I recently had my 12 year old daughter tested for dyscalculia and she was diagnosed with it. It really wasnít much of a surprise to me since I am an undiagnosed dyscalculic myself. Considering my daughters diagnoses I now have no doubt that I am a dyscalculic as well.
I have been doing tons of research on the topic of dyscalculia and I have also been researching alternative schooling methods. My daughter attended public school from K-5th grade. I got really fed up with public school so I pulled her out and put her in private school for middle school. During the course of my research Iíve stumbled onto some interesting information.
Did you know that the public education model in the United States is based on the Prussian Education Model? Did you know that this particular education model isnít designed or intended to increase the intellectual capacity of anybody? It is designed to basically dumb people down so that they become docile worker drones who donít question arbitrary authority and who donít think critically or for themselves. I always knew there was something about the public education system that I didnít like but I just couldnít put my finger on what it was. When I was interviewing private schools for my daughter I was blown away when I visited the school she currently attends and they told me that they teach children about logical fallacies (most adults I meet donít even know what they are) and that they encourage critical and independent thinking as part of their teaching method. That is something I have NEVER run across in the public school system. As a matter of fact itís just the opposite. In the public school system you are expected to parrot back what you are told, conform and keep your head down as you shuffle about from class to class on cue of Pavlovian bells. Perhaps this is why dyscalculia is such an unknown? Since people are conditioned by the public school system to not think critically or for themselves why would it ever occur to a teacher (who most likely also went through the public school system) to think outside the box and consider that perhaps the students who struggles with basic math arenít lazy or refusing to try or just not working hard enough but that they might actually have a learning disability?
I have also discovered that my daughter and I are both visual-spatial learners. This sounds counter intuitive for somebody who has dyscalculia since itís believed that part of the issue with dyscalculics is that they have weak visual processing skills but I think in pictures and not words and I am finding that my daughter is the same way. When she was tested for dyscalculia the counselor even said she is a visual-spatial learner. Most people are auditory-sequential learners though and as a result that is the teaching style used in public schools. People who have dyscalculia and who are visual-spatial learners as opposed to auditory-sequential learners get a double whammy in public school because of this. I find it the pinnacle of hypocrisy that I live in a county where being different is celebrated and held in such high regard except for when it comes to the way people learn. Everybody is different and everybody learns differently and at a different pace so why is it that public school system only teachers one way?
I have used visuals with my daughter to help her in the past with numbers. She isnít able to commit most numbers to memory unless she can relate the number sequence or whatever to real life and a picture in her mind. For example I was able to get her to understand a whole and quarters but baking a pizza and then cutting it in half in front of her and then cutting it into fours. Its not the numbers she is remembering when she pulls up this information, itís the picture of the pizza that she is recalling. When I was in real estate school and I was preparing for the state exam I had to memorize how many feet are in an acre and the only way I could do it was to come up with a picture story. I came up with 4 little old ladies, driving 35 mph in a 60 mile an hour speed zone. When I took the test I literally had to recite the story in my mind as I checked each answer to see which one fit because I would have never been able to memorize 43560 as a sequence. Maybe these tricks will work for others as well? Itís worth trying at least.
Edited by CRW on March 10 2011 10:54 PM
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6101 Joined: 2008-05-25
I know that I'm taking advantage of the situation being that I'm the only one 'on' the forum right now, but I just enjoyed your post so much that I'm going to jump in here, and the others will just have to wait their turn!
I'm so much in tune with you in what you said,... this part, "I have also discovered that my daughter and I are both visual-spatial learners. This sounds counter intuitive for somebody who has dyscalculia since itís believed that part of the issue with dyscalculics is that they have weak visual processing skills but I think in pictures and not words and I am finding that my daughter is the same way."
I did just great with the little red and white blocks, copying designs with them, and also, doing things that were mirror-image. I'm also able to hold a box in my mind, fold and unfold it, and see which picture it matches. And, I've got something else that doesn't seem to 'fit', though I haven't been able to pin it down,... although I can't remember 'sequence and proceedure', if I'm listening to a story, even a long story, I have such good logic and verbal reasoning that I'll pick up on it if there is something that's 'out of place',... like a lie or a 'red herring',... in my brain it's like 'wham!'. There it is! It's as though it's in writing, right in front of me, and as though I could circle it in 'red', right where the error occurred. Yet, I have a terrible time 'learning' during the training that is given for getting a new job,... probably for the exact reasons that you've mentioned about public school. And, yes, cutting a little slack for people who don't learn the same as others would be a big step toward 'sincerity' in the education process.
Regarding the pizza,... wonderful example. In fact, that's the way that I read clocks and count time,... once I got the 15 minutes is a quarter of the clock face principle down, everything else fell into place around that. You are just full of good ideas and pointers. So glad to have you here. - jus'