Author Topic: Learning a Language  (Read 6723 times)

Imcamodchick88

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Learning a Language
« on: May 22, 2013, 05:07:57 am »
I'm not sure if this goes under cognitive to be honest.

Has anyone else tried to learn a new language after surgery? Or learn anything majorly new? I am a college student (a chemistry major), and I have never struggled in my studies before. However, the last 2 semesters I have not been able to pass a course. When I talked to a teacher about it, he suggested it was because of the AN.

The course is Organic Chemistry 2, which is like a new language according to him. My other chemistry courses are A's and B's, as are my other courses in general. He says that most places that do brain research state that having a tumor of any kind will cause the part of the brain that learns a new language to not comprehend it, which is why I'm struggling. He also says it could be because of the fact that I had Organic Chemistry 1 right before my surgery, and therefore don't remember much of it. Until he mentioned it, I didn't realize that I didn't remember alot of that semester, and now I keep finding other things I have forgotten, unless it is built into my routine. Luckily I am OCD about alot of stuff, including labs, and so I have that going for me.

So I guess my question is this. Has anyone else ever had a problem with this or heard of it? I can't find anything on it.

It's honestly getting kind of disappointing, as I had thought I was past of all of this and back to where I was. And then this stupid class came up.

Thanks to anyone who has any advice or response.

Kristin
2.8-cm AN removed by translab on 12/23/11 at UTSW
Dr. Issacson and Dr. Mickey

MDemisay

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 02:00:27 pm »
Dear Kristin,

Although it has been a good long while since I have tried to learn anything on a college level (30 years) I do know that there is a new way of learning out called Rosettastone which is actually a way of teaching basics of language. However, upon reading further you are trying to learn Organic Chemistry which I presume doesn't really lend itself to a Rosettastone scenario which teaches basic word recognition from pictures as it probably involves memorizing periodic tables.


Not to worry,there is a thing called Reasonable Accomodation which I had employed in my college years o those many years ago.......to obtain Federal Funding schools must comply this employs the use of extra time for tests, the use of a tape recorder for taking notes, even the use of tutors. In the late 70's this concept was brand new now it must be old hat. Google Reasonable Accomodation. Your grades will improve but it won't be as easy as it once may have been. Cognitively speaking it may take longer to master but with practice and Reasonable Accomodation, it should come in time. Good luck!
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Mei Mei

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 04:52:54 pm »
I do know that I had and still have a lot of concentration and memory issues which is part of the problem I am having with my daughter   She won't even give me a key and drive the children in the car.    Before that she let me do it.

Years ago I had a series of neuropsychiatric tests and my iq was in the 140s but now has dropped to just above 100.   The doctor said that's because of the surgery.   She wasn't concerned and said I was in the normal range, but such a dramatic drop was really disconcerting to me.
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prisca

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 05:37:04 pm »
I'm really sorry about your IQ loss.  Due to a head injury from a car accident I lost 25 IQ points but was still in the "normal" range.  Other people would say but you're still smart enough.  But I was and still am (over 20 years later) very aware of the things that I used to be able to do and now can't.  It's a terrible loss.  I found I had to just mourn the old me and accept that I was the new me.  Because I am not and never will be the same person with the same abilities.  I just try to do the best that I can.  I try to make my life as easy as possible.  Did the neuropsych people offer you any cognitive rehab?  I was in cognitive rehab for awhile.  Mostly since then I have just developed my own ways to cope with things.  But I get very angry about people saying that it's OK because I am "normal"  If you had been 100 when you lost 40 IQ points, you'd probably need to be institutionalized.  People would realize that was a tragedy.  What they don't realize is going from 140 to 100 is as bad and maybe even worse as you are aware of what you have lost.  You've had such a hard time.  I'm so sorry. 

Imcamodchick88

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 08:07:35 pm »
Thank you for the responses.

I am sorry I am late in posting. I am already back in more classes, and realizing again how much I seem to have forgotten. This time it appears to be basic math. I do use accommodations. I record all of my lectures, and retype what notes I can. I also test in a silent environment because noise inhibits my concentration. Unfortunately this does not help in some courses. I wish I knew what my IQ was before and now, but I have no way to test and find out. I know my scores on sudoku games have gone down, but that is the only thing I can show. My next Dr's. Appointment is not for 2 years. Does it seem to get any better with time? I am a year and a half post op. I know I pushed myself really hard, and I am taking 22 hours this next semester. I want to graduate and move on, leaving this behind me.

It is good to know I'm not the only one.

Thank you so much,
Kristin
2.8-cm AN removed by translab on 12/23/11 at UTSW
Dr. Issacson and Dr. Mickey

str8testshot

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 12:09:38 pm »
I seem to be having the same woes as you all on this matter, it is a hard pill to swallow when you are not as smart as you once were although you are still you and you can remember and get temporary shots of how your brain used to run all the time.   I was finishing my only remaining math class to get a degree when the tumor struck me down, I only had the final left which I had honestly asked to take the 2nd day of class see this stupid 100 level math class was an addition to the basic requirements I took calc as an engineering major I use physics daily at work... 

anyways I have discovered that I now have some dyslexia with numbers, I dont have any irregular flaws with theories or formulas, I do struggle to find key words sometimes; Formulas held me up for 3 minutes;).  I just misplace numbers enough to cause a major issue with graduating, in turn taking a normal math anxiety and making a debilitating cocktail of failure.   
I also get frustrated when they tell me you're just normal now get used to being like the rest of us.  what they don't understand is that it is just a programming issue, my brain is still there and so is yours we just need a minor adjustment to get back to what we were.

I also went to the Neuropsychologist who told me that most people would not recognize the problems I was having multitasking and using some executive functions then went to some occupational therapy which was designed for folks with little experience in coping strategy, it did show me I need to slow down a bit and make sure I was using calanders and recordings...  This is a major deal to me and I want us to find an answer, I have been trying to find the answer alone because I have not found any in depth talk in the forums, admittedly I could have missed it???     

I found some improvements via Yoga, which started getting me back into shape and pretty much stamped out any balance issues.  I have been taking fish oil and eating omega 3 rich foods and pushing B complex foods and these things have given me a minor boost in felt cognitive ability.  Neuroscience says we can assist the brain in forming new pathways and strengthening weak ones by increasing blood flow and increasing oxygen to the brain, so I am ratcheting up my physical activity to help that more.  Those being stated, their is more out there for us we just have to  find it and let each other know!

Yesterday I started to try some audio meditation which has some interesting frequency pulses the company claims will help unify brain functions my first session leaves me excited for the second and a prospect of returning to function.  I have put class on hold mostly out of anxiety and depressive issues, the docs offered drugs but they slow me down further. 

Fair winds and following seas my friends.   
Feb/2012- started spinning, March found 4 mm (L) AN, May tumor was 5mm, Reasearched over 100 articles, saw 11 Dr's, tried out sudden hearing loss, first experience of prednisone-hearing came back, opted for Middle Fossa at HEI Friedman/ Schwartz- no more spinning hearing is %100
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Imcamodchick88

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2013, 04:16:45 am »
Str8testshot,

Normally I don't write directly to people, but I feel this warranted it. I don't believe I've ever met another college student on here before,

Although I know everyone understands what we are talking about, I feel like you know exactly where I'm coming from. Even right now, I am supposed to be studying for a trig based physics course, and I'm frustrated by math issues. (I got an a in calc 2 the semester before my surgery.) but I am so frustrated by messing up my basic math functions that I feel like giving up.

However, just be sure you don't give up totally on your classes. I think the longer we wait to go back, the harder it will be. I went back less that a month after my surgery (still not sure that was bright but hey.)

The audio mediation sounds interesting. I think I might have to try it, as I already do the others you mentioned. I also do brain puzzles daily, along with "brain training" games. Ill admit, I even play the kid games on my phone meant for my niece. It seems to help.

Pushing myself seems to work for me, but I think it's different for everyone.

Good luck to you.
Kristin
2.8-cm AN removed by translab on 12/23/11 at UTSW
Dr. Issacson and Dr. Mickey

ppearl214

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 04:52:07 am »
Hi Kristin,

I am going to chime in as well. I started my college degree many many years ago and due to other personal issues, had to stop.  In May of this year, I am, at my old age, once again, a college student (online education).  I work full time and do my classes at night and weekends.  As recent as last night, I had a discussion with my academic advisor about the ability to "focus," especially where my current course (HR related) requires a LOT of reading. It seems the text goes to my optic nerve and yet, a disconnect from the optic nerve to my brain.  He shared ideas of text-to-voice software that is available (they gave me a "license" from their system to use it) as well as use of note/flash cards, reading aloud, reading slow.  Stress can also play a factor into this issue. 

Try speaking to your academic advisor. It did help me... and best wishes in your studies!
Phyl
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Imcamodchick88

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 02:11:02 am »
Thank you for the response,

Unfortunately, I can't use the text to speak. As my stuff is chemistry based, it just butchers the words, and doesn't read the symbols I need to know. I do use flashcards, and I reread over and over.

I also annotate. I've found rewriting what I've read helps me. Oh and I had one teacher suggest placing a paper over it and reading a line at a time. That helps when I can't focus.

As for my academic advisor, I don't think she fully comprehends the situation. She's not happy with the fact that I cannot do what I used to be able to already. She believes I'm "under applying" myself. I work with disability services, and I'm going in again for more help. That's all I can do at this moment. I wish I had an advisor that would suggest things. She seems to be of the opinion that my age can let me do anything. I believe age isn't a factor in learning.

I don't really have problems in most courses, it's just one course that's all new that's killing me.

Good luck on your course.
2.8-cm AN removed by translab on 12/23/11 at UTSW
Dr. Issacson and Dr. Mickey

prisca

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 07:24:12 am »
Have you asked your dr. about cognitive rehab?  I suffer from brain injury from a car accident, and the cognitive rehab gave me a lot of different strategies.  I, too, find that new stuff is hard.  I can't repeat the 3 pairs of words the neurologist  just told me, but I can follow a lecture on computational linguistics because I know about computational linguistics.  I liken it to a jigsaw puzzle.  When I hear something and I have something already in my brain, I can fit that piece in and retain it.  If there's not already a piece to connect to, the new piece falls to the floor. 

Not too long after the accident I had to take a standardized test, luckily I am a fast reader because when I went back through the second time I found tons of wrong answers.  But mostly I got the wrong answer because I answered a different question than they were actually asking (e.g. giving them the least common denominator when they were really asking for the highest common multiple, etc.)  However, on the second time through the test, I found the errors and corrected them and did well on the test.  Even having read it through once made it easier for me to process on the second time around.  Somehow the time lapse between allowed some things to move out of working memory into short term memory or something.  If it's just the one class that's giving you real trouble, perhaps you could finish it as an audit and then take it again for a grade. 

Imcamodchick88

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Re: Learning a Language
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2013, 01:05:34 am »
I wish I had thought of cognitive rehab when I had the chance. As of now, my drs consider me "cured." When I asked my dr about my studies, his response to me was to work with the school. I live in a small town, and travel to Dallas, tx for drs, so the ones around here are not very helpful. I very often get a "oh my, you had a what? Can I touch it? Can I look? Do you have pictures of your MRI?" response.

This will be my third time with the course, but it still won't click. It builds on stuff I learned right before my surgery.

I almost feel like I'm turning down everything you are giving me. But I'm not trying to. Most is stuff I do try, or won't work in my situation. Thank you for all the suggestions though. I'm going to try them again.
2.8-cm AN removed by translab on 12/23/11 at UTSW
Dr. Issacson and Dr. Mickey

 


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