Wednesday, June 29, 2016

VISITOR:  I am writing to let you know about an app that I am finding revolutionary. It's called Elevate, and it had simple games like "measurement" in which you double 1 1/8, but the great part is you enter it in terms of circles and fractions of a circle. In a another game called "estimate" you do mental addition to approximate the sums of several values like 8.99, 4.19, and 5.60. In this game you scroll along a number line to enter your answer. I find the motor and visual aspects of these games very helpful for the development of number sense and find myself making fewer arithmetic mistakes in math class. I've also used Danica McKeller's math books with a great deal of success. She uses a great deal of metaphor, visualization, and verbal rather than symbolic representation. 
I hope this is helpful for your other clients!

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Thank you! These resources are available on Dyscalculia.org. The Elevate App can be found on our BEST TOOLS list. Danica's books can be found in our Teens Get Math Bookstore.

Monday, June 27, 2016

In Medical School with Dyscalculia

VISITOR: I have always struggled with math and physics for as long as I can remember. I was able to cope with it until year 4 and afterwards I was repeatedly bottom of my class for those subjects although I was always towards the top in almost all other subjects. My key observations are, I can never remember the multiplication tables no matter how hard I try even though I have a great memory for other things ( I am now in medical school and have good memory for other things such as anatomy, embryology etc). I also struggle with checking the balance after shopping or splitting bills with friends. I have a physics exam coming up in university ( considered one of the easier modules in medical school, but it is my personal toughest) and I noticed over the course of doing about 90 sums - I jumble up numbers ( 512 as 521), forget about decimals, forget about adding 0's, jumble symbols etc. I also forget what the question is asking during the course of doing the sum and have to go back to it multiple times. Some questions, i understand how to do, but have a hard time explaining in paper. In general I also have a hard time understanding and remembering key concepts in math and physics. My symptoms are much worse when I am tired or nervous but are present even on good days.  I was repeatedly told by teachers and parents that my problems were simply related to carelessness or nervousness. I came to the realisation that my problem might be more deep rooted than that and I would like some guidance as to how I can manage my problems because I have a compulsory physics module coming up which I need to pass in order to get my degree.  
- Shri Lanka 

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  You can start by reading this advice on managing dyscalculia, conquoring it, and remediating it. 
Fixing Dyscalculia:    Manage It  | Conquer It  |  Remediation | Accessing Math  |  Appreciating Math  | Best Math Tools   And should you seek special accommodations in college in order to pass the courses requiring quantitative reasoning, you should study these resources (the advice is based on college in the USA):  College & Dyscalculia:  College & Dyscalculia  |  Academic Adjustments  |  Accommodations  |  Accommodations vs. Modifications  | Course Waivers  |  Course Substitution and Waiver Guide  |   Advising  |  Algebra Paths  | Books  | Tools  |  Sample letter to DSS |  News  |  College & Learning Disabilities  
        I think you are beyond these courses, but here are some other college-specific tools and           resources: College Tools  |  Calculus  |  Free Courses!  |  Microeconomics  |  Statistics

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Math Difficulties and ADHD

VISITOR:  I Am someone with math difficulties. I am also an adult who was late diagnosed ADHD. Currently, I am being treated for my ADHD with medication and cbt. Math & numbers have always been a 'dread' to me. My dad used to conclude that 'math just wasn't my strong suit.' I agreed but have never understood why until hearing about math LD. To this day, if it involves numbers, I feel a familiar 'heaviness' come over me. I just check out. I struggled terribly with math all through school but managed to get through (but not without failing and having to retake some classes). I did play a musical instrument but preferred to play by ear because reading music didn't make sense. I don't do well with reading and following directions. It's often too much to take in & takes to long to process and so I prefer to 'wing it'. If I have to use a ruler to measure anything, I opt to 'eyeball' it or I struggle through the task or I ask my husband to do it. Generally speaking, if something involves numbers (finances, measuring, helping my daughter with math, etc)...I run the other way. It has become a way of life for me now and I am interested in knowing more in relation to my ADHD. 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Consider filling out the Learning Disabilities Checklist, because you also have difficulty reading.  Then see our pages on Learning Disabilities.  Learning Disabilities can look like ADHD, because if you can't follow along or keep up or comprehend, you can't engage, and your attention naturally goes elsewhere.  Your off-task behavior, if it is active, will be called "hyperactivity" or inappropriate activity.  All of this inattention and off-task activity is a natural result of failure to engage with the task at hand. The task may involve listening, reading, visual-spatial reasoning, math, and so on.  It is like someone speaking to you in a foreign language. You are motivated to and do attempt to understand, but eventually cannot engage and attend for very long.  The mind seeks out satisfying experiences. When we cannot derive pleasure or satisfaction from a situation, we tend to move on. In summary, if you could read well, you would read. If you could think and work mathematically, you would not avoid doing it. The trick is to figure out how to acquire skills that have historically been difficult to acquire; and then once you get the skills, to exercise them regularly, so you don't lose them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dyscalculia Handbook - 7th grade project

VISITOR:  We need help with our 7th grade class project. We are making a dyscalculia handbook. "What are the strengths, challenges, and differences in the people who have Dyscalculia?"

DYSCALCULIA.ORG

STRENGTHS: 

(1) Those with dyscalculia usually spoke early and very well as young children and continue to speak well. 
(2) Those with dyscalculia usually write very well, and like to express their ideas through writing. 
(3) Those with dyscalculia usually learned to read early and to read well. They like to read for pleasure and to learn. 
(4) Those with dyscalculia are usually exceptional students in all subjects except math. 

WEAKNESSES: 
See the Dyscalculia Checklist for a list of symptoms.

People with dyscalculia make errors that they are NOT even aware of. They may copy numbers wrong. They may read numbers wrong. They may say numbers other than the numbers they intend to say. They may see one number but think about another number.  They occasionally forget what they are doing in the middle of working a math problem.  They occasionally lose track when counting things. They get confused by all of the different directions you have to go in when doing arithmetic.  They have a hard time following physical sequences. They have a hard time remembering sequences, directions, maps, schedules, and times. It may be hard to read an analog (face) clock reliably.  It is hard to keep track of time and they have a poor sense of how much time is required for something and how much time has gone by.  They have a hard time handling money because they lose track when counting, can't do addition and subtraction in their heads, and can't think about numbers when under pressure.  They have visual-spatial difficulties that make certain tasks hard. They may avoid sports that require a lot of coordination and processing of rapidly changing stimuli, like team sports. Sports that don't require so much complex and rapid visual processing would be track, cross country, and swimming. They cannot process visual-spatial information that occurs quickly. When watching sporting events, they may ask frequently, "What just happened?" 
They don't necessarily learn better by touching things because touch is a weaker pathway.  They may have a hard time executing tasks without looking, like plugging something in without looking. They have a hard time visually comparing things and seeing the differences between similar objects. They think more slowly and carefully about visual stimuli. They misremember numbers frequently, whether it is easy addition and multiplication facts, or dates or times, and even birthdays of special people.  They are embarrassed by these mistakes and try to avoid making them in public. Since it is socially acceptable to be smart but bad at math, they may admit, "I'm very smart, but I can't do math. That's okay. I can use a calculator." 



DIFFERENCES:
Those with dyscalculia can fool their teachers and friends by developing clever ways to avoid math and calculating. They want a reputation for being smart, and do not want to admit that math makes them feel stupid.  All their lives they have been told to be more careful and to pay attention to detail more and to study and try harder in math.  They believe that they can overcome their math difficulties by trying harder and studying longer, but these usual tactics do not produce the expected results. This makes them frustrated and angry. After awhile, they may become overwhelmed by failure and frustration, and may cry when faced with math tasks. They may avoid math because it makes them feel inadequate and distressed. When they cannot avoid it, they will feel anxious and stressed, which will make them even less able to think mathematically.  They will describe this as: a "mental block," or "drawing a blank," or "blacking out," or "it's like I've never seen this stuff before in my life!"  Teachers may call this "math anxiety," but it is important to know that the "math anxiety," does not come first. Math anxiety is NOT the cause of math difficulties. Math anxiety RESULTS from the brain's inability to process quantitative and visual-spatial information reliably and effectively.  

Those with dyscalculia need tricks and tools for managing dyscalculia. 
See these links: Manage It  | Conquer It  |  Remediation | Accessing Math  |  Appreciating Math  | Best Math Tools

Thursday, April 28, 2016

School testing says, "No math problem!" Not true!!!

VISITOR:  I have several questions about appropriate assessment tools used to identify individuals with dyscalculia. My daughter is a 3rd grader, who has been struggling in math throughout the entire school year. When observing her I notice that she struggles with making numbers make sense, for lack of a better term. She doesn't seem to be able to compute multi-step problems and make connections of step by step orders of operations. For example, she knows 3x4 but if you implement the number fact into a word problem, she unable to make the connection that it's 3x4, instead she may add the two numbers. She is a star student in all other subject areas, but it's math comprehension that she is currently struggling with. I requested for her school to test her for dyscalculia/math disability. The assessment specialist used the Woodcock Johnson, and has stated my daughter doesn't have any type of learning/math disability. I know my child and I know that something is wrong. Do you have any advise? I feel as if I'm getting blown off by the assessment specialist. I just want the right help for my child.

DYSCALCULIA.ORGAt this point, you must DISAGREE with their findings and request an independent evaluation at district expense. I can do that assessment for you or you can contact an educational neuroscience department at a local university.  
Schools are horrendous for identifying LDs and claim they can't use terms like dyslexia and dyscalculia in spite of recent chastising and guidance from the US Department of Education.  

She should be getting 30 minutes a day of remedial math instruction through the  RtI / MTSS program. 

If you'd like me to do an independent review of her case and recent testing, let me know.

Where are you located?

What does US Federal Education Law say about Specific Learning Disability? 




Fixing Dyscalculia:    Manage It  | Conquer It  |  Remediation | Accessing Math  |  Appreciating Math  | Best Math Tools

More about dyscalculia and diagnosis:  http://www.dyscalculia.org/dyscalculia

Yes, they are avoiding the issue! Fight back!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Osteopath Cured Dyscalculia

VISITORThis story was a long long time ago in my past.
I was born with ADHD, as an adult I found a library book called "A Touch of Life" by Robert Fulford, who was an Osteopath who helped many children.  After reading this book I wanted to find an Osteopath. I lived in NYC and in the phone book I found 2 Osteopaths in Manhattan. I chose the Russian Osteopath, Mikhail Volotkin who learned the traditional osteopathy school method of training. Mikhail had a part time private practice and worked at St. Vincents Hospital part time.  When I went into his office I was given a good omen sign, on his wall above his desk was a photo of the D.O. author Robert Fulford.  I received a cranial sacral adjustment and my ADHD symptoms were gone. I felt like a new person.  I also went to my Osteopath for a wrist tendon problem, and a sudden onset of hypoglycemia, which he aligned, adjusted and healed permanently.  I also brought my young daughter to see my Osteoapath. My daughter was born with the math disability, Dyscalculia.  With a cranial sacral adjustment my daughter's Dyscalculia math disability was gone, completely healed. My daughter was born with the cord around her neck. Which I think caused her brain dysfunction. Dr. Fulford says many babies are born out of alignment; that being out of alignment can cause any kind of health issue.
Dee

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  I have not heard of that. I will do some research. Many swear by Osteopaths, and I have had great experiences with D.O.'s who were excellent diagnosticians and healers. It is worth looking into! Thanks for the note! -Renee

Friday, April 8, 2016

Disorganized Reading, Writing, Coordination, Listening

VISITOR: My child loses things constantly, skips letters and words and lines when reading, mixes up letters and numbers, and is very disorganized. Her writing is a jumbled mess, and the school just thinks she has ADHD. Clothes drive her crazy, she hates seams and tags. She fights me on everything! She has trouble following directions. She passed the hearing test, but it's like she doesn't get everything I say to her. Everything has to be repeated over and over! This frustrates everybody. She was premature and was in the NICU for 3 months. She's 11 now. Help!

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Her symptoms indicate Sensory Integration Disorder (see a neuropsychologist or neurologist), dysgraphia and  dyslexia. I would first take her to see if custom lenses (prism or colored) can correct the visual processing instability that causes her reading difficulties. Read about this on the bottom of the Dyslexia page linked to above. Also get to an audiologist for to investigate Auditory Processing Disorder. An effective treatment program for APD is Fast ForWord. Organization and sequencing disabilities are comorbid with SID, dyslexia, and APD.  If you correct those, sequencing, organization and attention improve. The Orton-Gillingham method significantly improves penmanship, phonological awareness, reading decoding and comprehension, spelling, and reading and writing fluency. 

Take it in stride.  Learn all you can and be prepared to bounce among professionals who only specialize in one area.  A physical exercise program is crucial for continued brain development. Do karate or ballet, or something that regularly involves crossing the mid-line, balance, coordination, and sequential memory. Develop hand-eye coordination and tracking by playing outside: throwing, catching, hop-scotch, jump-rope, darts, yard games, etc.  Also use these apps to develop key skills: 




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thank you for this amazing site.

VISITOR: Just found your site and it is amazing.  My daughter and I both have dyscalculia although I didn’t know why I had so much trouble with math until she started having trouble as well.  I would like to find a program where I can learn and work as a tutor for her.  I have my degree in elementary education but we never covered anything like this.  She has basic number sense and skills.   The biggest area is with word problems.  She, nor I, can parse the words to make sense of the problems.  If you give me straight numbers I’m great.  Thanks for your guidance! 

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:
In general, you will want to talk through word problems, draw pictures to illustrate the word problem and solve it, and focus on the words that give the problem meaning and direction. For accuracy, you want to color code operations (add in green, subtract in red, multiply in blue, divide in black) [think Bic pen]. Use large square graph paper to line up numbers and triple check that you write and say the numbers that are actualy there. Use a calculator to double check your math facts. Highlight the boxes that will contain the numbers carried and borrowed and the answer. You need this visual feedback to keep it all straight. Talk it out, always. You will notice verbal mixups. Accept them and correct yourself and each other. Be aware that this is a natural brain glitch with dyscalculia. Learn to control for it. 
 Look here:


Friday, February 26, 2016

Boston Dyscalculia Help @ Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics

VISITOR: Where can I find help for dyscalculia in Boston?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:
Contact Mahesh Sharma at the Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics. mahesh@mathematicsforall.org
  Website: www,mathematicsforall.org                        Math Language Blog: https://mathlanguage.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

17-yr-old Dyscalculic Transition Plan

VISITOR: I am 17 and I think I have dyscalculia. What should I do?

DYSCALCULIA.ORGAt 17, you're at a critical juncture. You need specific intervention to acquire numeracy competence, and  need a plan to pass college algebra. Your high school transition plan should include obtaining transferrable college algebra credits. These should be transferrable to the college you plan to attend. 
See this information: 
Have a special educator work with you on the last 2 links above for 30 minutes a day. (Think Tier 2 RtI intervention / MTSS). 
Algebra instruction should include these tools: 
You'll have to learn to color code everything, to group math elements, and to translate math symbols into words and back into symbols- Words to symbols decoding and encoding. Math must be taught as a foreign language.  

9-year-old finger counter

VISITOR:Thank you for the links & information. Son is home schooled now for 2 years. He has not been tested nor diagnosed. I have just really been finding out about this & honestly think this is what's going on. We've are on our 4th math curriculum. 
He can count & recognize many things. He writes some numbers backwards, transverses numbers like 61 for 16. He can be given addition problems like 2+5 & then 5+2 but not recognize they're related. He is a very big finger counter. He's been using Reflex Math & when given a problem like 3+4 he will say out loud "123....4567!" That's how he's figuring out the answers. He can't seem to remember basic math facts. He forgets easily. He is an excellent reader. His handwriting isn't very neat but is improving. 

DYSCALCULIA.ORG
Do a lot of dice work. Use the apps from the FIX page below. Reward him for recognizing the dice patterns. Teach him to associate number with the patterns in the image attached. Teach him to quickly combine patterns of five for addition and subtraction without using fingers. Use dot patterns. Once he is good at this, use coins to move into counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s (nickels & $5 bills), 10s (dimes & $10 bills), 11s (10+1), 12s (10+2),....15s (dime+nickel, & $10 bill +$5 bill), ...20s (2 dimes, & $20 bills).. 50s (50-cent pieces or 2 quarters, & $50 bills)...$100s ($100 bills)...1000s ($1000 bills)...millions! ....keep on counting! You're doing multiplication! 

Is he getting help in the Tier 2 Response to Intervention or MTSS program at school? 
First message: He should be getting 30 minutes of targeted math help per day, using methods like those listed here:
http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/money
Can he count? Can he recognize dice or domino patterns? Any other learning problems?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

4th grader disqualified from special ed help

VISITORMy 9-year-old daughter, in 4th grade, has these dyscalculia symptoms, but school won't classify her as learning disabled because she left questions on money and time blank on the test, so they said that even though she scored 2 years behind in math, she could have scored higher if she answered those questions! She skipped them because she didn't know how to do them.   
She is struggling with math and has always struggled with math.
After many stressful times and trying to deal with a teacher that tells me she needs to try harder, I asked for some testing to be done. They did and afterwards I found out that it was just a placement test and not a test specifically for learning disabilities.
I had a meeting with the principle, counselor, and her teacher. I was told that if she tested two grades below her grade then she'd qualify for services. She tested two grades below her 4th grade level but they said she didn't answer a few of the problems. The ones that deal with money and time. She said she didn't know how to do them and left them blank. And because she didn't put an answer they said that she COULD have gotten a higher score and therefore wouldn't be two grades behind. So they said they couldn't give her services or accommodations. 
After trying to help her and surfing the web I found out about Dyscalculia. And it fits my daughter. Not only her, it fits me too. I feel so stupid because I can't help her like another parent could. I made it through school like a illiterate person fools everyone into thinking they can read. I don't want that for my daughter. 
I have written a formal letter requesting testing by the special education teacher. I haven't given it to the principle yet. But I know they'll try to get out of it. They'll intimidate me like before and say that it's too late in the year.
If someone out there has any suggestions, or help that they can provide, I'd very much appreciate it. Thank you.  
Her symptoms:  (a) Difficulty with time, directions, recalling schedules, sequences of events. Difficulty keeping track of time. Frequently  late. , (b) Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name-face association. Substitute names beginning with same letter. , (c) Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Bad at financial planning and money management. Too slow at mental math to figure totals, change due, tip, tax., (d) When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these mistakes may occur:  number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals. , (e) Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic math facts (+-x/). , (f) Poor memory (retention & retrieval) of math concepts- may be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next! May be able to do book work but then fails tests. , (g) Unable to imagine or "picture" mechanical processes. Poor ability to "visualize or picture" the location of the numbers on the face of a clock, the geographical locations of states, countries, oceans, streets, etc. , (h) Poor memory for the "layout" of things. Gets lost or disoriented easily. May have a poor sense of direction, may lose things often, and seem absent minded., (i) Difficulty grasping concepts of formal music education. Difficulty sight-reading music, learning fingering to play an instrument., (j) Difficulty with motor sequencing, noticeable in athletic performance, difficulty keeping up with rapidly changing physical directions like in aerobic, dance, and exercise classes. Difficulty with dance step sequences, muscle memory, sports moves., (k) Difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, cards, etc. Often loses track of whose turn it is. Limited strategic planning ability for games like chess., (l) Experiences anxiety during math tasks.



DYSCALCULIA.ORG:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Failing College Algebra, 3.9 GPA Threatened

VISITOR: I have all of the dyscalculia symptoms and am failing college algebra but have a 3.9 GPA overall. If I can't pass this class, I can't finish college. Please help! 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG:

Are you able to drop this math class before it ruins your GPA, or at least get an Incomplete?
Is this a remedial math class or a college-level class?
What is your major?

Immediately go the Disability Services Office and tell them you have a math learning disability (dyscalculia) and your MATH performance will devastate your excellent GPA. They will require official documentation of LD, but ask if they have an Educational Psychology Department on campus where you can go for a diagnosis. 

If they do not, check with your health insurance and see if outpatient psychological services are covered. Then make an appointment for a neuropsychological assessment for math learning disorder. 

We can test you also, if all else fails, see here:  http://www.dyscalculia.org/diagnosis-legal-matters/diagnostic-evaluation

You will need to pursue an alternative path to satisfy your math degree requirements. See here: 


Read about college and dyscalculia: http://www.dyscalculia.org/college-dyscalculia

College Algebra Stumbling Blocks

VISITOR: Thank you for your prompt reply. I attend school at  University online and I am in my sophomore year. Thus far I have completed 40 credit hours. My present class is Math 221 (Introduction to Algebra) and the next class is Math 222 (Intermediate Algebra). I am pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Business leadership with deals mainly with psychology, communication, conflict resolution and motivation. These math classes are part of my general education competencies. 

My plan is to start my own business, and algebra will not even be necessary because my work will involve observance, communication, and creative strategies, which I do very well. However, it is a college requirement; and as I told my advisor, I fear this may be the end of my college pursuit. 
I wrote my advisor another note today, because on my last one he advised me to "work harder" or spend more time (as if that will help). I know that these will not help as this has been a problem since my high school days. Anything that involves memorizing steps or sequences is lost quickly because I have a terrible short-term memory at best, and if I do not understand what I am writing, then even if I write it, I am not going to retain it. How can one retain what they do not comprehend? I wish they understood.

In my email today I told him about dyscalculia and asked if he had heard of it. I will be able to determine the next step upon hearing from him. I am however going to try to drop this class or get an incomplete as you suggested. 

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:

Are Math 221 and Math 222 the college level classes, or are they remedial (not counted toward your degree)? The course numbers look college-level, but the titles do not. 

Please explore the links I sent before so that you know your rights. 

Ask your advisor to refer you to the university's ed psych dept to get tested for a math learning disorder. You must take action immediately.  


Go to ALEKS.com and sign up for a free trial to see if you can benefit. If it works for you, you can ask for an incomplete in Math 221, and an academic adjustment letting you cover the course content in the ALEKS self-paced computer system. The prof will get a login to monitor your progress and set topics, and you'll get an agreement up front that he will use your ALEKS percentage to record your grade for the course. Many universities use ALEKS, so it is not a foreign idea. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Autism and Private School

VISITOR:
My son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder label. He went through public school for 8 years and I have been very happy with their services. He had a parapro for the past 9 years.
He is high functioning and has been admitted to a private parochial High School as a Freshmen. They will modify his curriculum and he will receive a Certificate of Completion upon graduation.
My main concern is that private school does not have a lot of "Life-Skill" programs and I will have to finance his para-pro.  I wanted to find out if I could duel enroll him in Public School to attend shop classes or a Culinary Arts class. 
Lastly, I know public schools provide Auxillary Services to the high school like OT/Speech. Could they provide an auxiliary para-pro while attending private school since it is written into his IEP and private school  would be his least restrictive environment? 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG: 
You need to be working with a transition specialist on transition to high school and vocational prep. 
See information on autism and services: 
Read about the provision of services in private school. ( They can bus him from private to public vocational classes and auxiliary services, but that has to be in the IEP or ISP created with the district.) They will not provide a parapro in the private setting and can't use the private school staff to deliver services.
You also want to ask about speech services and an assistive technology plan. 
In high school,  he may get a counselor from State Rehabilitation Services, to work on his vocational training. Also see the link to info on transition planning. 
Once you read the info at the link above,  you'll be clear about your rights.  You don't want to cut the public schools out entirely. 
I suggest that you objectively visit and interview staff to compare both schools on services, curriculum, supports, culture and climate, and enrichment opportunities. Then place him where he'll get the greatest benefit. 
If he is high functioning, why the certificate of completion and not a diploma? Could he be employing assistive technology to better access the curriculum and communicate more effectively? A CoC eliminates college options. 
It is tough, but parents are the only ones who won't settle for less for their children.  Schools will always choose the practical and the convenient.  Your job is to see what he needs and to make it happen.  You're the orchestra conductor.

Autism and Dyscalculia

VISITOR:  
I have a 13 year old wwith autism who was placed into a math class that is inappropriate - 2-3 years ahead of his ability.  His math teacher for the last two years when asked what level he is on would reply with, "it's hard to say."  This year, due to the fact he is in this inappropriate class, I have been taking him to the store trying to get him to add and round simple numbers such as 8+2.  I am going into an ARD I requested and want to have more information on dyscalculia so I can request that he be evaluated. 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG: 
Our autism info:  
 All you have to do is email his school principal requesting that he be tested for dyscalculia and include the checklist symptoms. (They will protest, saying he already has a classification, but tell them that we need to know if he has it to know how to treat it.) 
Here is the law in Texas:
Apps that you can employ today to help him:
http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/fix 
See our Best Tools pages, too, especially Money.
http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/our-lessons
He should have an assistive technology plan, also see,
http://www.dyscalculia.org/accessibility/at-for-math


Dyscalculia and Calculus

VISITORI have recently been diagnosed with dyscalculia by the ADA office at my university.  Unfortunately I have found your website on this subject too late.  I decided to try to re-take an algebra class that has already caused havoc with my GPA. I had attempted to take calculus over the summer once and carried a B up until the final. Unfortunately that final also landed me a failing mark.   

Because calculus is the real math requirement I need,  I thought I would ask if you knew anywhere that offered Online calculus in an acceptable format?  My current university moves at an incredible pace in math and they’ve only allowed me an extra 15 minutes on exams.     

Any response is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. 


DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  Where do you attend school? Don't waste any more time and money taking remedial or non-degree courses at your school. Use the free and low cost online alternatives listed here to take the necessary foundational courses and even the Calculus needed for your degree.  
Maybe ask Alex how he did it: http://www.dyscalculia.org/mentors/alex

Here are some Calculus tools and course offerings: 
Online Calc course 3-9 months:  http://und.edu/academics/extended-learning/online-distance/courses/math146/. ( You still need to get accommodations for proctored exams. You can talk to the instructor about your disability and get any help that you need.)
and 

Coursera:  Calculus courses:  

Straighter Line:  Calculus courses:  


Alternatives for College Algebra

VISITORI am currently seeking an associates degree at the local community college here in Dayton, Ohio. A few years ago after failing a few math classes, I was tested and diagnosed with dyscalculia. Since then I have been allowed many concessions such as taking the test in the testing center, extra time, tutors and the like. This however has not worked well and caused me to repeat one math class as many as 4 times in order to move on. 
I managed to pass with a C in Intermediate algebra last semester after three other attempts. Due to this constant repeating of math, my  GPA has suffered, and my college career has been drawn out so far that I  have exhausted all financial aid. 
During the terms when I was not taking math classes,  I earned excellent marks including being on the dean's list many times with most being a 4.0. 
I have had no help in the disability office, various deans, academic advisors, and other school officials. Not one person I talked to seems to understand dyscalculia or what it means. 
I am studying criminal justice IT (cyber forensics). I  earned a Cisco network engineering certificate along with other accolades along the way. It pains me to see the frustration, and the emotional toll it takes. 
I am just not sure what to do next.  I am hopeful that your organization might be able to point me in the right direction. I have invested so much time and effort into this endeavor and I do not want it to be all for naught. I only have two math classes left and like I said, Intermediate Algebra took 3 semesters to pass. Statistics and finite math remain and I will graduate with an associates degree.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG(1) First, immediately withdraw from any enrolled math classes at Dayton.

(2) Second, resolve not to take any more math classes at Dayton.

(3) Plot your exact path to Associates Degree completion.
  (i.e. Finite Math and Statistics and the prerequisite skills for each)

(4) Plot alternative pathways to satisfy these requirements using 
    Coursera, Straighterline, ALEKS, and so on. 

(5) Contact Ohio Rehabilitation Services and get help with passing the degree requirements with dyscalculia. They should pay for you to complete your schooling, along with any supports that you need to do so. 
http://www.ood.ohio.gov/Core-Services/BVR/Regional-Offices

(6) Meet with Disability Services at Dayton and craft a transfer plan and degree requirement satisfaction plan before starting courses in the alternative pathways above.

(7) IF Dayton does not agree to the above plans, FILE A CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION COMPLAINT. 

(8) Amy has severe dyscalculia and needs a math course waiver and substitution, but at the associates level, this is difficult to obtain because CCs have articulation transfer agreements with universities and the state, which they cannot change. It is easier to get these in a university, although it is still difficult.

She will at least need MAJOR academic adjustments and accommodations in order to fulfill the math requirements. 

Read up on her rights under our Dyscalculia and College page: 

I can try to advocate for her with the staff at Dayton. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Coping with Dyscalculia

VISITOR: How can I live with dyscalculia? 

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:
You will want to keep a multiplication/times table handy and be practiced in using it, complete with a card to isolate only one fact at a time. You will need to understand what multiplication means (repeated addition), and its relationship to division (repeated subtraction).


But at the most fundamental level, you need to understand the base-ten system used in the USA. You need to know that we have only 10 digits (0-9) that are combined to make all of the numbers, just like we have only 24 letters that are combined to make all of our words.



Just like with letters, digit order matters! As pit is different than tip, 124 is different than 421. You have to be able to explain WHY this is so! Then you will get that it is no shame to triple check that you have the digits in the right order, because it makes a world of difference! It is certainly worth the time and trouble to investigate! 



And once you know that you are plenty smart, but that your brain is prone to these types of mistakes, you will be INVESTED in using strategies to eliminate these mistakes. (Opposite of hating math, avoiding it, and expressing hostility toward it.) 



You can liken it to a man who is color blind. No amount of cursing, trying, willing, or determining, will make him see colors accurately! After getting laughed at for dressing funny or other embarrassments, he'll make sure he has a friend help him label his clothes by color so he can wash and organize them, and dress appropriately! Maybe he'll ask his friend to write on the labels: blu, blk, red, gre, org, brn... No shame there! 



Understand that the math processing center of your brain has a defect that we can't operate on to correct; but we do know that we can use the areas of our brain that work very well, to do some of the work that the damaged area should do. This is a relief because it means that you no longer are expected to try harder, or work longer, to get math! 



NOW YOU KNOW THAT YOU MUST WORK AT MATH  DIFFERENTLY! 



You can't learn math the normal way-- just like a dyslexic person, or a blind person, or deaf person, or an autistic person cannot benefit from typical classroom instruction! 

So, what! 
Because their disabilities are visible, everyone knows that they must use different methods to acquire information, communicate, and navigate life. 


Learning disabilities are just as real, and they also require totally DIFFERENT METHODS.



For more on these methods, see 

http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/our-lessons
http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/money
http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/fix