. Needless to say I was, earlier this year, diagnosed with having ADD.

    This kind of freaks me out going into nursing because a lot of things from my past years in school made a lot of sense. Is there anyone else who may be having the same issues? If so, how did you get over it? Any input would be great. Thanks
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    About HopefulLPN83

    Joined: May '12; Posts: 39; Likes: 17
    from US


  3. by   nekozuki
    I have ADD and dyscalculia as well! Fear of math kept me from pursuing a higher education for many years. Honestly, I never found ADD medication effective, and I just sort of figured out ways to adapt. I sit in the back of the room so I can fidget/rock, and just invent little games to keep my mind from wandering. Sometimes I pick out a rhythm to bounce my feet to or use a piece of scratch paper to write out poems/song lyrics or draw while I listen to lecture, and sometimes I just take an unnecessary, ridiculous amount of notes to keep myself occupied. The first couple months were hard, but now that I've adjusted, it turns out the frenetic, hundred mile per hour pace of my mind is well suited to nursing school! Sometimes I daydream or drift off in my own little world, but often all it takes is a five-minute mind-vacation to get you back on track.

    As for math, the good thing is you only have dosage and calculations, no algebra, which is WONDERFUL if like me, you have problems with abstract mathematical reasoning or spatial reasoning. The first thing I did was LEARN THE FORMULAS. There are many different formulas you need to know, so what I did was memorize those, then when I got my test, the first thing I did was write them down at the top of my scratch paper. Test prep was the biggest part, though. I went online and did the same kinds of problems over and over again. In addition to the website we used that came with our textbook, I actually went on sites designed for kids and reinforced math that way too. LOTS OF REPETITION IS KEY! It was very comforting having a classmate with dyslexia, because I had someone to relate to when it came to struggling to understand what seemed to be a cakewalk for others!

    You must understand: Much of the time, math anxiety is a worse problem than the learning difficulty itself. You are not broken, and you are not disabled; your brain simply works differently, and it just takes a little more effort to find the correct answer. You do NOT always have to understand why an answer is correct, just know and trust the formulas!

    It's okay to be frustrated, too. I have an IQ of 147 and an exceptional working memory (when it comes to language only, lol, go figure numbers and abstract values are excluded), so I used to get really, REALLY upset when most things came effortlessly, yet this one damn thing was an absolute battle! Just know that people with learning disabilities get through this stuff every day, and you can do it too!
  4. by   HopefulLPN83
    Thanks so much for your response. Very much needed encouragement!
  5. by   newlvnstudent
    Hi HopefulLPN83,

    I too have dyscalculia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and some discussion of ADD. I tested in CC over 20 years ago after attempting general Algebra 5 TIMES and still not passing!! Math has always been a problem for me. I've learned to compensate, I can usually remember a phone number when TOLD to me but the same phone number shown to me written down, I'm apt to transpose the numbers. I am usually able to memorize the upcoming month when I remember a specific event happening on a specific day/date, I can then memorize the rest of the month. I developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder when it comes to test taking and even though I already have a BA and a Masters degree, I chose to go for my LVN first, instead of doing a BSN/RN as a second degree because, although I did well in A & P, I actually had panic attacks on test days in Chemistry. I've learned over the years some test taking strategies, mainly taking my tests alone and not with my class (I start to get anxious when I see fellow classmates finishing before me) and also being granted 1.5 times for tests. Since I have my GAD documented, I simply ask my doctor for a letter with above mentioned accommodations, the school is required to provide these accommodations due to the Americans With Disabilities Act (as long as it is documented). I have literally seen test scores go up by 20% when provided with these accommodations. Check out the websites below for other stories, legal matters and reassurance you are NOT alone and YOU can do this!!

    Here's a few websites to check out specifically related to nurses with disabilities: