Students with dyscalculia are typically thought of by both researchers and educators as having deficits. The deficit language permeates studies of dyscalculia as well as assessments and documentation of students in schools. In this paper, we offer an alternative to the dominant narrative. We understand disabilities, and dyscalculia specifically, as resulting from cognitive differences—not deficits—which lead to issues of access. We provide a case study of Dylan (second author), an individual with dyscalculia who decided to major in statistics at University of California, Berkeley and become a statistician. Although she experienced significant issues of access—both in the standard tools used to do mathematics, and in navigating the structures at the university—she developed systems to enable her to compensate. She collaborated in this research enterprise in order to share with researchers, teachers, parents, and students her experiences with dyscalculia and how she was able to succeed in higher level mathematics. Informed by previous empirical work, we collected video recordings of Dylan’s deliberate efforts to share insights and strategies with another student with dyscalculia. In this work, Dylan challenges dominant and problematic myths about ability and mathematics.
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