Thursday, October 10, 2013

Game Confusion! Is it Dyscalculia?

VISITORI am wanting to know more about whether or not I have Dyscalculia after having read various articles on the subject. All of this research came about yesterday as a result of playing a game of Triopoly--a more complex game inspired by Monopoly-- with my husband, in which I had such difficulty solving the subtraction and addition of money I had to collect or pay,  that at one point, I had to fight back the tears because it was quite obvious that he could see I had a problem. You see, I knew I was no longer going to be able to hide the fact that I had a problem with solving certain basic math equations, retaining their formulas, and conceptualizing them effectively in my mind. I was so frustrated and embarrassed because out of all the subjects involved in education, MATH, was my biggest problem. No pun intended. All my teachers have recognized that I am intelligent and highly articulate; however, my math scores have been consistently low. Math is the only subject that makes me feel dumb-as-a-rock-stupid. But last nights game of Triopoly was the straw that broke the camel's back. I frankly told my husband that the numbers get jumbled in my mind to such an extent that I cannot solve many equations properly, or if I can solve them it takes longer than what is average because of how the numbers and or formulas tend to distort and get lost in these situations. My brain also seems to freeze, and a wave of anxiety overwhelms me so that I cannot even think. It's awful! The subject of Dyslexia followed my confession of the number problem, and after thinking about Dyslexia more, I wondered if there was a "math version" of it since there seemed to be some similarities between my symptoms and those of Dyslexia. It did not take long for me to discover that Dyscalculia does exist and that I have many of the symptoms that fit for that diagnosis. What I want to know is where to go from here. I also need to explain to an expert my educational situation (history), as it is a bit unusual and may be an obstacle in collecting evidence for this condition in the process of getting a proper diagnosis. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. 

It certainly sounds as if you suffer with dyscalculia. 

Here is basic guidance for adults:
    Guidance for adults.

When getting evaluated, ask these questions:
(1) Do I have health insurance that covers a neuropsychological evaluation? a clinical psychological evaluation? an ed psych eval?
(2) What relief will a diagnosis provide me? Is it worth the expense?

We can evaluate you, but if you disclose your location, we may be able to point you to a local expert. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chronically Miss Deadlines: Advice?

VISITORWould I be able to receive assistance with suggestions and or strategies
that I can utilize at work?  I process Equal Employment cases for the military.  The bulk of my job consists of case processing deadlines and I usually am not able to meet the deadlines.  Once I end up processing over four cases at a time I end up missing the deadlines.  Although, at the same time with processing complaints, I also work on customer service and administration case processing as well. Anyway, I just feel that I am unable to pull everything together and I am unable to be successful at work.  I am always behind/late and I have to put in many extra hours of work, on a daily bases, just to try to keep up with my work. I appreciate any assistance.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: You've done a great job assessing your situation. 
You have some choices:
(a) ask for a job transfer with different responsibilities
(b) deliberately learn to use tools to make task management more efficient.
It could be that you are being asked to do too much in too little time.
This is common these days, as less people have to do more work.
But, how can you accomplish as much as possible in the time given?
Dyscalculia is a disability that limits your time management ability because you lack the awareness of how much time is going by.
To counter this problem, put clocks everywhere, and train yourself to look at them and make a verbal comment about what time it is and how that relates to your task list.
Use your smart phone, PC or tablet to to set up your schedule with audio reminders.
Limit distractions that interfere with you staying on task: visitors, chatting, email, web surfing, social media, phone calls, ....
Maybe come to work an hour early to get the most important things done before the office gets busy.
YOU CAN DO this! It will be difficult because it does not come naturally and will take a lot of effort to set up PRACTICES that ensure your efficiency.
Think about it. You can see, hear, move, smell...your timing "muscle" in your brain is weak. YOU have to strengthen it so it can be reliable! That takes exercising and practicing time management skills until they are automatic! It will be hard and take EFFORT but you can do it, just as a blind person can learn to walk around town without getting killed.
List all the tasks you are responsible for.
Break them into accomplishable steps.
Ask: Is there anyone else who could or should do this for me? (Are you doing everything yourself instead of getting help when you could?)
If someone were asking YOU for advice in managing this situation, what would you tell THEM? I know you would have great advice to give, so apply it to your own problem.
Remember this: Your brain will release chemicals that make your thinking and memory better if and when you are engaged in challenging but achievable tasks. When you are stressed, your brain releases cortisol that puts it into survival mode (fight, flight, or freeze modes) and shuts down the reasoning and memory centers.
AVOID STRESS because it interferes with your ability to do your job and be successful at work! Set up tasks so that they are pleasurable, accomplished as expected with effort, and experience the satisfaction of completing tasks successfully. Your brain will release dopamine = pleasure = more memory = positive attitude & expectations toward work = resilience = persistence in spite of challenges and errors = regular success = new pattern in brain of operating efficiently and expecting and achieving success and getting the pleasure that brings.
You can do this. No one can do it for you. Remember that everything you do is chemical. Efficient brain processing requires a perfect chemical  STATE, that we know as a good mood, positive attitude, challenges that are not too hard (= frustration) but not too easy (= boredom). When that STATE is present, your mind works at problem solving and memory storage and retrieval efficiently.
Let me know how you are going to tackle this.
I have this same disability and I'm speaking from experience. Where you are chronically late, you can train yourself to be chronically early! And "chron" means TIME! So set up your tasks in chronological order (to be done first, second, third) and assign time estimates to them. Set goals, and make it a game to meet them. When you find yourself in a rut of negativity, defeat, failure, tardiness, and frustration, STOP AND CHANGE YOUR MIND (this negative state will only result in more disaster!) Seriously, you need to take a break and go get happy! You need to reorganize your day so each task results in a happy outcome. Resolve to smile and triumph. Don't be defeated, ask for help. There's no shame in getting help to STAY in a POSITIVE STATE of mind. It is essential to doing your job well and being successful in life.
P.S. One more word about getting happy: Don't go for a alcoholic drink or a smoke or any other action that hinders your brain's ability to create that OPTIMAL STATE. Go for a walk, or a run, or visit with a friend or loved one, write a poem, paint a picture, thank God,  or do something refreshing for your body and spirit. Always be thinking about achieving that STATE of MIND that allows you to be in control of your world. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dyscalculic 7th Grader Reaches Out

I'm right now in middle school, about to finish 7th grade. My entire life, ever since 1st grade, I've struggled tremendously with math. I used to go to special groups for math, because I was way behind everyone else. Every summer I did math workbooks, so I wouldn't be left behind. It took me forever to learn my multiplication, I still count with my fingers, even for simple addition or subtraction. I write down 3 instead of 13. I always fail math, and I feel so stupid. I never understand the lesson my teacher explains, and I can never do my homework without someone to help me the whole time. My teacher will say to do a problem, and I'll sit there not knowing what to do. She thinks I'm helpless, and don't care. I have such a hard time, and I get terrible grades in math. Please help me, I'm going through a hard time! Thanks so much.  
DYSCALCULIA.ORGI am quite impressed with your note! I will help you. I have time to talk if you want to call: 313-300-1901.

The first step is to accept that you have natural math processing limitations that are caused in the brain and which you cannot control or will to get better.  Learn all you can about your problem. 

The second step, is to challenge yourself to TRY to learn and perform the basic mathematical tasks of life using common tools, like your iPhone, iPAD, laptop, etc. 

The third step is to use tools to get through the math required in elementary, middle, high school and college. Check this out and tell me if you'd be willing to try it. You should be doing all your math classes in a program like ALEKS. Your school can set this up for you, or you can do the curriculum as a homeschooler during your math period at school on the computer and use the teacher for assistance. (This requires school cooperation, use as RTI, or a school evaluation for MLD, and an IEP or a personal curriculum). 

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in math. Read this to see what that means for you:

See if you can relate to this letter I wrote to my college math teacher almost 30 years ago:

Share  this email with your parents. They need to follow the guidance here:

You have much to look forward to! Understanding your condition will help you live with it successfully. This is a great time to get help! You can take charge of managing your learning and your future. I will help you get the knowledge and power to do that. 

Feel free to tell me more about your talents and interests. 

HELP! 17-year-old with 4th grade Math level

VISITOROur 17 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed with Dyscalculia. She has strong reading and writing skills.  She is currently testing at a 4th grade math level.  Vocational rehabilitation service will provide math intervention services to work on her math skills gap.  We are searching for curriculum, software, and methodologies that would help our daughter.  Any recommendations? 
DYSCALCULIA.ORGAbsolutely. She should cover the state mandated curriculum using the program in order to get her high school diploma and get through the college math required for her degree. ALEKS is the most appropriate for credit recovery. Here are other resources but use ALEKS primarily. ALEKS covers elementary, MS, HS, and college math. Your state rehab department or your school district should pay for the individual subscription which is only $20 month and covers access to all content in the system. A teacher or district or school representative should supervise progress and agree to grant credit toward the diploma or degree based on her progress in the ALEKS curriculum. 

These links contain information on remedial resources:

If you give more detail on her situation I can further advise you. Is she in high school? Has she graduated? Does she have a diploma or certificate or GED? What are her future career plans? Has she ever had an IEP?

Failing GED Test Math Section

VISITOR: I am 34 and keep failing the math portion of the GED test. Please help!
DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Try studying for the GED math using Sign up as an independent student. At is only $20/ month and no books are needed.

GED tours:

Prep for GED Mathematics *

This course covers the topics shown below.
Students navigate learning paths based on their level of readiness.
Institutional users may customize the scope and sequence to meet curricular needs.
Curriculum (320 topics + 33 additional topics) [open all | close all] PDFWhole Numbers and Integers (60 topics)
Rational Numbers (65 topics)
Measurement, Proportion, Percents, and Probability (45 topics)
Variable Expressions and Equations (58 topics)
Functions and Graphs (29 topics)
Geometry (63 topics)
Other Topics Available (33 additional topics)
Other Topics Available
By default, these topics are NOT included in the course, but can be added using the content editor in the Teacher Module.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

School Says Dyscalculia is an Excuse, Doesn't Exist

VISITOR: I am a counseling professional and grandpa of a 6th grader in Arkansas who I know has dyscalculia, but the school dismisses the idea and says dyscalculia doesn't exist and is only an excuse. Where can I have her evaluated for dyscalculia?

DYSCALCULIA.ORGThe school must evaluate her for a specific learning disability in mathematics (they don't have to call it dyscalculia, but that is another term for SLD-M). 

Follow this guidance:  FAQ:    Is it Dyscalculia (Math Learning Disability)?
    Guidance for students age 5 to 21
Let me know if you need assistance. does evaluations, but you should let the school do one at their expense, and if you disagree with their findings, then you can get a second opinion at the school district's expense. Then you may want to have do it, or contact an expert in your area (if there is one). I will do some searching for you.
The parent will start by putting in writing to the school principal (email is recommended), a formal request that she be evaluated for all areas of suspected disability. Use the LD Checklist (under Guidance) to find her weak areas. 
They have 60 days to schedule and complete testing and report the findings to the parents and student. Start now, don't wait for the start of the new school year, even though they will try to convince you to do so. That is a time buying strategy that will result in another wasted year, because they won't schedule her testing until November and then will have delays for vacation days, and before you know it, it will be nearing the end of her 7th grade year. Tell the parents to be persistent and insistent that it gets finished this year. Its not their fault that school let her slide with skill gaps for 6 years already. The school system is responsible to educate her. Have her skill gaps grown or remained consistent on state standardized tests year after year? If so, school is guilty of not recognizing and addressing her learning difficulties. 
Another issue is that school is supposed to identify skill deficits and intervene, then report on the "response to intervention." This is known as RTI and is done before referring a student for SLD evaluation.
So, your questions are:
"What have been the interventions tried and how has she responded?"
"If adequate progress has not been made, then why hasn't school referred her for an evaluation for learning disabilities?"
"What were the specific strategies employed to get her to perform at grade level?"

"How large are her skill gaps?" [chronological age vs. performance age and skill grade level vs, actual grade level].  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


VISITOR: I am in college dealing with a lot right now and need to know about math course waivers. Pleàse help!

Here is some guidance for you: 

Sample letter to Disabled Student Services:

We look forward to assisting you

Monday, April 29, 2013


VISITOR: Hello I am a clinical psychologist from Turkey working mostly with learning disabled children. I want to reach to some resources about learning time concept for LD children I have a teenage girl patient who can read the time but still does not have any sense of time herself. 5 years ago and 50 years ago is same for her although she knows that 50 is a larger number then 5.
Are there any remedial worksheets or online programs that I can use?
Thank you very much in advance.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Here are some excellent APPLE apps for mastering the concept of time. Six categories: Time Visualizers, Talking Clocks, Time Zones, Timers, Time Management, Telling Time. One must access the APP STORE from their device to download the apps. Search for the app by name.

Activity Timer by Stuart Roberts: Custom picture of upcoming activity appears when time on clock elapses. Set unlimited activities. Visualizes time until an event.


Kid's Alarm Clock – Talking Clock by Kids Place: (Apple app): Cute face clock speaks time, shows digital time, 24 or 12 hour, custom sounds, displays, shows month and day.

Hour Prompter by iHOOPS (Apple app): notifies you on the hour, or at intervals & events you set.

Family Clock by Gp Imports (Apple app): face clock with your custom picture for each hour, set audio notification of hour & events, on/off ticking sound.

Bed Buzz Talking Alarm Clock HD by Comantis (Apple app):


National Geographic's Understanding Time Zones:

Podium Timer HD by eNATAL: (Apple app) Simple digital countdown timer.

Discourse Talktime Manager by Wesoft (Apple app): See time left on pie chart, with yellow, red areas signaling end of alloted time.

Buddy's Timer – Buddy's ABA Apps by Digital PlayWare (Apple app): Displays time elapsed on simple face clock, 1 to 60 minutes.

Picture Prompt Timer by MDR (Apple app): Shows custom pictures for activities, now and then, with time-until bar between them. Your sounds and pictures.


ASD Tools by Chestnut Apps (Apple app): Visually show children tasks to do that they check off. Simple, uncluttered. With ordered steps, visual timer, visual rewards. Talking prompts. Designed for autistic children.

Action Timer by Craig LLC (Apple app): Custom pictures for tasks (now, then, next), time elapsed shown on face clock.


Telling Time Deluxe by Christian Larsen Music (Apple app): Colorful games to teach telling time on face clock, hours, minutes, days, weeks, and months.

Time – It's Easy by Vinta Games (Apple app): Game to set time on face clock mixing digital, analog, verbal and written time expressions. Includes calendar skills: days, weeks, months, seasons.

Sakura Time by Shiny Things (Apple app): Onscreen writing input to practice telling time: 24 and 12 hour formats, digital and analogue, elapsed time, conversions, time of day, compute time.

Tell the Time with Bubbimals by Playerthree (Apple app): Learn and play with colorful face clocks to learn to tell time, practice matching digital to analogue, select appropriate time for activities. Talking clock tracks child's progress.

Didakto Telling Time by Synendo (Apple app): Visually learn to tell time on a face clock with numbers, Roman numerals, and without numbers. Learn digital, analogue, elapsed time, AM/PM, 24/12.

Telling Time – Fun to learn to tell time game by StudyPad (Apple app): Ages 4-9. Game visualizes time on face clocks to teach telling time to hour, minute, quarter, half, AM/PM, elapsed time. Tracks progress.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dyscalculic in Baltimore, Maryland

VISITOR: First I would like to say, Thank you! I always knew something was not right and I do believe that I am a longtime sufferer of dyscalculia. All my life since I've started grade school it always seemed as if I just didn't get math no matter how hard I would try.  I've been tutored, went to summer school, EVERYTHING. I am now 25 but when I was a child, none of my math teachers ever suggested I had a disability, because I excelled in other subjects. Upon reading about this condition, I'm almost sure I have it. I wanted to know how to get officially diagnosed? 
Ten years ago, I had decided to leave high school and earn my equivalency. I passed 4 out of 5 of the tests given. Guess which one I failed? After tutoring and repeated attempts of retaking the math portion, I gave up because I just couldn't catch on to the work. 
I still to this day don't have my equivalency. As you know, this is a major hindrance as far as pursuing future career and academic advancement. I just need the test administrators to know and understand my condition and take it a little bit easier on me. First things first. I need to be screened and diagnosed. I live in Baltimore, MD.

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Contact the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland for diagnostic information: