11 Sep

I can remember one of my greatest fears of moving through school was using a  combination lock on the locker The school recommended that students lock their belongings and the only approved lock was a combination one. . I feared not being able to figure out the code to unlock my locker. Many people assured me that I would be fine and I needed to practice. I was not surprised when I put the lock on and was unable to unlock my locker. I had to have the lock cut off by the school janitor. For my remaining years of school, I was able to store my belongings without a lock. Not carrying valuables and decorating my locker prevented me from having items stolen, yet I always feared this. 

For years I wondered why I could not perform this seemingly easy task. My peers were able to do it but I was not able to. My vision was fine and I could see the numbers and lines on the locks.  I now realize that Dyscalculia goes beyond difficulty in a math class. Certain concepts such as turning a lock in a certain direction are hard when you frequently mix up your right from your left. I also struggle with processing the directions of how to do this. Numbers are also unforgiving if you mess up one part of the process you will not be granted access to open the lock. The difficulty with managing a lock is similar to my inability to read the face of a clock. I can see the numbers, lines, and handles on the clock, but I am unable to know what time it is. 

What has helped me is using a lock with a key, not a combination. I use this type of lock on my locker at the gym. The only difficulty I face with using this type of lock is losing my keys and needing to have the lock cut off! 

I often see the same anxiety in the students that I work with in the middle school that I work at. Many of our students can master this task with ease. Other students struggle to open their lockers and look at me desperately for help. How I wish that I could do this, but I simply cannot.  I have had to gently tell them that I'm not able to perform this task and call over another person to assist

I may never be able to crack the code to the lock on my locker to understand math. Some of those tasks are things that will always give me difficulties. Other people may also not understand why I am not able to do this. I will forever have those who tell me 'But it's so easy!' when I cannot open a lock.  Others will think that I am lazy or unmotivated when I cannot do this. I'm not able to change what other people will say or think. The only thing I can do is to be able to find a solution that works for me. 

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