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Submitted by an LD OnLine user on

I have a 5th grade student who is LD and ADD to the max. She is on medication, but you wouldn’t know it. She also has a lot of food allergies and takes medication for that also. Her home life is very chaotic and she doesn’t receive any help from her parents.

She is a good reader, but when it comes to math - yikes! I have been working on place value with her forever, but she just doesn’t get it. Today it was ones, tens, millions. Also, she can never remember to start adding or subtracting on the left side. She always starts with the digit on the far right. This even happens after we’ve done several problems together. Today her answer to a problem was 092. She read the number as two hundred ninety. It takes her forever to do just one problem and her hand writing is bad. She has worked with an O.T. for several years and was finally dismissed. She doesn’t know if she’s on foot or horseback. She has regressed somewhat. Her math skills were better last year. I just don’t know what to do with her or even what to tell her parents. What is going on? Any ideas as why this is happening or what I can do to help her?

Thanks so much,


Submitted by eoffg on Fri, 03/01/2013 - 11:19 AM


Hi Caron,
Stephen Round has been doing research into this for about 5 years, where it is termed as Print Inversion.
Behind what is going on here, is the way that eyes work?
When light passes through the curved lens of the eye, the image that forms on the back of the yes, is upside down and switched left to right.
Where a babies brain develops the ability to rotate the image, and see it correctly.
While it learns how to do this with the ‘real world’.
It then has to learn to do this all over again, with symbols, such as letters and numbers.
Where their is important difference between vision of the real world and symbols? As their is logic to up and down, and left and right in the real world. But their no logic to symbols.

So that you might consider the situation, where what you see as 092. Other people see as 290.
What you see as the left side of the page, other people see as the right?
Where you see place value going the opposite way?

But you also noted that she has bad hand writing?
Where you you might do a comparison, and have her write a sentence from left to right.
Then have her write it from right to left.
Where I would suggest that their would be a notable difference?
But further to this, you could also have her ‘print the letters backwards’, as she writes from right to left.

You could also get her to do some maths, where she is encouraged to do it, from right to left?
Where I would suggest that she may have no problem with math, when encouraged to do it a way that suits her?

If she is able to do math that way, then she doesn’t actually have a real difficulty with math.

Though I’ve been involved with some research that Stephen Round has been doing into this, for about 5 years.
Where the crucial thing that he has identified?
Is that when children with Print inversion difficulty. Are encouraged to do their work in a right to left way that comes naturally to them. That after doing this for a few weeks, they make a natural transition to doing it from left to right.
Though his work also involves children who also write letters ‘upside down and backwards’. Where you could also see how she goes with writing that way?

Here’s a link to Stephen Round’s website:

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