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Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

Math & Dyslexia


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Joined: Aug 26, 2008
Posts: 2
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Posted Aug 27, 2008 at 7:32:55 AM
Subject: Math & Dyslexia

I have a student in my algebra class who has dyslexia that has very negatively impacted her math education. I am looking for guidance in how to best help her. In searching it appears there is a fair amount of info on helping dyslexic students with reading/writing but I can't find much for math.

I had her in class last year in pre-algebra. She ultimately did pass but it was very difficult for her. She is clearly a bright girl but she struggles with retaining basic concepts, recognizing patterns, etc.

We are a very small private school and have small class sizes. Consequently we don't have special education specialists. We do try to differentiate learning. I spoke with her previous math sped math teacher. She advised using color overlays and printing tests on color paper. She also told me that she spent a lot of time with basic computation - addition, multiplication tables, etc. and after much work she determined that she was not retaining and decided it was best that she be allowed to use a calculator.

I have noticed that she will sometimes reverse numbers or mix up operations (multiplication/division). I also noticed in last years class that she would sometimes seem to be getting the hang of some simple algebraic techniques which I could tell from oral participation (generally tentative - but it was coming!) However, a day or two later she'd be lost again on the same concepts. She tends to perform poorly on tests - especially if they are longer.

This is probably complicated by emotional issues of anxiety. I appreciate any advice!!

Karen

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Aug 27, 2008 9:43:00 AM

You got some great advice from her former teacher. Make sure to use colors that she can tolerate visually. My daughter has to use colors in the "cool" range - blue or purple. Different colors work for different people. (http://www.irlen.com has more information on the use of overlays and colors)

Use graph paper for written work. This really helps keep work neat, easier to read and columns straight.

Check into Dyscalculia. This is a math disorder that effects basic skills and can effect understanding of concepts. http://www.dyscalculia.org/

As often as possible have visuals of concepts. Encourage her to make her own visuals that will help her remember what she learned. Dyslexics tend to be very visual people and see in pictures. Using clay models, drawing things out, etc. can help give them a picture to go with the concept and help with recall.

Definitely let her use a calculator for computation. As she gets better at that it can increase her confidence and reduce some of the anxiety.

My daughter used to have horrible math anxiety because she can't memorize basic facts. We tried everything to help her get them down. Then we tried Touchmath. It took 5 minutes to show her how to use it for addition and subtraction. Once she got it down and could triple her calculation speed independently she went from hating math to it being her favorite subject. Giving your student some tool that will help her confidence can go a long way to help her in math.

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

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kmedhi
Joined Aug 26, 2008
Posts: 2

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Posted:Aug 27, 2008 10:19:40 PM

Thanks for the helpful suggestions. My student seems to do better with pinks and reds. I appreciate the link and will ask her if she's aware of that.

I was looking up TouchMath earlier because I noticed a lot of people on the forum mention it. It looks like it is elementary school oriented? My student is a Sophomore in high school and I want to make sure I look at software that would appeal to secondary students. When I talked to her last year she seemed to be sensitive about previously being pulled out of the regular curriculum and given "baby math." (Her words not mine!) So .. I want to balance needing reenforcement on basic skills with the need to recognize that she is 16 years old and could find software geared to elementary school-age kids as juvenile even if she needs work on some of those skills. So .. does TouchMath have a program geared toward secondary students or are there other suggestions?

Thanks!

Karen

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Aug 28, 2008 9:39:05 AM

TouchMath has an "Upper Grades" curriculumn for older kids/adults. When I used it with an 8th grade student I only used the workbooks, not the bigger set, so that the focus was just on learning the system and getting practice with it. My daughter never used anything other than the touchpoint cards to help her remember where the touchpoints for each number are. Once she had that down she does it mostly in her head, without the use of the points on the numbers or even having to touch them. You may be able to teach her the points, how to use them and just have her do the math for the class without having to do much more. Who knows, when she learns it she might have a "lightbulb" moment like my daughter - "why didn't someone teach me this sooner! math is easy!" lol Sometimes it just needs to give them a solid connection to the numbers.

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

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