Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just an update:

I had an off the record conversation with Mal the ASM who was present for that whole awful altercation on Friday.. He said that he would have left me on registers longer to see what I was capable of, not just yanked me off of them, and would have bothered to let me know about cancellations being an issue far sooner, had he known, and that the way Dil chose to announce that issue in that way was a mystery to him. He said that they only threaten to fire someone without sufficient warnings ( usually at least one verbal, one written, although it varies around, I discovered) if the situation is "grevious" . I asked him if he felt the situation was greivous with me. He said, "Absolutely not".

I mentioned again about the disability, and the legal ramifications, and he said, "Well, we have to treat you like anyone else with a disability, and we can't set you up to fail. It's like hiring someone in a wheelchair to work in receiving, and then saying 'climb this ladder'. " I said, but what you did to me is like saying to the same person, "If you drop those books one more time, I'm going to fire you. Do you understand?" He did. But we did agree that it was probably better this way in the end.

I expressed my extreme discontent at the way I was spoken to, and discovered Mr. Bulldog had gotten a serious talking to this morning by all his ASMs about his utter lack of tact and peopleskills. They apparently felt it was alienating the employees all over the store, but specifically, he had totally bombed with me. They ALL discussed how it could have been handled better, and that they would show respect and privacy for me by not explaining to anyone else WHY I can't ring anymore. Mal said, "We'll just say 'we found something she's better at'. If you choose to explain to them your disability, that's your choice. But it isn't right for it to be ours."
I was relieved to hear that things were handled, and that Dil was critised for being such an asshole, and that apparently, it had caused enough of a stink that everyone was quite unhappy, and that I am NOT on the shit list for not being able to do something, and I DON'T have to explain it or be embarrassed by it if I don't want to. ( I'm not embarrassed by the disability, just by the INability to do a certain task when things get crazy in the store, and having others think I'm a slacker.)

So apparently things DO get handled properly-- on occasion-- without my having to raise too much hell, and because of my good relations with Mal and the others I'm willing to give up reporting Dil to the hotline and move forward. I'm glad I talked with Mal today.
Now, if they'd pay more, I'd be VERY PLEASED! LOL!

And Now A PSA:

I feel the need for a little sidebar about my disability, dyscalculia. For more information, try this:

I've discovered the rarity of anyone really ever hearing of this thing and then really grasping *what* it is. I didn't even know I had it til I was 33. I knew I had some sort of problem with math, but I attributed it to just not liking it very much for most of my life.

I had an awful go of it in middle school. Because I went to a Catholic school that didn't really put much emphasis on figuring out what was going on if specific students had issues-- I recall some of my friends being in a special class if all of their skills just sucked, but nothing was available beyond that ( Sassy's brother, for example, was gifted and there was no consideration for him when he acted out because he was bored. He was just asked to leave. I seem to recall that kids were often regarded as insolent or difficult when there were problems; it was rare to see a helpful attitude. Ugh.) . I had a math teacher who used to have classroom contests with teams to see who could do math the fastest at the board. I very rarely won, and it was quite awful to hear the groans of my peers when I didn't

There were a couple of meetings with my dad, I seem to remember, who was reassured I was indeed smart enough to get it, but apparently was having some "issues". But there was no tutor ( not that that would have helped ALOT, but it might have been good to have different strategies presented), and I just ended up feeling very frustrated. I really hated that math teacher....

In high school, I had to take Intro to Algebra I twice. I took Intro to Algebra II twice too. ( The two together equalled Algebra I, so I was free and clear on the requirements, finally). I was excited because I finally made an A in the latter, and yet no one seemed to realize what kind of effort this required. Alas. I did try to go on to Geometry, which seemed at first like something I would even enjoy, since there were more visual elements. However, as the links above describe, as soon as computations got beyond that, I was lost.

When I got to college it became apparent that other math-related skills ( like drawing in perspective-- flattening out a 3D world onto a 2D plane, and transposing visual maps to be the right direction) were also difficult. I can't tell you the panic and despair I would feel when I was asked to do those things. I recall taking Drawing I twice because I couldn't get past the perspective section. It was pretty humilating. I did manage to pass Statistics ( required) and I feel like I still have a good understanding of it conceptually, and to this day can read a study in a journal and tell you if it's been set up properly, WRT to that issue. (AGAIN, as links above suggest, that's also a symptom-- the ability to understand things conceptually, but not be able to grasp getting there.) Thank god for tutors with patience.

(And I still thought I was stupid because I couldn't balance a checkbook. Still can't. I have other ways of getting around that, though...)

When I was finally diagnosed, I learned that ALL those things are symptoms. And that I wasn't stupid. And that I had likely developed all my highly visual because of it, because thats a way of making math very literal, and all the theorhetical/conceptual skills help with understanding it's broader applications. . It was a relief; I felt understood at last.

I've talked to a few educational psychs who have expressed some shock that this was diagnosed so late, and that all the cues were missed early on. Frankly, I think they're thinking of the conditions NOW versus THEN: it's still not very well known, but it's in the books if you're in Special Ed, and there are strategies presented to deal with it. I'm not so sure it was discussed even that widely when I was growing up. (Plus, I don't fit the profile perfectly; I can read a clock and never had a problem with time, nor am I literal to a fault, which I'm told can happen in these cases, understandably. It's entirely possible that in some ways, where I fall on the spectrum-- moderate-- would have been missed anyway, and all my compensatory skills would have helped to disguise the need for further examination. However, I totally blame that stupid school and lazy math teacher for not making SOME effort....). More importantly, though, I've been reassured that I can still learn skills to overcome the worst of it. I can't afford it right now, but I look forward to the day. :)