Monday, January 21, 2019

VISITOR: I am a retired special education teacher who has worked for over 40 years with learning disabled students.  I am currently working with a student who has dyslexia and dyscalculia.  She is currently in 5th grade.  She has modified tests in terms of size of print, number  of problems and extended time limit.  The last concept she worked on was fractions.  The very difficult part for her was comparing fractions.  She was able to do this using cross multiplication and finding a common denominator but could not master (in the short time allotted) using a number line when comparing the fractions to 1/2 and 1 or using number sense. They were not allowed to use a common denominator or cross multiplication during their test. She was very frustrated and anxious. She passed the test but is now fearful of math. The next unit is on finding the greatest common factor.  She uses the list of factors method very well but also has to use prime factorization and the step method on the upcoming test.   
She is the type of student that does not remember the name of the varying methods and confuses the processes of the methods when trying to come up with an answer.  I do not have a problem with exposing her to each method, but is there research that I may use at her iep meeting to convince the participants  that she should be allowed to use the method that works best for her in the testing situation.  The New Jersey standards in 5th grade push these concepts through so quickly that she cannot master all the methods she has been exposed to.  I would appreciate any information, research etc. to help support this accommodation for this very frustrated child.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response.

DYSCALCULIA.ORGIt would be best if you could get constructive assessments to replace paper and pencil tests. A constructive assessment or project is graded on a rubric. How well does the product demonstrate an understanding of the criteria being measured?

The product can be a Prezi presentation, an Explain Everything lesson, an e-book, a website, a traditional presentation or poster, a live performance (demonstration), a study guide, a lesson, a movie, etc. One can use traditional materials, or software, like Kidspiration, Explain Everything, Google Sites, Prezi, or MS One Note.The student must do this for every item they are required to know on an exam. In effect, the student must richly and successfully TEACH the concept, in order to master it, and in the process, will demonstrate mastery!The requirements do not change, only the way in which the student proves mastery. The student creates the product as homework or a combination of classwork and homework.  
The LD student cannot create a product without DEEP UNDERSTANDING of the components. The components are the language (vocabulary, symbols, relationships, decoding, translation, encoding); concepts; rules (what, when, why); procedures (how and why); interpretation within context; and assessment (did I accomplish the objective? successfully? solved problem? answered question? the answer is logical?). 
Constructive assessments are also called "authentic assessments." 
Clearly, the goal here, is personal independence, not dependence on accommodations, like guidance, assistance, and extra time. The student will still use tools, like multiplication charts, JIT references (ex. mathisfun.com), but these are employed during the creative process. The student has not mastered the concept until they can demonstrate their product successfully INDEPENDENTLY (without guidance, assistance). They can demonstrate how they use references, tools, and resources in the process.  
The constructive assessment takes extra time for the teacher to observe, experience, and evaluate, but in the end, it is the most effective form of learning and assessment. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Rehab Professional Needs Dyscalculia Pointers

VISITOR: I’m a rehabilitation professional working with a client who has been tutoring k-3 children who have dyscalculia through a school program that is grant-funded.

He has been successful and wants to continue this work, focusing on dyscalculia without being restricted in other LD areas, like language arts, by school administrators.

Do you have any suggestions?  He’s in the midst of preparation for a teaching license.

DYSCALCULIA.ORGDoes this teacher-to-be need a workshop or online training in dyscalculia teaching tools and strategies? We can set him up and provide a certificate of competency.

If you think administrators will pressure him to address language arts, as well as math, he can advocate for his service by teaching the language of mathematics during his math lessons. This method exponentially increases language acumen and math performance, simultaneously, and is highly effective with students with learning challenges, like dyslexia and dyscalculia.

Certified Teacher Needs Dyscalculia Teaching Resources

VISITORI am writing in the hopes of finding resources and assistance in the area of your dyscalculia.  All three of my daughters have been diagnosed with LD in math.  I'm not surprised because I also suffer from what I call "math phobia".  

I am also a certified teacher, fortunately not in math.  However, I have found it to be impossible to find learning resources, professional development, and tutoring services that provide assistance to students diagnosed with dyscalculia in the US.  I can't ask the school district to provide services if I don't know which strategies or resources to ask for.  Our math and special education teachers aren't trained in how to teach a student with a learning disorder in math.  Surely, there has to be resources out there.  Could you please help me?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: It would be best if you enrolled in lessons and then could use the strategies and tools to help your children, colleagues, and students. 

Here is remedial information:  http://www.dyscalculia.org/dyscalculia/math-ld-remediation
Services:  http://www.dyscalculia.org/home/services
If your school would like a workshop, just let us know.

Music Composer with Severe Dyscalculia & Working Memory Problems

VISITOR I just tought I can share with you my story about discalculia life. I am 27 years-old. I have strong discalculia, but in my case, it's also somehow connected with a disability to play from sheet of music, even though I learned music all my life. I found that whenever I try to learn something, like a piano song, every day I sit to it like I never saw it before. There are exercises in the book about music.  I have played every week for 10 years and everytime, I have difficulty understanding it. It's so complicated for my brain. Every note has its own length, rhythm and pitch, and also belongs to some key, and one should also remember key signature. My biggest passion is music, so I have to do it, but I get tired very fast, and I usually become exhausted from thinking.

For example, I compose music- it looks good, but suddenly I even forget what I am doing, and what key I am in, and it seems there is no memory to store something before I need it again. Does it make any sense? The worst thing, is that my memory and music/math disability is somehow connected to depression and even paranoid states. I take some pills for depression, but am a happy person! I become depressed and paranoid only when I work with numbers, memory, and notes.

I've had this since a young age - it was hard to learn clocks and I was unable to solve basic mathematical questions. But in other disciplines, that don't include math, it seems I am highly intelligent.

I think I have ADHD - it is verry hard for me to spend time with lots of details alone. I try to simplify everything.

Do you have any basic help so that I can learn to function better? I found out that the more impulses and more toughts I have, the more depressed I feel. What is interesting, is that I get (for example at work) exhausted very fast. At the end of the workday, I have difficulty even remembering a sentence in a book I've just read.

If I am with animals or in nature and then go read a book, I can remember more, but my memory gets amazingly short, once I am solving any problem, and it cannot accept any information.

Thanks for any tips that will help. Could I have one more question? 

Could it be somehow connected to low memory difficult, that I have those paranoid states or is it something different? 

For example, today I was analyzing some music in my usual process. I sit alone at the piano and table. I play few chords of a composition, then I see what harmonic secret is hidden behind those progressions and all of those little details I write down on paper under the notes. I use many colors to make a system. I am usually very satisfied because I am becoming really good in recognizing all  the chords and their meanings, BUT, then I begin to feel very hot and my leg starts to move up and down like I am nervous, then I loose my concentration ability, and suddenly I start to repeat and repeat those two or even just one chord and I am like, "Well, I have this chord... and? What do I want to do with it? Aha!"
 
I realize, I want to analyze it, "Well, lets get to it again!" (I get to it again and the whole thing repeats but now a bit faster ) - I forgot what connection this one chord has with other chords and couldn't understund why I am suddenly so slow if I was working very fast few minutes ago. If I didnt stop in this moment (what usually happens because I become very compulsive and passionate about analyzing music (I almost feel like I am decrypting some code of other composer's brain). Then, I become even more nervous and I become sweaty and what's the worst, I loose contact with reality. For example someone calls me to have dinner, and I come to eat, but my brain is in totally dreamy state - I couldn't answer questions very well and this makes me very lonely because it's hard for me to communicate socially, because if I don't work with music, I feel like I am bored or a useless human. 

This happens to me even if I read a book and I get very interested. I lose contact with reality, then I forget the sentence that I  just read and must read it again and again because I keep forgetting it. Even when writing this letter, I got so "IN IT" that I must take some time to relax before doing something normal. - Somehow, it seems I get very anxious about doing stuff once I am passionate or interested about it. 

Thank you for any info - I am like a fairytale figure trying to understand who the hell I am, and what is happening to me, so I could learn to live more relaxed and do my work :).

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Math working memory is your primary problem. This working memory deficit may be visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. You need strategies to mitigate insufficient working memory, especially when doing music or math tasks. Chunk things into  small units. Take the time to deeply understand the task, so that you are not reliant on memory of procedures, but can logically reason the steps and sequences needed to execute a task. Achieve automaticity in note reading and auditory recognition, to take away the huge demand for recall, which when added to demands for sequential memory and visual-spatial and auditory memory, can overwhelm you and result in a state of mental static, where nothing is processed effectively. It would help me to know what country you are writing from and what your primary language is, and if you are using an app to translate your message into English.

I think that you are experiencing mild anxiety attacks or episodes whenever your working memory is maxed out by the tasks at hand. When this happens, you are still aware and are taking in information and are doing things, but your brain is not fully processing the information and you are not fully "engaged," so your work and time spent is not as effective as it should be, and your focus and sustained attention is inefficient. 

It takes a lot of executive function to compose and even play music. Working memory deficit is a strong factor in effective executive function and focus and sustained attention. Employ strategies at all times in order to PREVENT getting to that overwhelmed point. Take frequent breaks with physical activity. Color-coding is an excellent strategy! Reasoning and talking aloud about what you're doing helps, too. Make lists and refer to them often. Dictate your thoughts into a voice recorder on your computer or phone and turn on automatic voice to text so you can see your ideas, too. 

While you are probably able to hyper-focus when really into what you're doing, your brain takes a time-out for you, by losing focus and losing track and becoming overwhelmed in the middle of tasks. So, try to prevent this from happening by setting a visual timer to train yourself to work in productive spurts. 

Please let us know if this helps! 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

British Military Service and Dyscalculia

VISITORI am joining the British Military as a potential Officer, Reserve.

At the same time I am applying for many professional roles such as
investment banking, management consultancy, law and civil service.

The roles I am applying for include numerical and other online tests
which are posing me difficulty even though I have a PhD in
biochemistry and have a self-tested IQ of 133.

I was wondering whether you were able to give any advice as to whether
I would be disallowed from entering the British Military or whether it
would be hard for me (or come with stigma) - as I believe that I do have
some sort of mild impediment and that extra time or mark adjustments
would allow me to get past the online testing stages where I can shine at the job interviews.

Also, do you have a UK counterpart that you might be able to direct me to?

DYSCALCULIA.ORGAvoid jobs requiring number facility if you are dyscalculic. 

We cannot advise you on policy of the British Military, however, we suggest a general inquiry about admission for those with disabilities. 

As far as extra time or academic adjustments, you'll need comprehensive assessment and thorough documentation of disability.

There are several dyscalculia experts and research centers in the UK. (We also can assess you for dyscalculia.) 

UK Resources:
University of Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology - Dr. Roi Cohen Kadosh - Dyscalculia Study

University College London - Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
Dr. Brian Butterworth
 (London, England)

+61 3 8344 6377
Cognitive Neuroscientist

Tony Attwood
(England)



Dyscalculia in Schools

Methods of Teaching...Dyscalculia


Number Sense (PC Games, APPS)



 
Institute of Education- London

Sunday, October 22, 2017

12-year-old can't do her math! How will she graduate?

VISITORI am mom to a beautiful, artistic 12 year old daughter. She was born at 28 weeks, although her size (1lb 15oz) indicated she was closer to 26 weeks. No major complications occured while we spent two months visiting our preemie baby in the NICU. Her eyes and all other body parts are perfectly formed. Our daughter has always experienced anxiety with the unknown, stress, and math. Learning disabilities became quickly apparent by 1st grade. 
Thank goodness we had a teacher that had a special education background and could guide us. She qualified under reading, reading comprehension and math. Math has always been a struggle for her. She has many holes in her math connections dating back to kindergarten. It takes us working together every night to conquer her math homework. While her teachers have been phenomenal in supporting our daughter we are afraid of what the future holds. 
We have looked over the checklist for dyscalculia and are very confident that our Read daughter is battling through this. She will be heading into 7th grade in the fall. Her teachers, resource teachers, and us have worked diligently to try to offer as much support as possible as she heads to junior high school. I never like to say one of my children can't do something BUT, I feel that making her have to take all required grade-level math is a recipe for disaster.  This is why I'm contacting you. 
Will having her formally diagnosed give her and us time flexibility as to what her fulfilment will be for graduation? I love helping her with her work but when I'm holding her hand throughout most of it, something needs to give. Most everyone I've asked about dyscalculia has not had a clue to what it is! I would love to have some guidance from someone who has "been there and done that", so to speak. Both of our daughters do attend a public school in Michigan. Thank you for taking the time and patience to help us answer these tough questions.  

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You already have a dyscalculia diagnosis, but school called it a specific learning disability in mathematics. You need to understand what causes the math difficulties and what to do about these. She needs 20 minutes per day working with money to acquire place value understanding and understanding of counting, multiplication, subtrsaction, and division. She will be able to do these mentally with proper training. You will need to employ several strategies to work through arithmetic with dyscalculia: reasoning aloud, illustrating, using money to act out concepts, counting using visual patterns, color-coding operations, and having quick access to references to compensate for retrievel/memory difficulty (mathisfun.com). In high school, if she is unable to do the algebra required by the school district, she can get a PERSONAL CURRICULUM, which may substitute Consumer Math for the required algebra. She will get a diploma, but will need special advising and advocacy at the college level, because she'll need to address the college algebra requirements. For everyday help, start with these resources and adopt these practical strategies:
Manage It | Conquer It | Fix It | To Do | How to Learn Math | Accessing Math | Appreciating Math | Best Math Tools | College and Dyscalculia

If you'd like comprehensive testing for learning disabilities, including dyscalculia, see these instructions.

Watch a video explaining dyscalculia symptoms and global research

If you'd like a phone consultation or individualized help, text your name, location, and requests to (313) 300-1901

Friday, October 20, 2017

Special Ed Teacher Needs Help for Dyscalculic Student

VISITORI'm a special needs math teacher in Miami. I just found your website and I'm thankful I did. We have several kids at our school with dyscalculia and we've found that the earlier the come to us the more we can do for them. But I have a particularly difficult case that I was hoping you could help me with. 

I teach a 13-year old male student with severe dyscalculia. He has no concept of time (10 minutes is the same as an hour to him), no understanding of money and his numeration is extremely under developed (he can only do "before/after/between" with single-digit numbers, no understanding of place value, etc). Comprehension, both of written and oral directions, is weak and his memory (working, long-term) is well below average. Needless to say he can only recall addition facts up to "2." Facts beyond that and for any other operation don't exist.
 
He works comfortably on a calculator and he can work out most problems, but he doesn't understand what any of it means and he needs to be directed. And this is an intelligent kid. He knows more about the civil war and American politics than every TEACHER I know! 
What I have found that could address some of his issues are really aimed at younger children and I'm afraid he would see them as work for "babies." Plus he's supposed to be heading off to high school in a year or two and time is against us. Is there a program or a curriculum for older students with severe dyscalculia? Is there something I can do that will at the very least prepare him for life?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  Yes, there is hope for this smart but dyscalculic student! Read about the nature of dyscalculia and adopt these practical strategies:
Manage It | Conquer It | Fix It | To Do | How to Learn Math | Accessing Math | Appreciating Math | Best Math Tools 
 
Understand Place Value with Money graphic

Dyscalculia.org has developed free money lessons to use with students to teach these concepts: counting, place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, negative and positive numbers, rounding, estimation, long division, trading up, and pre-algebra. See:  Money Lessons.  Our Language of Math & Money Lessons
 
Watch a video explaining dyscalculia symptoms and global research.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Thank You for the Consultation!

VISITORThank you so much for your consultation!  My daughter and I were in separate rooms during the phone call so I couldn't see how she was reacting.  She was so relieved and excited when she got off the phone with you.  We both agreed that we wished you lived here.😀. You have a way of making her feel comfortable, and not stupid, but motivated at the same time. 
I ordered the Math on Call book, but have been wrestling with my computer, so we haven't been able to start anything yet.  She's at a church youth event today and has to buy her own dinner, which always makes her nervous.  She was wishing she had been able to work on something, but said she will just give the money to the waitress and hope for the best.  Thank you for encouraging her!!  I am so grateful for you.

DYSCALCULIA.ORGRead Math on Call for fun. Read math glossaries and illustrated dictionaries for fun. Get math books from the library. Illustrate, map, form an opinion, and talk about the math and the math language in what you read. Start figuring out tips, sales tax, and discounts using dimes and pennies. Carry a pouch of coins and small bills with you to figure things out.  You are going to be smarter than a math teacher pretty soon. Teach it to own it! You've got this! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Math Limits Me - But I Can Write!

VISITORA very bright and creative older adult I just needed to be reassured that I am not yet crazy. I have lived with extremely limited mathematical ability all of my life. It affects me in many ways - it's hard to hold a job, keep from getting cheated, remember birthdays and to pay bills. I can write books, tell stories and almost anything involved in the arts including singing, but I cannot remember the words to anything and never have.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Try reading, "A Mind for Numbers, How to learn math and science, even if you flunked Algebra" by Dr. Barbara Oakley. Dr. Oakley flunked out of high school math and science and later in life, figured out how to learn math, and became an electrical engineer and then college professor. She shows you how she went from not being able to tell time on a face clock, to successfully tackling math.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dyscalculia Dx Rejected by College

VISITOR:  I am working with a young man with severe dyscalculia—who is having problems getting into a 4 yr college.  His psychiatrist has diagnosed him with a mathematics disorder—but the school is not accepting it.

Is there a specific test that can be done, to help him prove he has the disability so he can get the math waiver and still graduate with a BA?     Thank you for your assistance.  
         - California Department of Rehabilitation Worker
DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  The school cannot deny that he has a disability. They can request that his documentation meet certain requirements, but once met, they cannot refuse to accept that he has a learning disability. They do not have to grant a math waiver, if math is integral to his course of study. Please see this document about Best Practices for College Math Course Waivers and Substitutions, and our waiver and substitution page.  He can also file a complaint with the OCR using this form. The school should also have an appeal and grievance policy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Special Ed Teacher Needs Math Help

VISITOR: I just found this site and I am a bit overwhelmed. I have been teaching students who have been identified as having learning disabilities for about 30 years. Some I have real questions about. I do know they are behind their peers academically. Most have “gaps” in their learning that I have tried to help them with by using different methods or just having them in smaller groups.  Math is an area that I would like to learn more about to help my students, I am currently working with third and fourth grade students who have difficulty with all basic operations especially regrouping in addition and subtraction.  Multiplication is very difficult for my fourth graders. I have tried different strategies, but I feel I need something else. Can you recommend something that I can use or something I can read?  One student has me really confused when she is doing multiplication.

Thank you, I would appreciate any help you can give me,
-Elementary Resource Teacher in South Carolina 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG: 1. Substitute constructive assessments for cumulative paper tests: student creates instructional lessons as video, animation, slides, Webs, illustrations, demonstrations. Grade with rubric.

2. Math exams & practice: single digits, simplify, use handbook, reference, examples, or take-home

3. Extended time (3x) for math learning, assignments, assessments, courses, "independent study.

4. Proof of mastery before testing, and ability to retest until > 80% mastery is achieved.

5. Allow multiple opportunities to succeed on tests, practice, quizzes, projects.

6. Preview lessons with instructor. Get detailed homework and test feedback.

7. Supervised 1:1 exams for monitoring of unconscious dyscalculic/retrieval/procedural errors.

8. Halve number of practice problems and exam items; simplify, single digits, test only practiced.

9. Mandatory calculator use to learn, practice and test (w/ audio feedback & earbud).

10. Color-code to organize; isolate digits/rows/columns; use graph paper to minimize errors.

11. Always talk through, illustrate, and demonstrate quantitative ideas for learning, practice, and tests.

12. Pass-fail grading for math classes, to prevent disability's impact on GPA.

13. Change grades in failed math courses to FAIL and recalculate GPA to mitigate impact.

14. Assistive Technology for math & writing tasks: [talking] calculator apps, programmed instruction, visualization and organization apps, drag & drop apps, digital texts, speech-to-text tools, proof reader.

15. Study the language of math (affixes, morphology, syntax, decoding & encoding.)

16. Avoid unproductive, frustrating, stressful instruction and methods; seek alternatives.

17. Earn transferrable college math credits before high school graduation: transition plan.

18. Tier 2/3 RtI/MTSS intensive remediation - 30 min x 5 days/week: place value w/ money.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Math Disability, No GED, No Degree

VISITOR:  Yes. I am 42 and I still do not have my GED. I have tried and failed. I was in Special Education classes in Junior High School. I always had a very difficult time with Arithmetic and Mathematics. I was told that I simply had a mental block. I've been trying to study for my GED again and I finally decided to search the internet for information about my extreme inability to comprehend mathematics. I found this website. I took community college courses in psychology. I scored higher on some of the exams than anyone else in the classes. I was told by my psychology professor that I could certainly acquire a Masters Degree in psychology but since there was no way I could complete the advanced mathematics classes and did not have a GED I could not continue progressing in the class. I watched the video entitled "Dyscalculia Signs & Research" and the people there with dyscalculia were doing exactly what I have always done. Counting the dots one by one. Adding on their fingers like me. Making all sorts of marks and equations on the scratch paper and counting out the numbers to do multiplication problems. I also do not have any memory for mathematics and always end up forgetting how to work through basic multiplication and division problems. I cannot visualize the numbers and the problems at all. I can't comprehend even basic fractions. I am certain that I have dyscalculia. I am here to fill out the checklists and to begin seeking ways to be tested so that the system can't railroad me anymore with mathematics that I am not competent at understanding.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  Psychology will require statistics.  You can get from here to there, but quite differently than others.  You will need intensive and specific accommodations and academic adjustments.  First get tested so your disability is legally documented. Then prepare for the GED.  Apply to a college that will accommodate your dyscalculia. Although all colleges should, few know what to do.  Start here: 
Here's some helpful information for beating dyscalculia:


If you need diagnostic testing, see:  Testing by Dyscalculia.org

Monday, September 19, 2016

Number Switches but Generally Good at Math...Is it dyscalculia?

VISITORAfter doing some research I think I could potentially have a form of dyscalculia. While I am not 100% sure by any means I wanted to contact someone to see what's going on with me. 

To start I have always been fairly decent at math, it does take me a little bit to process the information but I am actually able to get by and don't have too much of an issue solving complex problems (I even took a test to see if I have dyscalculia and got a 100% correct on it  in a short amount of time without even struggling).
 
The issue I tend to have is what I could only call a jumbling of numbers. I regularly see a number and flip the numbers around. For example; just today I ran a deposit at my bank and ran it for 257.68 I saw the transaction was out of balance and couldn't figure out why. I had to look again and saw that it was actually 258.67. 
This happens quite frequently where I see one number and then realize that I somehow rearranged the order of  some of the numbers and got a different similar set of numbers. I find if I take my time and really pay attention and concentrate on what I am looking at  with each individual number I am fine. 
As someone who is good at math I find it really frustrating to have this issue, especially when I get things wrong because I misread normal numbers. Is this a form of dyscalculia or is it something else? 
DYSCALCULIA.ORG:

Your logic, reasoning, directional sense, sequential memory, memory for math facts and procedures,  and even your working memory must all be sufficient to perform complex quantitative tasks. Your problem seems to be isolated to digit processing. So while you eyes see fine (perception), the order of the digits is not entirely fixed. The visual impression of the numbers is somewhat weak or ambiguous, and during processing, the brain recalls them inaccurately when it comes to taking action on them, like during thinking about, reading, speaking or writing the numbers. 

Knowing that you are prone to this processing glitch, you must triple check place value by isolating numbers and thinking, "8 pennies, 6 dimes, 7 dollars, a fifty, and two hundreds...less than 300." Then look at the whole number and say it, "two hundred fifty seven and 68 cents."  Isolate the digits and compare again after you have written or entered them. In other words, because the brain receives WEAK impressions of numbers, you need to DELIBERATELY pay attention to the order of the numbers and articulate some judgement or opinion about them. Triple check, and assure accuracy.  When there is no room for error (like when something is being sent to the printer), ask someone to check your numbers for accuracy to avoid costly mistakes. And just admit it, sometimes you unconsciously make digit sequencing errors, like some other people make spelling errors. 

It is a very common characteristic of dyscalculia, which contributes greatly to inaccuracies and frustration.  You are lucky that you don't have all of the other conditions that further frustrate number processing and performance.