I’m not discounting that higher math or more complex science is appropriate for some people, but there was never any question about whether or not I need to learn trig or calculus (or even algebra) in order to do what I wanted to in life (even though I didn’t know for sure what that was). I did know for sure it wasn’t engineering.

When my autistic son was in school, we asked his teachers to help him learn how to do basic functions on the calculator on his iPod — something he will always have on him since it’s also his communication device. This was a lot more functional than trying to force him to learn how to do more than basic add and subtract on paper or in his head. We didn’t really care how he tested — we cared that he had pragmatic skills.

Some things are good to know at least something about just to be a well-rounded person, but higher math and science aren’t that. I briefly dated an engineer in college who didn’t know what the KGB was (it came out in a movie that we went to see — which incidentally was our last date).

As Sally says in one of my favorite Peanuts cartoons, only in math problems can you buy 60 cantaloupes and nobody asks what the hell is wrong with you?

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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