But in addition to hyperlexia, I’m dyscalculic… What a struggle that was without me even realizing I was experiencing anything other people weren’t!

Dyslexia’s little-known numerical relative, Dyscalculia.

These days I can tell when I’m at peak cognition (i.e. properly medicated) because I can remember 4-6 digit numbers for more than half a second. It is so rare that I always stop for a momentary celebration over remembering a number.

Typically I only recognize that there’s, say, a 9, a 5, a 6, and a 3 in a number, but the number is almost never 9563; More like 9653, or 6395—or that wasn’t really a 5, was it… no it was a 4. But, wait, the number begins with a three after all.


I only ever lost points on algebra exams because I’d screw up the numbers somewhere, putting in a 5 when I’d meant a 4. I never lost points on the theory or the process, only the concrete numbers, because almost inevitably a number would get a bit turned around and go a little wonky at one stage or another and throw everything off.

“You just need to slow down!” claimed my algebra teacher.

I didn’t understand at the time how fast my brain moves, and that as a result I struggle to keep up with the flow of my thoughts that move so quickly they seem a blur. I didn’t know how to say at the time that I couldn’t possibly slow down, that in fact I needed actually to speed up to keep pace with the flash of the neurons through my brain. (Hurray adderall!) But without medication, numbers are nightmarish for me.

Here’s to dyscalculia!

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