Wired to Work Differently: Dyscalculia
/ Author: Alison Brown
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Wired to Work Differently: Dyscalculia

Our understanding of neurodiverse people is growing, as well as our understanding of how to help these exceptional individuals thrive at work

There’s a growing understanding of neurodiversity—an umbrella term used to describe a variety of cognitive conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD—and how neurodivergent people’s differences should be seen as strengths and assets rather than a disorder they suffer from. 

Despite the remarkable inroads being made in psychology and the increased acceptance of neurodivergent behaviours, the modern working world has yet to keep up. The vast majority of neurodivergent individuals are chronically unemployed or underemployed—many HR departments are hesitant to hire anyone who looks, acts, or communicates in a nontypical way. 

Once in the workplace, they often face misperceptions, misunderstandings, and discrimination. Some neurotypical traits such as procrastination, challenges following through, and difficulty deciding how to prioritize tasks can be misconstrued as laziness and a lack of motivation—when it’s a cognitive process, not a character flaw. 

So just how common are neurodivergent individuals? And how can they support themselves, and be supported, in the workplace?

Neurodiversity includes but is not limited to: ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyscalculia, and Dyslexia


A learning difference that affects an individual’s ability to perform and make sense of mathematics. 

3-11% people worldwide 

Workplace Strengths
• Creativity
• Intuitive thinking
• Hardworking 
• Artistic and/or linguistic strength 

Workplace Challenges 
• Difficulty with basic mental math and problem solving
• Difficulty making sense of money and estimating quantities
• Difficulty telling time on an analog clock
• Poor visual and spatial orientation
• Difficulty remembering directions
• Trouble recognizing amounts of small sets
• Trouble recognizing patterns and sequencing numbers 
• Difficulty driving 

5 Workplace Tips
1. Calculate it. Use a handheld calculator or the calculator app on your phone to avoid mental math. 
2. Scribble it. Keep a notebook handy or use the notes app on your phone to write down equations, directions, and measurements. 
3. Post it. If you need multiplication tables, equations, or measurements for your job, print out colourful and easy-to-follow tables and charts and hang them somewhere you can see them, or take a picture of them on your phone. 
4. Jig it. If your job requires the use of machinery or equipment, request that tools like jigs be used to help guide your work or help you measure more accurately. 
5. Plan it. Dyscalculia can make time management and transitions difficult. Use calendar alerts on your phone to help you keep track of time.

Famous Folks
• Henry Winkler
• Benjamin Franklin
• Bill Gates 
• Thomas Edison
• Hans Christian Anderson 

Sources: Sources: institute4learning.com, disabled-world.com, wired.com, exceptionalindividuals.com, additudemag.com, caddac.ca


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