Here is my proposal. I would appreciate your thoughts. I give my permission for you to use it, feel free to just juggle the words around to suit your situation. I truely hope that it helps!
Note: I have copied and pasted but I also have the original document if anyone needs it sent to them.
Students who are unable to obtain a prerequisite in Intermediate Algebra, due to a learning disability called Dyscalculia. However, good, if not excellent grades are obtained in all other academic areas. Students unable to progress onto chemistry course without algebra.
What is Dyscalculia?
A mathematical learning disorder comparative to dyslexia. Symptoms can include the following:
Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Poor long term memory (retention & retrieval) of concept mastery- may be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next! May be able to do book work but fails all tests and quizzes.
Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Poor mental math ability. Poor with money and credit. Cannot do financial planning or budgeting. Checkbooks not balanced. Short term, not long term financial thinking. Fails to see big financial picture. May have fear of money and cash transactions. May be unable to mentally figure change due back, the amounts to pay for tips, taxes, etc.
When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these common mistakes are made: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals.
Note: These are the basic symptoms. Please see enclosed Dyscalcula information sheet for further details. ((Note: This was from an information website. I shall find the link and edit it in here.))
4-6% of the world population has Dyscalculia, many go undiagnosed because although Dyscalculia is recognized as a learning disorder, most people have no idea that it exists.
The Current Situation
Students are made to complete the required math courses despite this crippling effect, which can lead to further anxiety. They know they are not on an equal level to their fellow students. Several attempts and failures of the math course simply builds up the level of anxiety. Some do not know it is because of the math disability, and they just see themselves as ‘bad’ at math. Those people are not getting the help they deserve to succeed. Many give up their dreams of graduating, feeling frustrated since they are excellent in every other field.
Even with the aid of a math learning lab (I was once there 6 hours in one week!) it takes a lot of patience and hard work for the Dyscalculic – often leading to frustration, depression and despair when failure occurs.
What Accommodations are Currently Available?
Extra time on tests
A private tutor
Someone to read the math problem out loud
A quiet place to take the exam
Suggestions for Improvement
A math course (perhaps only for those diagnosed with Dyscalculia, or who have failed basic math class several times) that spreads over a year, instead of a semester. It is not that Dyscalculics cannot learn the material or do not want to, but need more time to do so.
An alternate math course that fulfils the same requirements, or another course (perhaps science?) that can demonstrate the students’ abilities just as well.
A calculator that speaks out the numbers when punched in. This way when anxiety kicks in during an exam, Dyscalculics can hear themselves’ making the mistake and correct it. Dyscalculics unfortunately have the habit of mistaking numbers, such as an ‘8’ for an ‘0’ when in a stressful situation and on occasion, will write it. In order for this to be avoided, Dyscalculics have to re-check their work. Sometimes they do not see the mistake even through checking, until someone has pointed it out to them.
Further awareness. Could there be a poster up in the math learning lab? I would also like to see books available in the math lab. Lets catch these poor people before they give up and leave!
NOTE: I then continued on a seperate page with a heading called "My Personal Situation" Which was a one page explanation of what was going on - when I was diagnosed, which staff members I had spoken with e.t.c I would actually like to write a little tutorial on a seperate thread on how to create a good "My Personal Situation" page I've chosen not to include it, for privacy reasons.
I finished it with this:
I desperately want to gain entrance onto the nursing program. Leaving and giving up is not an option for me. I have three children to support, twin girls who are two and a half and a four month old son.
I want to be successful, and I began the Fall ‘08 semester a month after my Grandmother passed away from cancer, and a month after my son was born. I cannot afford to stay and take the math four times over, with doubts as to if I’ll ever understand it. I do recognize the importance of math (especially in nursing!), which is why I want an opportunity to learn it. This is the reason I have taken a few drug calculation books from (name was inserted here) and I am going through the material to make sure I CAN learn drug calculations. If I cannot, then I would hate to waste everyone’s time.
Last but not least, I recommend that you present your proposal in a nice document folder (demonstrates seriousness!), and ensure that your president/principle has it BEFORE the meeting. You want them to have time to read it and think it over, rather than reading it right there in the meeting - wasting valuable discussion time!
Edited by Rae on December 14 2008 04:03 AM
Location: United States Posts: 1861 Joined: 2008-11-14
This is very professional, well thought-out and worded. I can see why it was so effective! This will serve as a great framework for other people to petition their schools for better help with their disability. Thanks for posting!
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6294 Joined: 2008-05-25
Great job, Rae. I'm so proud of you. You've done something good for all of us, and given us an example to follow.
In my case, I had to write a letter without having the dyscalculia diagnoses. I didn't get to use the same reasonings that you used, because of this. But I did send my letter to the President of my College, as you did. I'd spoken to him in advance. He said that I could drop off my letter for him, and that he would see that it was considered by the right people. I haven't heard back yet.
In my letter, I used a different strategy (of necessity). I found a document of the requirements of the American Bar Association for giving their approval to a Paralegal Program. My college has a special distinction of it's Paralegal Program being ABA approved. It's the only one in North Texas with this distinction, although many other colleges offer Paralegal Degrees. The ABA document allowed several ways that a student might not have to pass College Algebra and yet get a degree from an ABA approved program. So, by the time I got through with my letter, it WAS a four page document. Plus, I printed out the 23 page ABA document. This is what happens when lawyers get involved, folks. - jus'
By all means, feel free to use it Tammy. Its here to help - however, wait for "my personal situation" Tutorial before you hand it in. I'll be writing that up pretty soon. It will be a seperate thread.
Jus, what you said in the first part of your post humbled me. You've absolutely no idea how your words pulled at my heart strings. I have tears in my eyes. I think I'll be copying this thread and posting it on my wall. You guys are just the best.
Also Jus, I think you're doing a wonderful job with your campaign. I am confident that your hard work will help. Good luck!
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6294 Joined: 2008-05-25
Rae had the idea of starting this Thread last year at at just about this same time in the year. And now, as I was looking at the videos that one community college offers under the heading Health & Medicine, I saw that the first subheading is "Diseases, Disorders & Disabilities". So, looking down the list of offerings, what 'Learning Disabilities" do they have a video to address? None. Zero. Nada. They don't offer a single video on any disability on this cc website! I don't want to 'overwhelm' them with too many suggestions. But what would be a good video, representative of MLD, but presented in a 'moderate' manner, respectful of the viewing audience, would be a great choice to have on this list? And, incidentally, they also have nothing under "Developmental Disabilities", "Physical Disabilities", or "Speech Disorders". - jus'
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Edited by justfoundout on December 26 2009 06:32 PM