Thursday, February 4, 2016

Coping with Dyscalculia

VISITOR: How can I live with dyscalculia? 

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! 


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

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