Saturday, January 29, 2011

College Student with Dyslexia & Dyscalculia

VISITORHi.  I encountered your website while searching on Google. To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with Dyslexia when I was about 5/6 years old. My mom noticed that I was not understanding basic math  concepts and not able to read or even right my name. My mom brought it to the attention of the school who at first refused to test me because of the cost but with help of a very influential community leader my mom along with the help of my aunt succeeded.
On occasion, I was removed from the class to get help with my reading and writing development. Then, when I started the 3rd grade my teachers didn't know what to do with me when I wasn't understanding subtraction and multiplication. Their solutions to the problem was for the aide to take me to the library and work on geography or silly little assignments that had nothing to do with what I was not understanding. Many times during the IEP meetings my mom was told that I would never go beyond 3rd grade level math. This continued on until the 5th grade. It wasn't until 6th grade that I had a special class period "resource" where I would receive individual attention with help with home assignments.
During these three years, the school thought it would be beneficial for me to not take a science like all the other students and to switch my regular math class for a special Ed math. To say the least,  I don't believe the teacher was qualified to be a special ed math teacher.
My story isn't complete..... I am 22 years old and continue to struggle with basic arithmetic. I feel very ashamed and embarrassed.  The school recognized my disability as dyslexia. I don't know why the schools never tested so i could have the title of also having dyscalculia. I feel that my college refuses to recognize me as a person with a real disability because I physically look like everyone else. It is now time for me to take action! I am reaching out for help! Are you aware of any legal rights or people that I could turn to in my state if California?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG:  I am sorry to hear that the California school system mishandled your education. I will assure you that we will work with you to find a solution to your problems. 

To start, you should look at the general guidance for young adults:

Where are you attending college? Please send me the name and email of your dean or advisor and also please send the same info for the director of special student services. I will send them information about your disabilities and request appropriate accommodations for you. What I will ask for is similar to the information found here:

I think you will find some relief in reading what researchers think causes dyscalculia.

We will try to match you with a local expert, if you share your location. 

Also, you are going to need assistive technology to succeed in college. We need to bring this to the attention of your instructors. Here are some ideas: There are regional AT lending libraries that may be able to help you obtain the AT but your school loans and school funding can also be used to purchase the tools you need to succeed. I recommend that you get the electronic versions of your text books. 

If you tell me more about the courses you are taking and their format, I can more adequately find the resources for you. As always, we want to use the most simple, inexpensive, and easily available tools to make the curriculum accessible to you and to provide opportunities for you to successfully interact with, practice and apply new information, and ultimately demonstrate mastery of it. Hang in there. Help is on the way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adult needing financial and diagnostic assistance.

VISITOR: I was home-schooled, but my family didn't know how to deal with my learning disability. I was officially diagnosed with something (they never told me what because they didn't believe in labels) 11 years ago. I apparently failed all my math and science classes for high school and though I have community college credit that I was able to transfer to a university, I have dropped out of college four times now because of my disability. I cannot get help without new documentation and last year I was homeless because no GED= no job. 

I did well in piano and though I can read music I cannot deal with time signatures beyond your basic 3/4 and 4/4 timing. As far as math concepts I understand on a regular basis: addition, subtraction, multiplication up to 10x10, simple division, simple cooking fractions. Decimals and anything higher than that alludes me. 

The evaluation cost on this site is my entire month's paycheck. I don't know where to get evaluated; my husband is disabled and I have no job and thus no insurance. It is also highly suspected that I may have Asperger's syndrome, shown mostly in social areas. 

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You may qualify for state assistance from the regional rehabilitation office. Adults can get help through the State Rehabilitation Services Office (find my state's VRS office).
To start, do the following: Begin a formal journal/binder to track documents, process & progress. Journal details of every action, conversation, & relevant experience and put a copy of all documents and emails into the binder.

Fill out and print 3 copies of the LD Checklist

Adults should compose a letter addressed to the State Rehabilitation Coordinator for your zip code requesting that you be tested for disabilities in the areas indicated on your checklist. (You must apply to the agency for help and meet eligibility tests.)

If you have health insurance that covers outpatient psychological services, you can seek a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation for learning disabilities. If not possible, seek an evaluation for learning disabilities by a licensed clinical psychologist. Be sure to give the doctor a copy of your checklist. 

Once you have a diagnosis and recommendations, take your documentation to your employer, advisor, college dean and director of special student services to arrange for appropriate accommodations and assistive technology.

Read about Law concerning College Students with DisabilitiesSelf-Advocacy in College; and a Supreme Court Judge with Dyslexia.   ADVICE FOR COLLEGES: BEST PRACTICES FOR MATH LD STUDENTS

For more information, consult the primer on Special Education Law & Process.

I don't want to avoid math, but I can't retain it!

VISITOR: Yes please. I'm in college. They've allowed me to put off taking math classes for now, but only until next year or the summer. Due to my inability to successfully pass a math class. I have not taken a math class since my first semester of my senior year in high school (I'd tell you how long it's been, except that naturally, I'd take me a while to figure out and I'd rather not if your don't mind. I'm a 2nd semester freshman in college now if that helps), so what little math I was retaining has gone completely. An advisor here suggested I use my ADHD accommodations to get me out of math permanently, but I don't want to do that. Not knowing math would cripple my future options and hinder any career I wanted to pursue. Are there any workbooks or programs I can use to learn math before I need to take a class?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Yes! Look at all of these resources: 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Been avoiding math! How can I face it?

VISITOR: I really want to go back to college but for years i've stayed away in  fear of anything having to do with numbers.  I know I will have to deal with trying to learn math; Is there anything that can help me get through this?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You will want to see our list of the best tools out there for learning math when you have dyscalculia.

Can't pass pre-algebra in college

VISITOR: I am a 50 year old woman who has struggled in math all through grade and high school. I am now in college and wanted to get into the RN program. I do well in my other classes but am failing pre-algebra. I go to the math lab for tutoring every free period I have. Then when I take a test I can't remember anything. I need help. Thank You.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Please see this article about making math accessible for college students with dyscalculia.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thanks for this site!

VISITOR: I have suffered with this my whole life. I was ridiculed my entire childhood by parents and teachers. I was even punished  multiple times by my P.E teacher for not being able to add my bowling scores! I could read at a college level in 6th grade and was an A+ student in Science but I couldnt do 5th grade math. I had to quit band because I couldnt grasp reading music. Wow this website has changed my life. I looked it because of a work issue. My boss keeps trying to train me on an accounting program which I cant figure out no matter how she tried to teach it. I showed her this site and I think she understands now what's wrong. Thank You so much!!

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You are welcome!

College Grad with Dyscalculia & Spelling Difficulty

VISITOR: I'm not sure where to begin when asking for help.  
I have struggled my whole life with math and spelling and just do not understand it.  I am raising a family and experiencing my struggles all over again as I try to help my 11 year old daughter with her math and spelling challenges.  One method that helps my daughter to learn math is the Touch Math method.  As for spelling, her teacher just encourages my daughter to keep reviewing.  She has Sensory Processing Disorder, so tapping and touching objects helps her to process math and spelling that seems to float on her page.  I guess I am just hoping that someday the light bulb will come on in my mind to say "Yes that's how you are supposed to complete the math problem!"  I would also like to be able to spell words correctly the first time and not always rely on spell check or the dictionary.  When working on math, I always try my best to complete a math problem.  However, that is just what it becomes, a problem that I do not seem to remember the basic steps in order to complete.  I have been evaluated by a disabilities organization in my state. Their findings were that I have a math disability. They believe that I should continue the coping methods I have been using all my life since it has allowed me to complete a BFA Degree.  The only down side is I basically failed all my math and science courses in college.  

My challenge obtaining my BFA was to hide the fact that to this day I still do not understand how to use a ruler to measure.  Somehow I can create wonderful art pieces.  I hope this may help you understand my struggles.  I also hope that you may be able to guide me in the right direction to better understanding math.
DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you have dyslexia and dyscalculia. For dyslexia, I recommend the Orton-Gillingham method. If this is not successful, try the Davis Method. You may also want to explore Dr. Harold Levinson's treatment. As for spelling, here is a nice one-pager explaining why spelling is difficult for all but those with a very good visual memory for printed words. For math, I recommend our Best Math Tools. Here are some books about Math Dyslexia. Here are great tools for Dyscalculia Remediation. Feel free to contact us again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Senior has not passed math class since 6th grade

VISITORMy daughter is a senior in high school who has not passed a math class since the 6th grade. We have verbally requested a learning disability request several times and are now sending in a written request.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Amazing that this has never made it onto a teacher or administrator's radar. Follow this guidance for children 17 and older.
Publish Post

Dyscalculia Diagnosis @ Univ. of Washington, Seattle

VISITOR: Yes, where can I get tested? I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to math and I feel like crying everytime I do higher math because I keep making stupid mistakes! Sometimes I stare at numbers for the longest time trying to figure out my mistake but I cannot see it. 3's look like 8's to me a lot of the times! Please help. I am in Seattle, WA and I attend University of Washington.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Here are some resources for you at the University of Washington: (1) Accommodations for LD Students in Math & Science; (2) Using Computers & MathML to reach students with Math LD; (3) How UW Instructors should accommodate LD students; Univ. Washington DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking & Technology) to address disabilities in education; (4) Rights & Responsibilities.    WHERE TO GET TESTED: Contact Professor Virginia W. Berninger in Educational Psychology at the U of Washington, Seattle: 322 Miller Hall, Box 353600, Seattle, WA. Email:  Here is a presentation by Prof. Berninger: Differential Diagnosis & Treatment for ....and Dyscalculia.

Education Corner

VISITORJust wanted to recommend as a resource for the links/resource section of your website. Thought this would be a good resource for your website visitors.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Thank you! It is a handy resource.

Can't pass college algebra, degree out of reach.

VISITORI think I have a math related learning disability. I seem to be able to learn math skills, but then I can be confident about my knowledge and ability, and suddenly the information is just gone.

I have other issues sometimes with names and faces, but the biggest problem that I have been unable to cope with is having to re-learn math over and over, and then keep failing my college classes. I seem to be okay up until I start getting into fractions, and percentages. After that, my mileage may vary.

I keep trying to explain to people that this isn't just "text anxiety" or anything like that. It doesn't usually happen during tests. It happens when I think I've learned a math skill, and am perfectly confident in my ability to do the problem. The information is just gone. I didn't have any anxiety about it. I was convinced that I knew what I was doing.

I just barely scraped by my Math 20 class, attempted math 60 twice, and failed both times. (pre algebra and algebra 1 respectively) which led to me losing my financial aid for college. I'm at a loss of what to do, as I'm wanting to get my art degree, but that requires me to pass a college level algebra class, which I'd been trying to work up to with the other math classes.

I don't know how to get tested, have no money to get tested, my GPA is in shambles, and I have no idea where to turn to, or if there's anything I can do to ever even get a degree. I've tried tutors, that's how I managed to pass math 20, but that didn't seem to help for math classes higher than that.

So, I don't really know what I can do, but I need help. Without a college degree, it doesn't look like I can get anywhere.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Start with our guidance for adults with math learning disability. Also see our resources on College and Math Learning Disability.

Transposing Numbers

VISITOR: My boss asked me today if I was dyslexic which I promptly said no, but then she asked why I seem to transpose written numbers a lot which I'm aware that I do with writing, not so much with typing. I did a search on the internet and found out about Dyscalculia. Other than basic addition I've always had a problems with math, but was always an above average reader with excellent spelling and writing capabilities, so the thought of having some sort of learning disability like dyslexia never entered the picture until today.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You may have dyscalculia. Here's a checklist of symptoms.

The GRE Test and Dyscalculia

VISITORTrying to figure out if it is common to transpose numbers. It take me 3-4 times to do simple addition or subtraciton on a calculator just to ensure that I am right. It is very frustrating, and I am worried it may affect my ability to go back to school for my Master's Degree, specifically if I need to take a GRE test with heavy math.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: If you have dyscalculia, you may transpose numbers without being aware of it. You may transpose numbers when reading, recording, verbalizing, recalling, or processing. For instance, you may enter you ATM pin backwards, say 6347 instead of 4763, especially when under pressure to recall it (like at the checkout), or you may totally be unable to recall it. At an ATM machine, this will likely result in your card being sucked in, and then you have to get it later. This especially seems to happen with common sets of numbers like your locker combination, PINs, and passwords. You may have to keep a handy reference card but don't make it easy for a thief to figure out what code belongs to what thing.  GRE & Test Takers with Disabilities: Official Information & Contacts. Also see: Accommodations allowed. New LD Documentation News. How to register for the GED if you have a disability.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Math LD and dyslexia! Help!

VISITOR: All of the above apply to my ten year old granddaughter. After years of school failure I am home schooling her.  She was diagnosed to be dyslexic at age 6.  We use the Calvert program with Verticy for Orton Gillingham phonics/spelling materials.  The math, however is completely unattainable.  After three months of home schooling I am convinced there has to be more to her inability to grasp and retain simple math concepts. She can't process simple addition or subtraction, never mind mastering multiplication tables.  We live in FL. Can you help us?  I am running out of patience which is destructive. HELP!

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You need a plan. (1) Follow the guidance for children under 17. (2) Create an accommodation plan. (3) Create an assistive technology plan. (4) Create a plan for remediation. MORE RESOURCES: Books & Tools. How to make math accessible to dyscalculics. Math dyslexia.

GRE with MLD, College & Dyscalculia?

VISITOR: The math sections of standardized tests such as the GRE and the Praxis is a source of anxiety. I'm afraid of doing so poorly on these that they will negatively affect my applications to graduate school or an educator's license. Are letters from appropriate experts explaining dyscalculia and attestation to me having his learning disorder recognized by universities and boards of education (who grant teaching licenses)? If so, what "expert" do I need to see to make this official?

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Yes dyscalculia is a recognized learning disability. For help with standardized testing and college issues, see COLLEGE & MATH LD. Notice other links on the side. Here is a sample letter to the college director of disabled student services.

Any hope for college with dyscalculia?

VISITOR: I really want to go back to college but for years i've stayed away in  fear of anything having to do with numbers.  I know I will have to deal with trying to learn math; Is there anything that can help me get through this?