Strength in Maths due to ADHD & autism traits

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ALADDIN_1978
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20 Mar 2022, 4:04 am

I have diagnoses of dyspraxia, ADHD and Asperger's traits.

My favourite subject was Maths.

I have quite severe mental health problems.

I think it is a strength as a result of my ADHD.
People with ADHD, perform better in area they do well.
People with autism , like routine , (the routine of success).



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20 Mar 2022, 4:28 am

I feel the same way as you. I also have an ADHD diagnosis.
I take my favorite subjects as entertainment. Treat those practice questions with a frenzy. At the same time there is absolutely no way to learn subjects you don't like (like languages?). This resulted in a big difference between my grades in different subjects.
But the downside is that it can easily make me lose confidence in myself by having problems that are beyond my ability in my favorite subjects.


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20 Mar 2022, 11:49 am

Hello,

yes, I love Maths too!

I find it all-absorbing, when I am doing a Maths problem everything else (all worries, anxieties, ruminations, etc.) fade away. It feels nice to concentrate on something so absorbing, it feels like meditation to me.

I like also the clarity of Maths: that there is usually a clear right answer. It is not like History or Literature where there are many interpretations possible.

Also, each new thing you learn builds on what you knew before, but you don't have to remember a huge amount (e.g. like for studying History), it is more like a set of skills and tools that you learn.

I am not brilliant at Maths but doesn't bother me if I don't get a Maths problem right at first. I just keep trying, and that adds to the joy when I finally figure it out.

Even the look of Maths is beautiful to me, all the Greek symbols, integration signs, etc.

I'm not diagnosed on the spectrum, but think I'm probably on or near it. I'm not sure if my love of Maths has anything to do with autistic qualities, as I've heard many on the spectrum aren't into Maths. Maybe it's my special interest?

I think it's a pity more people don't try Maths as a form of meditating and taking their minds off worries.
If anyone would like to try, I could suggest some books...



HeroOfHyrule
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21 Mar 2022, 1:35 pm

I have ASD and ADHD, but I'm terrible at math due to also having dyscalculia. I always wonder what my academic life would have been like without it. Everyone assumes that I'll be good at certain things because of my ASD, that my dyscalculia actually makes really hard for me to process. Sometimes it feels like someone played a cruel joke on me by giving me both of these issues.



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21 Mar 2022, 2:17 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I have ASD and ADHD, but I'm terrible at math due to also having dyscalculia. I always wonder what my academic life would have been like without it. Everyone assumes that I'll be good at certain things because of my ASD, that my dyscalculia actually makes really hard for me to process. Sometimes it feels like someone played a cruel joke on me by giving me both of these issues.


I also have computational difficulties. I went to screen for ADHD precisely because of the staggering number of miscalculations in my homework. A good grade requires me to work quickly and spend the rest of my time proofreading.

I don't know if your dyscalculia is similar to mine. It would be helpful for me to use more algebra.


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r_omega
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23 Mar 2022, 4:07 am

I'm a professional math teacher and tutor diagnosed with ASD and OCD. I can see why OCD might make a subject like math a strength. I feel my value of organization, structure, and a willingness to focus somewhat intensely and singularly on problems is related to that success. At the same time, I tutor many students with ADHD (I don't recall ever tutoring a student diagnosed with OCD actually). These students have a talent for math in some respects, but it is often in particular facets of math and not in general. Of course there are sure to be exceptions, but I have found that my ADHD students generally struggle with math because their ADHD prevents them from the organization, focus, and structure typically required of studying math.

It was an interesting theory above, if I understood it correctly, that ADHD might only negatively affect subjects a person is not interested in, though I think I'm struggling to understand how some of you might feel that ADHD is linked to your success and/or interest in math. Maybe there's some literature out there that helps explain it?



cyberdad
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23 Mar 2022, 4:10 am

My daughter has moderate functioning autism but has savant level math skills and memory. Unfortunately she chooses not to apply (for the moment).



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23 Mar 2022, 8:56 am

r_omega wrote:
I'm a professional math teacher and tutor diagnosed with ASD and OCD. I can see why OCD might make a subject like math a strength. I feel my value of organization, structure, and a willingness to focus somewhat intensely and singularly on problems is related to that success. At the same time, I tutor many students with ADHD (I don't recall ever tutoring a student diagnosed with OCD actually). These students have a talent for math in some respects, but it is often in particular facets of math and not in general. Of course there are sure to be exceptions, but I have found that my ADHD students generally struggle with math because their ADHD prevents them from the organization, focus, and structure typically required of studying math.

It was an interesting theory above, if I understood it correctly, that ADHD might only negatively affect subjects a person is not interested in, though I think I'm struggling to understand how some of you might feel that ADHD is linked to your success and/or interest in math. Maybe there's some literature out there that helps explain it?


I have a long-standing habit: when trying to improve my test scores, I will look at the papers of many people of similar level to me, analyze where I am below the average of those papers, and then make targeted improvements.

When I was in high school, every teacher would notice: My science and math test scores were "close to" the top of our school, while English was on the bottom. These teachers have never seen phenomena as extreme as mine.

I'm not sure how math is taught in other regions/countries. My experience is based on high school test-oriented mathematics in China.
Yes, in math, I'm not good at all parts either.
The speed at which I calculated probabilities surprised my math teacher. But in the solid geometry part, I couldn't build complex spatial structures in my mind like my classmates. So I can only build 3D coordinate systems and calculate their positions on paper. This is a generic but sometimes silly approach.

My analysis of other students' papers showed that oversight was normal on math tests, but my oversight frequency was much higher than average.
There are some bizarre bugs that only I make regularly. For example, missing or mistaking a number when transcribing the preceding information.
I reported this to the head teacher and he replied, "Anyone can be oversight, you need to take the test seriously or do more practice."
Then I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in college.

I have visited the Chinese ADHD online community where there is an active group of members with learning difficulties.I asked them if ADHDs were generally bad at English.One senior member answered "At least one of English or math would be a deficit."
I can't speak for the members who are good at English but not maths, but my personal explanation of why my grade difference occurred is getting clearer.

On the Chinese Internet, ADHD propagandists, a master of psychology, will translate some cutting-edge theories. One of these claims that "working memory" is one of ADHD's core deficits.
I realized that "working-memory-deficit" is a powerful theory to explain these phenomena:
1. If a math problem gives known conditions for complex numbers, I need to summarize them by writing down the key words to make them work in my mind, and I need to check the key words I write down frequently. And I can't think about spatial geometry without the help of computational data.
2. Spelling is my nightmare. The class's average of 40 spelling tests after provisional memory was making 5 mistakes. Usually I make 5 correct. I can't see the logic between the letters, and memorizing this kind of stuff tires me out.
3. When the College Entrance Examination is approaching, I put all my energy into counting the frequency of words that appear in the English test options, which is a big project when I am not allowed to use a computer. Then I picked the 100 most frequent unfamiliar words and only tried to memorize their meanings, not their spellings. This worked. I still can't spell, but at least I can understand what most of the options mean. For me it is even more productive to waste time statistically than to memorize words directly.
4. I can see many but not all symbols at an above average speed. For example the first glance 70% for the first time. When I want to be serious, a second glance will give me 91%.
It is a definite fact that the wrong order in Chinese rarely affects reading. This makes me a somewhat careless but very fast Chinese reader on the one hand and a miserable English reader on the other. The order of letters and words in English is important, which slows me down a lot. When I understood the meaning of the next sentence, I forgot the previous sentence.
5. Numbers are just as difficult for me to remember as letters. My memory is like compressed files, grasping core concepts, losing specific values or sequences in order to store more information in a small memory. But numbers and letters cannot be compressed. I need to use it regularly for a few months to remember the phone number.

The lack of inhibition characteristic of ADHDs often prevents them from doing work that they are not interested in. But ADHD doesn't only affect uninteresting content. ADHD affects everything.

When I read your text and try to organize the language to answer, all kinds of related memories, important or not, appear in a chaotic sequence and fly through my head like snowflakes.Snowflakes melt fast. I'll lose some of them soon.I shorthand them, then expand them one by one, and finally put them in an order.This is the classic flow when I try to express something.It seems like I'm not the only ADHDs who has this trait in expression.


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23 Mar 2022, 1:53 pm

SkinnedWolf wrote:
I also have computational difficulties. I went to screen for ADHD precisely because of the staggering number of miscalculations in my homework. A good grade requires me to work quickly and spend the rest of my time proofreading.

I don't know if your dyscalculia is similar to mine. It would be helpful for me to use more algebra.

I've noticed that I oddly find some aspects of Algebra easier to do, as long as I have a calculator and some paper to keep track of my math.

My big issue with simpler math like division, fractions, multiplication, etc. is that I can't keep all of the variables in my head, and I can't seem to remember how to do certain things long term. My brain just doesn't want to hold onto that info no matter how hard I try. lol



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23 Mar 2022, 9:40 pm

It goes all ways in my family. I have ASD and probably moderate ADHD and am passionate about math -- up through Linear Algebra. My daughter has ASD only and does well in math, but isn't passionate about it. My son has severe ADHD and is passionate about math, but struggles with errors and showing his work. My mom has ASD and is great with math. My dad and sister who are NT (or unspecified ND) would say they were/are not good at math, but I would bet they are above average with dyslexia and/or dyscalculia or something.

I notice that word problems are especially problematic for ASD/ADHD types --- too many are vague (or distracting) from an alternate perspective. Give me a matrix any day and I'll be happy. :wink:



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24 Mar 2022, 4:26 am

SharonB wrote:
I notice that word problems are especially problematic for ASD/ADHD types --- too many are vague (or distracting) from an alternate perspective. Give me a matrix any day and I'll be happy. :wink:


I have OCD, no ADHD and I strongly prefer pure math to applications and word problems.



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24 Mar 2022, 7:14 am

I loved math and did quite well in it as a young person in school. Then I got a bit of trauma over inappropriate behavior from a math teacher and subsequent emotional abuse and intimidation when I tried to discuss it with him (ask him to stop touching me). I shut down and haven't even looked at math since. Sometimes I wonder about trying to get a tutor to take up where I left off. then again, I've never needed algebra, so why bother. Interesting world, Isn't it?


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23 Apr 2022, 10:48 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I've noticed that I oddly find some aspects of Algebra easier to do, as long as I have a calculator and some paper to keep track of my math.

My big issue with simpler math like division, fractions, multiplication, etc. is that I can't keep all of the variables in my head, and I can't seem to remember how to do certain things long term. My brain just doesn't want to hold onto that info no matter how hard I try. lol

Some people, such as my boyfriend, are able to attain a strong intuitive grasp of advanced mathematical concepts despite difficulties with what he calls the "mechanics" of math.


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23 Apr 2022, 10:52 pm

I excelled in Maths because of synaesthesia. Algebra was especially easy because every letter and number had a colour in my mind. Rote arithmetic was also very easy to memorise because I could see the colour patterns.

I do have ASD and ADHD so maybe that's part of it, but I think it's more the synaesthesia.



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24 Apr 2022, 7:15 am

I excelled in mathematics.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Aspies just have a greater degree. I have excelled in math well beyond most NTs.


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24 Apr 2022, 8:11 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I excelled in Maths because of synaesthesia. Algebra was especially easy because every letter and number had a colour in my mind. Rote arithmetic was also very easy to memorise because I could see the colour patterns.

I do have ASD and ADHD so maybe that's part of it, but I think it's more the synaesthesia.


Isabella, good point. My theory is that synesthesia would help with memory. My ASD BFF has it and remembers dates and numbers easily (she can't help it!). That said, I (without synesthesia) was an algebra whiz and she (with synesthesia) was a policy whiz. Need more data points. :wink: