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Dyscalculia questions for Jann in Tx or anyone else

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I usually post in the LC forum about this kiddo. Posting here since this just came up in another thread


My daughter has a general learning disabilities in math & English classification from the school district. We have not had private neuropsych evals done because In our rural area there is literally no one to do them. It's a 3 hour drive for the closest one & ive only heard bad stuff about that place.


Anyways, I was really struck by the phrase in Jann's post about severe kids with severe dyscalculia topping out around grade 4 skills.

We just re did my dd's testing at school,she's going to public school in the fall.


She's somewhere between grade 2-3 math wise,at age 14.

It's not likely she will ever get through the math needed to graduate in our state- Algebra, Geometry, & one other high school math.


It looks to me at this point that getting to grade 4 would be likely. Maybe.

School is kinda stumped with what to do with her... She's going to go to their self contained classroom just for math every day. But they have no unique plans to get her able to graduate.


Hmm,not sure what my question is.

I guess, has anyone heard of graduation requirements being flexible for kids with dyscalculia?

I've heard people say college programs were willing to be flexible about which Math is required for kids with a dyscalculia label.


And, would a typical eval at a neuropsych be able to give a specific dyscalculia diagnosis vs a general mathLd?

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Most states have special diplomas for students with modified educational needs (IEPs).


One of my daughter's friends has severe dyscalculia-- she topped out between 3rd and 4th grade but has ZERO understanding of numbers (she memorized her 'facts' but those are just non-sense words to her). Our local district ( in Texas) gave her a special diploma (not standard) but she still ended up with a full-ride college scholarship as she is a talented musician.  Her college (Vanderbuilt) made special exceptions for her (no math requirement-- I think she took extra history courses instead...).


If the OP's daughter has LDs in English and Math only  I would encourage her to find a testing center (make it a vacation destination!) I'd be curious if they were true LD's (reasoning) or if they were part of something else like dyslexia (processing).


A dx of 'general learning disability in Math' just means that the tester agrees that the student is not typical but does not go into specifics. 


Chances are they (PS) will not be able to remediate your daughter to a 'standard' diploma level.  What they should do is to work with your daughter to bring her up to her capabilities AND they should help teach her how to cope in the 'adult' world with her differences.


Be upfront and talk to the administration/teachers about the diploma situation.  Each state has their own rules and regulations about this.



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Thanks Jann.

Yes,we do have IEP certificates, but no actual diploma without all the math.


And as much as I'd love her to get a standard diploma, you're right, what I really hope for is at least as much as possible for her.heck,I am a special Ed teacher & she's never made progress with me 1:1

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I have remediated a girl who scored in the bottom 0.1 percentile for math.  As I wrote in the other thread, she could not subtract 12-5, but she graduated with 12th grade math. How she did it:


She did integrated math in 9th and 10th grade, which was a mixture of numeracy, geometry, qualitative statistics, and algebra.  She failed algebra, but could pass the course by passing the other three with Bs and Cs.  She did ALL work with a calculator.  In 11th and 12th grade she did qualitative statistics (making questionaires, evaluating statistical reports, doing statistical research, running simulations, etc), there was also a small quantitative probability element that she could do with a calculator by memorizing what types of problems required which types of calculations in the calculator.  She was *very* good with her graphics calculator. 


She was quite bright, gaining top 0.3% in the national exams in the 12th grade English exam when she was in 11th grade. 


The qualitative statistics books she used are available purchase.  Google NuLake, year 12 is 11th grade.  If you went this route you could call it:


9th grade: integrated math

10th grade: integrated math

11th grade: qualitative statistics

12th grade: statistical research and reports

Or something like that.


Ruth in NZ

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Well if you want success stories of that kind, a friend of our family has a daughter with downs and an IQ below 80. She graduated from highschool and then finished her two year associates degree, and has just been accepted into a flagship American state university.

First thing I would do is see if geometry is easier for her than algebra. By delaying algebra for a couple of years, you may see her brain mature a bit for numbers. This has happened with one of my other students who is just now starting algebra at 16 and doing well, when at 14 she was having terrible trouble with MUS for 5th grade. While working on geometry, I would doing five minutes a day on fractions. If geometry takes two years, then you have two years for fractions. And in my experience, it will take that long. Then you could do a very light Algebra in 11th grade, and in 12th grade something qualitative or life skills oriented, but either way with a calculator. 


If algebra is a drop dead requirement, I would see if you could do weekly quizzes for a grade rather than any sort of monthly or final exams where all the material has to be held in her head.  Yes, algebra builds, but you could definitely do certain units as stand alones and then once the quiz is done, just forget them.  If it has to be done, it has to be done.  I have gotten another dyscalculia student (yes I've had quite a few), through algebra by using flashcard to just memorize how to do it.  Drill drill drill. Is it ideal, no of course not, but when a kid has dyscalculia you have to do what you have to do. I personally hate that it is a requirement for all kids because in the end your daughter will never use it in life, but has to do it.  So you are just going to have to put it in the tick-the-box category, and get buy in from your daughter to do what has to be done.  But I would design the class so that it is possible.


Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I want to clarify the difference between these three kids:


1) Girl at bottom 0.1 percentile for dyscalculia:  Algebra was not possible. We focused on calculator skills and word problems, and she became very proficient at statistics. The 12th grade exam she did was a national exam, like an AP. I rearranged all the formula she had to use, and had her memorize which rearrangement was required for each situation. She skipped any other algebra type questions on the stats exam to focus her effort on the qualitative interpretation of the data.


2) Girl struggling in 5th grade math at 14: delaying 2 years was the answer. Now, at 16.5years old, she can do basic algebra very slowly, but in a normal learning way. She is actually enjoying it.


3) Boy doing algebra at 14 who was in school and could not be delayed: I used flashcards to drill and memorize.  Not a good way to learn algebra at all, but we were between a rock and a hard place, and the school was not willing to budge. 

Edited by lewelma
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