‘We received an elaborate report indicating Dyscalculia.’ And thus began a mother and son’s battle against the dreaded Maths! How she battled it is amazing!
I waited in anticipation outside the staff room. It wasn’t parent teacher meeting and I had been summoned urgently, with a note in his book.
I knew what it was about. Shabby handwriting, no attention, very low scores. If only his teacher knew…
The time and efforts behind whatever he managed to get in Math. Tuitions, my struggles, scolding, beating. Oh! The agony of teaching mathematics to a child who just couldn’t get through it.
Let’s face it, in our country, a student’s success and accomplishments, almost entirely depend on on factor- their marks. And mathematics was, indeed, making it tough for us. Two years, and my son would be appearing for the most dreaded board exams, I had no clue what we would do.
I settled down in front of his teacher, all prepared for the impending admonishment, but she took me by surprise. She wasn’t complaining. Being the class teacher, she was aware of his performance in other subjects, which were pretty good. Since he was miserable in just one subject, she advised I get him analysed for Learning Disability.
The word disability sent ripples across my mind. But it was evident as to why literature came easy for my son and why technical stuff was almost impossible for him. I discussed this with my husband and together we decided to go ahead with the analysis at a clinic. Few tests, and a week later, we received an elaborate report indicating Dyscalculia.
To be honest, I hadn’t seen this coming. But then at the back of our minds, I knew all the time that there was something amiss as far as mathematics was concerned. I carried the report to school, met his teacher and the principal. As I waited, I wondered what they would say, would they recommend a special school?
But then, they were very kind and receptive about the whole thing. The principal mailed me a link from the board’s website talking about inclusion, attention and exemption.
For almost a month, we studied the whole LD policy. It was amazing to see the plethora of help and concessions being extended by the boards for children like my son. Extra time, special coaching at school, even choice to choose a different subject. And I arrived at my conclusion.
We went ahead with choosing Computer Programming over Mathematics. The teachers were happy with my decision, of course, we were informed about the repercussions of dropping Maths. He wouldn’t be eligible for engineering and few branches of science stream, but I was fine with that. The school proceeded with the paper work and my son now learns programming in various computer languages, instead of mathematics.
You think, this journey was easy?
It started with my parents and in-laws being totally against my choice.
“Dropping Maths? No Science? Then how will he become an engineer? Or a scientist?” they seemed to be echoing in unison.
I was even barraged with needless advices like, nobody in our family had ever opted for commerce or arts. That I was being lazy and making my son follow suit.
And if you ever think only girls are typecast, think again. I was told that, boys had to earn and run a family. So they HAD to opt for technical courses and that humanities wasn’t for boys.
My motherhood was questioned, I knew friends and relatives were calling me a bad mother, behind my back. They said I was labelling my son and this could affect his future.
But quite frankly, who were they to tell me? Who was there to help me when my son and I slogged our way through mathematics exams? Even my husband didn’t know much. Always travelling, and busy with his own work commitments, he hardly understood the difficulty in dealing with a child with LD.
But I guess, the teachers and the system did. And thank God for that.
LD, unlike what many parents feel, isn’t something to be ashamed of. And let me tell you, there’s not an iota of regret I feel, in accepting my son’s LD or dropping Maths. He likes programming, our arguments have disappeared. There’s peace at home and most importantly, my son is happy.
We have totally planned to opt for Arts and Humanities post SSC. I know he’ll do well, both of us are confident enough.
Education, according to me should be a journey our children should enjoy and not regret.
So, dear Maths, dropping you with No Regrets.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Helicopter Eela
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