In 2017 I wrote an article, Dyslexia a Silent Voice Within An Organisation. In the article I wrote about my struggle as an undiagnosed dyslexic and how I went about getting assessed at the later stages of my career. I discussed how challenging it must be for others and how organisations can play apart in making a safe space for dyslexics to open up about their condition. When I wrote the article, I didn’t know what affect it would have on people. Particularly to the founder of A2i Dyslexia CICs, Elizabeth Taki. I think she still reads the article regularly.
Fast forward to 2022, I now come to realise that it is likely that I have Dyscalculia. What is Dyscalculia? Dyscalculia is a condition that makes it hard to do maths and tasks that involve maths. It’s not as well known or as understood as dyslexia. But some experts believe it’s just as common. That means an estimated 5 to 10 percent of people might have dyscalculia. I have not had formal diagnosis but have take multiple online tests which confirms my suspicions. I have always known that when calculating I have to check my answers anywhere between 3 to 5 times. I also knew that I had a habit of missing numbers, or substituting numbers that I thought were there at the time. It wasn’t until last week that I realised that there was a name for what I was experiencing. I was reviewing my yearly accounts (which I hate doing) and asked my husband to double check the information for me. When he mentioned the total amount, I said he must be mistaken. I went about using my phone calculator to double check. My total did not match my husbands figure. He also calculated the figures again using the phone and it worked out that his figure was correct. There was a £3,000 pound difference and I could not see it. Painstakingly I had to go through my bank statements and look at my spreadsheet only to find out not only did I miss out on figures on the statement, I had put figures in places they shouldn’t have been. I also put in figures that were not the same as was on the statement.
When I was in sales, many years ago I managed a budget of at least £100.000, I remember checking my figures continuously to the point, if I didn’t reach the same total more than 3 times I would be very distressed. That isn’t the only time I managed budgets. I had to calculate sales margins and was for a short time an accounts administrator when I first joined the company. I really can’t tell you how I coped, but what I can tell you is, it was a very stressful time.
As humans we create coping mechanisms to survive, clearly that is what I have done for most of my live with dyslexia and dyscalculia. It doesn’t mean that it is the the best way, there are tools and organisations such Genius Within CIC and A2i Dyslexia who may be able to help you. I took the coping path because I didn’t think I was suppose to ask for support, it was something I should just manage myself. Now I know better. Being connected to people with similar background has helped me to be more aware of what is out there.
For organisations to make their workplaces more inclusive it is important to create a safe space for people to talk about their dyslexia, dyscalculia or any other conditions. I can see organisations are starting to make inroads in this area but more can still be done. Organisations have a duty of care to support all within its business. No one should feel left out.