Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

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Posted May 09, 2007 at 2:52:21 PM

My son, age nine, struggles with basic addition. He still uses his fingers for 5 + 2. He becomes very stressed over timed tests and does poorly. However, he can do three-digit addition in his head. As an example, he can add 189 + 189 in his head correctly, within a few seconds. He can carry numbers in this case.

What is going on? We noticed that he finds multiplication easier than addition. Why would he need fingers for simple math, yet no visual cues for more complex problems?

He is currently working below grade level and needs to be able to do the simple math without a calculator. I'm sure he could pass a timed test for three-digit addition.

Help!

Posted:May 09, 2007 7:11:10 PM

He could have a form of dyscalculia which interferes with basic math memorizations or he could just have severe anxiety that causes him to have difficulty processing it.

You might want to see if teaching him TouchMath (http://www.touchmath.com) would help him get over that.

When my dd was younger I taught her TouchMath because she was struggling so much with basic math facts but understood the math concepts that were taught. TouchMath gave her confidence to do the basic math skills and she went from dreading math to it being one of her favorite and most successful classes.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

Posted:May 10, 2007 3:49:03 AM

Hi GG,
It seems that he hasn't developed what is called a 'Sense of Number'.

Though to help him develop this, you could try teaching him a simple finger counting technique, based on the Japanese, Korean Abacus.

Posted:May 10, 2007 10:25:42 AM

Thank you both.

Geodob, your website and the finger counting demonstration are very helpful. I've long believed that DS' math issue is subtle, but disabling. My husband and I considered tutoring, but sensed that it wouldn't be effective without understanding the cause of the problem.

We are awaiting the results of an assessment, so this information will go with us later today.

We know that DS is very bright, and has strong verbal skills. He excels in every area except math, which is below grade level. I don't subscribe to his previous school's belief that he can use a calculator in upper grades, so why worry about it. The gap on his report card has become more distinct with each year: he moves to the top of his class in reading (three years ahead of grade level), and to the bottom of the class in math.

Remedial help at his new school has not bridged the gap, so the school offered LD assessment.

No matter what, we will be teaching him this finger counting method. DS tells us that he thinks in pictures, not words, so I'm pretty sure this will work for him.

Posted:Aug 25, 2008 1:42:32 PM

Quote gg:

My son, age nine, struggles with basic addition. He still uses his fingers for 5 + 2. He becomes very stressed over timed tests and does poorly. However, he can do three-digit addition in his head. As an example, he can add 189 + 189 in his head correctly, within a few seconds. He can carry numbers in this case.

Quote gg:

What is going on? We noticed that he finds multiplication easier than addition. Why would he need fingers for simple math, yet no visual cues for more complex problems?

Quote gg:

He is currently working below grade level and needs to be able to do the simple math without a calculator. I'm sure he could pass a timed test for three-digit addition.

Quote gg:

Help!

In 1966 I used dots on top of the number and found this did harm to students ability to do math so I do not recommend that anyone do this. You will find help for this math problem on the "Dotmath for kids" website. I now teach dots OFF the number and associate the dot patterns with the number symbol and digital numbers. I then explain how each number is a calcualtor. You can get free charts from the dotmath web site. Type in "dotmath for kids" into the google search box to find more info on this help.

Owen B Prince