It might seem arbitrary to just take one subject, especially an inherently challenging one like mathematics and assume people reading this post struggle with it. I am sure many people would say they struggle with mathematics, but did you know, studies show that people with SD and CP in general, struggle a lot more on average when it comes to mathematics compared to others? For example, this Dutch study from 2011 where they tested 116 primary school children diagnosed with CP, shows a strong correlation between cognitive skills motor skills and the ability to do arithmetic. They also write that this is in line with previous studies done on this subject.[1]

Math and CP. Cerebral Palsy and math

Image courtesty of p_ponomareva @ iStockphoto.com

When I grew up I always hated math, honestly because I was horrible at it. I struggled for hours both at school and at home trying to understand what was supposedly basic math problems, and it felt like if I understood it today, I would forget it again tomorrow. Not only did I hate math, but it also affected my self esteem and self confidence, I thought there was something wrong with me, or that I was just stupid. Later on when I did some extensive cognitive testing (around 17-18) I soon learned that not only was the neuropsychologist able to confirm what I already knew, that my brains ability to process anything with numbers and logical functions like math problems was impaired. But she could also tell me that it was most likely do to my CP. This was such a huge relief to me! Yes, I was still horrible at math, but now i knew that it wasn´t because I was stupid, it was due to factors out of my control. After this I could actually start to appreciate Math a lot more, because I didnt have the same hate towards it (tied to my self confidence) than before. I got my own private math tutor in High School, and I passed the same curriculum as my classmates, I was still no star pupil, but hey, I passed.

So does this mean you should avoid mathematics at all costs in your life? I would say as long as you are comfortable with the fact that your mind will have some problem with math, and wrestling with it won´t get you down, absolutely not. Because you will get better at it, like everything else, it might just take longer than other things. I use math daily in my job as a programmer, and even though I always resort to my trusty friend the calculator, I´ve noticed some good progress on areas I thought of as hopeless before. The main thing I would say, is if you struggle with math, and you have CP or you have a kid who was CP and struggles with math is to come to terms with it, and accept it for what it is. You are not stupid, this is just the way things are, and its out of your control. Really, in the grand scheme of things, humans are skilled and less skilled at different things in life, people with CP just have scientific evidence to back up why they are not as good at some things. 🙂

As always, please comment if you have had any experience with this, and be sure to like and share this post if you found it useful. The support is much appreciated.

References

1. http://www.academia.edu/1452224/Arithmetic_performance_of_children_with_cerebral_palsy_The_influence_of_cognitive_and_motor_factors