Williams Syndrome and Maths exams

simple additionDid you enjoy taking your maths exams? Linda struggled at school, in most, if not all subjects so far as I can remember and particularly with “doing her sums”. When Linda moved in after Dad’s death we discussed what activities she was interested in and I was surprised when she said she’d like to improve her sums – though it was obvious to see it was a request made with some fear and trembling too. I promise, there was no suggestion or coersion on my part!

Anyway, she is now enrolled in an adult basic numeracy skills class and spends her Monday adding up fruit and the like. She comes home completely exhausted by the efforts in concentration and often sleeps afterwards.

We rarely hear much about what goes on in class beyond “I did my adding up and taking away. I did well.”. To be honest she’s often more vocal about the quality of drinks from the vending machine “That tea is truly awful! How can they sell that stuff?”.

Considering that Linda has been attending class for less than a year and in her previous adult life has rarely had the opportunity to “do sums” let alone manage money, her abilities in this area are improving. I’m not certain she will ever have the ability to manage her finances without significant support, I believe very few people with Williams Syndrome get to this level of independence as adults, but you never know!

She certainly can count out the right change to buy her daily newspaper – though the patience of the shopkeeper is a joy to behold as she searches for the coins in her purse! With enough time and encouragement she can add simple numbers but is more likely to get her ones and tens in a twist if left to her own devices. It wouldn’t be difficult to defraud Linda of all of her money if one was so inclined but at least we are seeing improvements in her skills.

The big news this week was “I need to take in some money next week – I have to pay for my exam.”

So we learn, at some time, probably at the end of her first year in class, she will be submitted for a maths exam.

At the moment, I don’t know exactly what, but it will come with some formal accreditation of achievement. And, assuming she passes, I will be as proud as any parent possibly could be.

As for Linda, she can hardly contain her excitement – she’s going to take a maths exam!