Hello all. I am so glad this forum exists. I want to thank you SO MUCH for creating this place for moms like me to go. I stumbled uopn you when I was helping my daughter look for schools. I only recently heard the term Dyscalculia recently. As I read,my eyes welled with tears as I read my own and my daughters issues with math described so well.
I thought back to evey IEP I have sat (cried) through where the teacher says,"It's not because she's lazy or doesn't try. She was in here this mroning and I did the whole test with her. 3 hours later when she took the test, it is as if she never saw it, and failed."
Then they set "requirements" and "modifications" and we never learned the math. How can she learn it differently?
Now my daughter has received a D for the basic math class at her community college twice. She will have to go to another school to take it if she doesn't get a C. I don't know where to turn. The special ed counciler told her to give up her dream of being a nurse and think of a new career. She was crushed. She can't move forward until she passes this math class.
Are there schools in So. CA that KNOW how to deal with this? Is there a special tutor? or a school that waves the math? How can she be tested? I looked on the Ca web site but couldn't find the link. I have a perscription from her Dr. to get tested, but it isn't covered on my insurance. They don't even know what it is!
Any tips are welcome. I have so many questions, but I will start here
My 12 yo DS has dyscalculia too. He sits a reg 6th grade classroom and we review math every night that he has math homework. Poor kid. I homeschooled briefly last year and we seem to have the times tables down. DS will come home in the Fall to be homeschooled indefinitely.
It is my goal to enroll DS in a CC to get the college math classes out of the way as an 11th/12th grader and then get a transfer to reg 4 year university where he can attend a New College and basically receive a broad liberal arts education. He has expressed a wish to pursue Law or become a Naval Historian, but those goals seem quite lofty for a 12 yo...I'm not shooting that down...It just seems lofty.
Your child needs a Neuropsych eval for college accommodations. The accommodations generally include a tutor, use of a calculator, extended test taking time, and sometimes class substitutions. With the neuro test in hand, your DD needs to visit the special services office of the college.
For tutoring,....well that's a poser. It would seem not many adults receive appropriate tutoring. There are programs that are mulit-sensory and explicit, but I have never tried any. Lindamood-Bell sells a program called On Cloud 9. You may want to look that up and see if there is a Lindamood-Bell tutoring center near you.
DH and I are both math people. To understand dyscalculia, I read a book by Sousa called How the Brain Learns Mathematics. This book helped me tremendously. I also read a couple of books by Ronit Bird and used the exercises with DS. We've encountered success by doing that.
There are at least 4 people on this board who are presently attending college and can advise you.
Good luck and I sincerely hope that you and your DD work this out. Heather
Edited by heathermomster on February 28 2012 11:33 PM
My heart breaks for both you and your daughter. Since I don't live in the US and only found out about Dyscalculia 3 months ago myself, I will let others here guide you as to what steps you need to take to get your daughter the help she requires.
As a mother of two grown daughters, I can certainly relate to how frustrating it must be for both you and your daughter coping with a condition that many have not even heard of yet. I suppose I should count my blessings that both my daughters managed to avoid the short straw in the gene pool and not inherit my Dyscalculia, but as a mother with the condition raising them myself, it was not easy.
I wish you and your daughter the best of luck getting her the help she needs.
Algebra? When I learn decimals and fractions, you're welcome to try teaching me, but unless you have the patience of a saint and are very long-lived, good luck with that...
Location: Munising, MI, USA Posts: 797 Joined: 2010-10-09
Hi, I'm Squeakymonster. While I live in Michigan, the laws about getting tested are pretty much the same throughout the US. First of all, your daughter should talk to Student Disability Services. Every post-secondary school has such a department. Have her explain to them that she is looking to be tested for a learning disability. Sometimes, the school will help pay for it, though this is rare. At best, they may send you a list of psychologists that they recommend to do the testing. It will cost at least a few hundred dollars and is not covered by insurance.
Assuming that your daughter's school will not do the testing, contact local psychologists in your area. Only a psychologist can test your daughter and get her an official diagnosis, as is accepted under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After you have spoken to the local psychologists, you will most likely be dealing with a nasty case of sticker-shock. You can try the California Works program or California Rehabilitation Services program to see if they will help with the diagnostic testing (your daughter would have to meet specific criteria, which varies by state, so please check your state's website for information). I did not meet the criteria in Michigan, and could not afford to go to a private psychologist.
After trying all of the above, get in touch with universities that have psychology programs. Often, they have someone who is trying to get experience with testing for LDs, under the supervision of someone with a PhD in the field that will sign off after checking the results. This is the cheapest option, without getting the state to pay for it. The biggest drawback is that there are often waiting lists, and if you cannot wait, you may have to go with the more expensive rout and have a private psychologist test your daughter.
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!
Thanks so much for all your help and advice. I am a bit overwhelmed with all the information and going abotu it all, but I am grateful for you all and the information.
I have a neuro, a perscription and will check out getting her tested specifically for DC.
She has had an IEP and is already in the special ed dept. of her community college and they are only wanting to give her "accomodations', which don't help.
Our Dr. said with all the IEP testing she already has on record for math issues,she shoud be able to get help.
I will plug away. She is not taking math this semester, but still will need to take the class again.
this is my story-
I was diagnosed with math LD in college after continually failing remedial college math. I was also tired of having such issues with analog clocks and so I read up on the possibility and self-referred to Disabled Student Services. I was born a couple of months premature and was in Special Ed as a kid for speech and language and in a "special" gym class spontaneously arranged during my 7th or 8th grade years, for kids who didn't "fit"/perform average or well in that class. It was held in a large utility room where they stored the weight equipment and mats etc. The teacher would come in and give us - about 6 -8 of us - our assignment and then go back out to the main floor where everybody else was. It was a mixed group of "outsiders" and "just-not-popular" kids - a very obese girl, someone who was electively mute etc . A couple of the kids who were in there were one of my many bullies on the "outside" and they themselves were also bullied. My mom found out about arrangement that and was she pissed.
So, I've always had trouble with sequence, spatial orientation, some motor skills <putting gloves on and learning to suck through a straw as a young child for example>, handwriting issues in elementary grades....didn't learn to tell time or count money til high school. Still have difficulty with those things and have never worn a watch. I was also allegedly born with missing inner ear bones.
Always in highest reading and writing groups, took AP English and Bio in high school and went to an arts specialty high school.
I still count on my fingers - and don't hide it. I take extra time in line and often get change wrong.
I tend to think in pictures and have difficulty with spoken or written multi-step directions...units of measurement mean nothing to me <feet, inches>. I don't know how to use a ruler.
But LD was never caught.
I graduated from my university with a double major in Spanish and Sociology and for a time was case manager working with people with cognitive disabilities and on the severe end of the autism spectrum.
I'm glad you're looking into this now and seeing what can be done. So many of us didn't have that.
Math LD or dyscalculia is a learning disability that is lifelong. There are no medications for learning disabilities the way there are for ADD and the like.
But there are compensation strategies and ways to work around it
I can never read an analog clock, cannot use a calculator since I always type the numbers wrong, cannot read or memorize phone numbers. I need to concentrate very very much while I prepare formula for my baby since I always miscount how many spoons I poured.
But, I have a phD degree in a math related dicipline. I choose to work with symbols instead of numbers, always stayed away anything with numbers. This worked for me very well. Instead of numbers, I choose a field which uses relationships between entities and defining those relationships. There are a lot of fields in academia even in math and engineerings. If a person is visual (I am), can work with geometry, symbols, abstract math. It does not have to be numbers.
By the way, nowadays computers are doing those number related things for us.
My point is, a person can have a successful academic life even if she is bad with numbers and counting.
Location: United States Posts: 1860 Joined: 2008-11-14
Hey NotaMathMom, I'm Kat, welcome to the forum!
I'm glad to see that you've already gotten such a warm welcome, so I will try not to rehash what everyone else has already said. But since I am currently a university student (graduating in May!!) I will tell you what I have learned from my own personal experience. Brevity is not my strength, but I'll try to keep the story short.
I've always been on the low end of the math spectrum. In elementary school my classes were divided into "uppers" and "lowers" for math and reading. I was always in the "lowers" group, every year, all the way from K-5th. But I started reading at age 3, and by 1st grade I was reading high school material. By 3rd grade, they could not give me reading material that I could not both read and comprehend at a collegiate level. The discrepancy between math and everything else started early and only got worse.
Despite this, I was never diagnosed with dyscalculia until my freshman year of college. I got "tracked" into honors math courses in middle and high school for a bunch of really stupid reasons, which I won't detail here for your own sake because you probably don't care anyway, haha.
Point being, I took 5 (yes, 5) honors level math courses in high school - Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Analytic Geometry, and Trigonometry. I was usually in the bottom 5% of my class, but I scraped through it with C's. So to my school, I was doing fine, no problem.
Then I got to college, and my freshman year I took Pre-Calc Algebra and BOMBED it. I mean, really ugly bombed it. Like, 30% overall bombed it. I took a Withdraw on my transcript instead of an F so that it wouldn't kill my GPA and lose me my scholarship, but at that point I knew that something was terribly wrong with me and math. I had always known I was bad at it... but this was beyond bad.
I wasn't sure where to turn, so I literally just called up my school's Disabled Student Services office and said, "Hi, I'm a student here, and I think I have a learning disability. Can you help me?" They told me I would need to be tested by a private educational psychologist because the school did not offer testing through the university. It was several hundred dollars out of pocket to be tested (my insurance didn't cover it) but it was worth it - the test showed that I definitely have dyscalculia.
After that I took my paperwork from the Ed.Psych. back to the disability office and registered with them. I got accommodations that include time and a half on tests, unrestricted 4-function calculator use, a non-distracting environment to take tests in (I also have ADHD), a note-taker, and voice recordings of my lectures. I don't use the last two, but the others have all been really helpful to me.
Depending on the degree program (and on the school) there are different math requirements for different degrees, and some programs are more lenient about those than others. A lot of degrees in the liberal arts field that are B.A.'s (not B.S.'s) will have light math requirements, usually only 2 gen ed math courses of your own choosing. Some social sciences will require Statistics 1, and then the other math can be whatever you want. Many degrees that are Bachelor of Science degrees, even in the liberal arts, will require more strict maths due to the nature of the degree.
For those degrees without stringent math requirements, some universities will allow the students to take remedial math classes in lieu of standard university maths to meet their math requirements. Some universities will also allow non-math substitutions such as logic, extra physical science courses, computer science courses, etc. It all depends on the school and what they are or are not willing to do.
As far as your daughter wanting to become a nurse... excuse my language, but screw that counselor. If your daughter wants to become a nurse, she should not give up on that dream. I took 3 math classes, and passed them all (eventually). I had to repeat two of them twice, but I did eventually pass them. It's true that everyone's math level is different and everyone's disability impacts them in different ways, but your daughter should never give up without at least trying to take math with accommodations, and see if they help her. They made a big difference for me.
Okay, I just failed at being brief. At least I warned you ahead of time. In short, this is what I (as a current university student about to graduate) would recommend:
1. Get her tested, ASAP. However you can. Wherever you can. Just get it done by a reputable professional so that she has proof on paper of her math disorder.
2. Talk to disabled student services about what accommodations they offer, and what kind of leniency there are for the math-intensive courses your daughter needs to take for nursing school.
3. Look into various nursing programs in your area. Look at all of them, and all of the requirements they have. There will always be some aspect of math and math-reliant science involved in nursing programs (such as chemistry, etc.) but some programs may be more or less math intensive than others, and some schools may be more willing to work with her disabilities than others.
She will have to be her own advocate throughout this process, but having you there to help her will be a big help. I wish you both the best in this process! If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.
Oh, and in regards to your question about whether or not medication will help... sadly, no, there are no medications for dyscalculia. If your daughter had a co-morbid disorder that impacted her attention (such as ADHD) then her math skills might improve once the attention issues were controlled, but there are as of now no treatments specifically for dyscalculia.
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer