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Telling the time - ideas for teaching a 14 yr old
#1 Print Post
Posted on June 15 2012 08:17 PM

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I have a daughter with fetal alcohol syndrome, who has severe dyscalculia. In spite of being at a non mainstream school since year 4, they and I are at wit's end. She still has no concept of time or any Maths or coinage ability at all. She retains nothing mathematical overnight. She reads quite well, but her comprehension is poor. I have been looking for special needs clock aids, but can't find anything suitable. We have tried the one hour hand method, but while she seems to get the hour thing, she doesn't retain it overnight.

Any aids or ideas please?
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Posted on June 15 2012 09:38 PM

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Dear Loislane,
This occurs to me,... have her make a clock face with the numbers, but leaving extra room for other drawings. At 12 noon, have her draw a plate of whatever she has for lunch. At 1 pm, have her draw herself playing ball with the dog. At 2 pm, have her draw the screen from her favorite TV show, etc. Try to see if she can connect the number and location to the picture of what she does at that time of day. (I'm thinking of this 'in pictures'. Forgive me that the description becomes tedious.) - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on June 15 2012 09:39 PM
#3 Print Post
Posted on June 15 2012 09:46 PM

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A great suggestion I hadn't though of. I'll suggest it to the school too. I'll let you know!
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Posted on June 16 2012 05:56 PM

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Honestly, given your DD's difficulties, spending class time learning to read a clock feels like a waste of time. Perhaps get her a digital watch and start helping her manage her time. Does your child learn well with concrete manipulatives such as c-rods and base 10 cubes, and or abacus? Some students don't and rely on math programs similar to Semple math.

In the past, I've ask Geoff about FAS. I believe he stated that the damage to the brain varied due to when exactly the growing fetus was exposed to the alcohol and for how long. I think he mentioned something about difficulty with the connectivity between the two brain hemispheres. Perhaps Geoff will correct me and explain further.

You will need to inquire about this. I believe there are physical exercises that OTs can do with your child that cross the mid-line. Exercises would be akin to taking the right hand and touching the left knee, alternating back and forth, or kicking a soccer ball 10 times with the left foot and then 10 times with the right foot. Many of the exercises seem simple but can be difficult for these kids, and their purpose is to exploit the plasticity of the brain and establish new brain connections between the two hemispheres.

You mentioned reading comprehension in the other thread. I was recently advised to sit with my son and have him read aloud to me, 15 minutes per day 3 times per week. I do this with history and science homework. Afterwards, stop and ask questions to ensure she comprehends the reading. Sometimes, these kids read fluently with little to no comprehension. For comprehension development, you have to go back to the beginning reading levels and start there with comprehension. There are specific programs for this and you need to contact with someone more familiar with them. An O-G tutor would be great for feedback.

I mentioned the WTM forum in the other thread. These parents have children with abilities and issues that cover the learning spectrum. I'm amazed at the breadth of knowledge. These people homeschool, afterschool, and place their kids in public school, so you would be able to get immediate feedback. Blessings, Heather
Edited by heathermomster on June 16 2012 05:59 PM
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Posted on June 16 2012 09:45 PM

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Thank you for your reply.

I imagine Nat was exposed to alcohol and drugs all through pregnancy - her birth mother was alcoholic and a prescription drug addict.

Her Maths abilities don't stretch to anything other than counting, and numbers don't mean anything to her. I don't particularly want to teach her any non essential skills, but I do consider time to be essential. We have tried the digital route, and while she can say it's 4.15, it doesn't mean anything to her.

With regard to comprehension, she reads quite well, but retains very little. Only by repetition over many weeks oes it sink in, and then only if she is interested!
#6 Print Post
Posted on June 17 2012 09:40 AM
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Hi Lois and welcome here,

As Heather wrote, the fetus goes through a process of building a brain, which follows a timeline, as it develops new regions and then adds new regions it.
Where the brain can looked as a sort Thinking Tool-box.
So that each of the brain regions, can viewed as a type of Thinking Tool.
But the confusion with FAS, is that it can effect the development of any of the Thinking Tools? Which is unique to every child.
Where I particularly noted your mention that she: 'tries hard and is attentive and well behaved'.
Which is an important indication, that she has developed the thinking tools, for self-regulation.
But their are 3 other main Thinking Tools, that brain develops.
Which are Auditory, Visual and Spacial.
Where each play their unique role, and work together with each other.
So that the real question, is how the FAS has effected your daughter's Auditory/Visual/Spacial thinking?
So that it can be understood at this level.
While we hear the word 'three' and see a symbol '3', and look at a group of 3 objects.
What actually happens first in the brain, is that it recognises these 3 separate things, as a group.
Lois, to understand this, if you look at any group pf 2 or 3 items in front of you? You will immediately recognise them as 2 or 3.
Though it spacial thinking that use to link these items together, to form a group.
But with a Spacial thinking difficulty, these groups are formed in the mind.
So that with Spacial thinking, we concieve of a quantity, and then give it a name or number.
Where you wrote that 'numbers don't mean anything to her'?
But we actually have to first concieve of different size groups, which is where meaning occurs. Then we learn the names and symbols for these different sized groups.
Though Spacial thinking also plays an important role in 'comprehension'?
While we take in information as words or visual images, spacial thinking provides a thinking tool, to link it all together.
Where comprehension is basically a linking together of auditory and visual information.
Where new information is linked into what we already understand.
Where you wrote she reads quite well, which use auditory and visual thinking.
So that the question is whether it is Nat's spacial thinking that is the primary issue?
#7 Print Post
Posted on June 28 2012 12:46 PM

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It always helped me remember something by giving each number something distinct, like a color or font, so I made a clock (on paper) with strange-looking, colorful numbers. I took that with me for a while, then I started to remember 'blue-red'=little-hand-twelve, big-hand-one=12:05, and gradually I memorized the hand positions. I can't really say why that helped, but it did.
I also find roman numerals easier to read than regular numbers, because usually if you mix up a 'I' it doesn't matter (except in the case of 'IV' v. 'VI', but you can always glance at the clock to make sure you've seen it correctly.)
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