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EmmaNZ

Is this dyslexia too?

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My ds7 is seriously struggling with his maths facts. We have done Math Mammoth 1. Parts of a couple of UK curricula (including MEP). Kate Snow's Addition Facts that Stick AND Subtraction Facts that Stick.

 

He cannot remember what 10-3 is. Or any of the others. Not only that, but the whole thing stresses him out - fair amounts of attitude, and occasional tears. He does appear to have number sense, because he will sometimes say things like 'ok, well I know 5+5=10, so 5+6 is going to be one more" etc. 

 

He can work out the facts using thug the techniques we have practised but it takes him a LOOONNNGGG time, and he gets in a muddle with it.

 

Background info - he reads above grade level, but regularly skips lines and occasionally misses small words or changes suffixes. He has not done much spelling yet, so I don't know how that is really. This is my child who when he was 3 I would have classed him as my 'brightest' (in a family of strong academics). His older brother has dyslexia, along with a slow processing speed - but nothing like these issues with numbers.

 

Would really appreciate your thoughts - what maths to try next? worth it to spend $$$ getting him tested? any other encouragement!

 

Thank you!

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Try Ronit Bird on the math. Fwiw, my ds does similar things with his math and is diagnosed with SLD math on top of SLD reading. You're seeing that he's very bright. I even had one psych suggest to me that I NOT think of my ds as disabled in math but think of him as GIFTED in math with a math disability. Funky difference, eh? And in a weird way, he is. The two aspects (conceptual and number sense) are on opposite sides of the brain, and the one can be affected while the other isn't. So I'm always trying to figure out how I can harness that brightness and appeal to it while still rolling with his need for more detailed instruction. We do lots of Ronit Bird, lots of Family Math, lots of games, things that apply the math. 

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That was fast :)

 

I have been looking through all the Ronit Bird threads, wondering if they would help.

 

Do you not bother with a formal curriculum at all? That scares me!

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Ronit Bird can be used to get a child to a point where they can function in a formal curriculum.  It can also be used alongside a formal curriculum.  Depends on your child's needs.  Some kids need to walk away from a formal curriculum for a bit and focus on RB type lessons.  Others are able to do RB on the side from the beginning but can still do their regular curriculum.

 

For example, when I finally realized how much DD was struggling with math (started homeschooling for 6th and realized she had no clue what she was doing in so many areas but the teacher just kept passing her), and these lovely people on the LC board convinced me to start her over, going way back, I dropped all standard curriculum and moved her through Ronit Bird and Dynamo Math.  She has extreme deficits and needed that approach.  Forcing her to keep moving forward in our regular curriculum would have been useless.  There were just too many gaps that needed addressing.

 

DS, on the other hand, used RB and Dynamo Math as a supplement while working through a standard curriculum.  He didn't have the same issues as DD.

 

Think of it this way, if you are learning a foreign language and you are also speaking in your native tongue it can take longer to really learn that foreign language.  If you immerse yourself in the new language for a while, using ONLY that new language, it helps your brain make those connections much faster.  But for some people learning foreign languages isn't all that difficult so they don't have to have immersion to learn the new language.  They just need the exposure and can do that alongside using their native tongue.

 

Or maybe this would help.  Lets say you were taught a certain way to swim.  You aren't particularly adept at swimming but with lots of practice your coach gets you to a point where you can function and you are doing o.k. with your swim team.  Then you move.  You switch coaches.  You are told that the way you were taught and practiced for years and years is not the right way to swim for this team.  You aren't supposed to be swimming that way.  You weren't particularly good at it but you had developed the muscle and procedural memory to do it that way.  Now you have to rewrite your brain and body connections.  If you are swimming the old way on some days and the new way on others it could take a very long time to rewrite those connections and they may never get very clear.  If you dump the old way completely for a while, you will learn the new way much faster.  

 

Does that make sense?  You need to determine if your child would benefit from ONLY RB and maybe math games and that type of thing for a while before starting to run it alongside a standard program, or if just doing RB on the side from the beginning will be enough.  Depends on the kid.  RB is not a curriculum, though, so you would not use only RB forever.  Only until better understanding and connections are made.  

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Well it's not like it takes so long to do RB Dots (ebook), and by the end my ds knew all his add/subtr facts and could do add/subtr with negative numbers as well. I don't consider that such bad progress, kwim? 

 

I use some Daily Warm-Up books from Teacher Created and some other printable ebooks as well, so he has small amounts of traditional math along with the games and work in RB. So it's not all one or the other. And my ds needs a lot of work to apply and generalize something. Like for him, he could learn 3+4 with one manipulative but not know it when presented with a DIFFERENT manipulative. Seriously. So we have to take the same lesson and do it lots of ways. 

 

My motto with ds is "embrace the pace." I try to make it as fun as we can but I try to make sure he can do the skill in every environment, every way. So we're going to do the new target skill and apply it to money, to time, to measuring, to computation, to games, to cooking, everywhere I can. For him it takes a while. Gifted IQ with SLD. But his learning this way is real and deep. As you say, what does it get me if he goes through a curriculum and can do it on one type of paper but can't do it on the next and can't do it in life? So I do what it takes, and for him that's what it takes.

 

In general, Ronit Bird assumes you're using her materials (which were developed by her as a tutor) alongside a curriculum. And that's where those ebooks come in, because they give me some of that continuity. There's another series, Using the Standards, that we're going through right now. They have books for measuring, algebra, etc., all grade leveled, all Common Core. And people can say they don't like common core, but my point is my ds *is* working through a standard progression of materials as well. I'm just able to print them off and hand him one page at a time. I like that the ebooks have brain teaser books, warm-ups with only a 1/2 page of work, etc. It lets me be flexible and make packets where no single page takes a long time but we still get a lot done. Like we'll do maybe 4 pages like that, and in the 4 pages we'll have hit word problems, measuring, algebra, geometry. And it's all to CC standards, all in a grade leveled progression.

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Just to address your title question -- Is it dyslexia?

 

Maybe. Maybe not. Math calculation can go along with dyslexia. It often looks like being unable to remember math facts. And/or being unable to remember the steps needed to complete a problem. It's not a problem with understanding math, as much as it is a problem with the working memory, and it affects math. Many dyslexics (like my DD12) have these kind of math issues.

 

You mention some quirks with reading that could be warning signs of dyslexia, so it's worth considering. You can test a little yourself by seeing if the child can decode nonsense words. DD12 could read a sentence by guessing and because she could understand the context, due to very good comprehension ability. But if I put those same words one by one on an index card, she may not be able to read them. You should be able to do a little experimenting to see if he is actually decoding or if he is guessing well.

 

If decoding seems to be an issue, and if you have used a strong phonics based reading program, you might consider testing for dyslexia.

 

However, if your homemade testing shows that he really CAN decode and is just making mistakes as most new readers do, because they are not fluent yet, then you can set up ways to work with him more closely to break the bad guessing habits and develop greater fluency. He's still young enough that you could run through a good phonic program with him to shore up those weak areas.

 

In other words, it's impossible to say for sure about dyslexia based on what you wrote. The only way to know for sure is to get testing done professionally. To decide if that is needed, you can do a little sleuthing yourself and figure out whether he is decoding adequately for the amount of instruction he has received.

 

Now, about the math. If it is a math disability, which it could be, it is dyscalculia. Someone can have dyscalculia with or without also having dyslexia.

 

I hope that's helpful. The other posters' suggestions for remediating math are good.

 

Is it worth the money to get testing? It was for us. If you are in the US, you can also get testing done for free through the schools, although there are pros and cons to that.

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