As stated in other posts, my daughter's dyscalculia stems from spatial reasoning issues. This turns Geometry into h-e-double-hockey-sticks for her. She is working her tush off (with her tutor) and with lots of work she is finallly getting it, but I am now trying to think of accomodations. Does anyone have anything for testing in particular that helped?
jus - you've just entirely described how I feel, and what my experience has been.
Insofar as geometry, there's two sides to approach geometry from. It's VERY unlikely that it will help NewEnglandMom's daughter, but I'm going to mention it anyway.
Geometry is taught as a spatial-first thing in school, because that's how most students and teachers understand it. That's how all her tutors are going to approach it, too, because it's how THEY understand the problem.
You can approach it from the opposite direction, which is proof and logic first, which generates the geometry as a result. Using this method, starting with assumptions that have no spatial consequences and using them to PRODUCE a geometry, you require no visualization ability whatsoever.
Additionally, you can go from a given drawing and systematically work without any spatial reasoning, to generate a set of assumptions to work from.
However, it requires a mathematician who thinks this way to teach it. You can't have any random tutor, because quite honestly, highschool teachers aren't good enough. I had a professor whose research area was number theory who worked this way; she was very non-visual. She was very good at number theory as a result, which I am terrible at.
The difficulty for people who are not visual is in finding mentors who succeeded to become professionals in the field, because they are rare.
The more I learn about this whole subject the more facinating it is. Geometry was the only math course I took that I really didn't like, but my problems with it are so completely different than S's. I sometimes wish I could start a new career in neuro-biology just to figure out the different wirings that happen in people's brains so we can figure out how to help everyone reach their full potential. And because it is cool. I would probably have to take Chemistry though and I don't know if it anything is worth that.
The good news is that the tutor we are working with does understand Dyscalculia and how S thinks and how to present information to her. She pointed out how badly the information is presented in T's book and has been bringing another text to every tutoring session (we finally have a copy of our own). She has been a God send and is a real advocate and aid. S also has developed a wonderful relationship with her over the past couple of years which I think has helped her even try to tackle this. They spent hours and hours going over proofs and S was getting it. But then froze up on her last quiz again. She has another test today so we are all keeping our fingers crossed (and legs, and arms and eyes...). If this one doesn't work we move on to the next level of accommodations (have a list of suggestions from the tutor).
It is just so frustrating seeing S try so hard and knowing that the teacher isn't seeing the results. But we are working on it. And we are all telling her proud we are of how hard she is trying. Frankly I am amazed at her. We have also told her that this will be good college application essay fodder
Trying to find some lightness in this whole mess:
Yesterday S asked what would happen if I was looking after the grandkids (stop, you are only 15!) and they were doing geometry homework. I said two things could happen. One is he/she would have the same issues S does but we would have progressed to the point where it was recognized and they wouldn't even have to take Geometry. The second is that their grandfather would help them. My husband said "they wouldn't be doing their math homework that night".
Paraphrase from somewhere: Problem: Name these two angles. Answer: That one is Fred and the other one is Wilma.
I remember doing just as terrible in Geometry as anything else.
That was the year I had the meeting with my mom, grade-level guidance counselor and my Geometry teacher. They wanted to determine what I wasn't understanding. Remember that I was also emotionally-behaviorally behind and shy.
My mom <who does have un-resolved childhood things> was very angry at the teacher and blamed him. They got into a confrontation and I got hysterical because it reminded me of the screaming my parents did with each at home<though, if asked, I wouldn't have been able to make the correlation at that time>. I was also upset because I couldn't even describe or understand what it was that was so difficult for me. The teacher wrote some problem on a piece of paper and slid it across the table and wanted me to explain how it was difficult for me. I had no words to even describe it at all. It was like looking at something in Hindi or something and then being asked to try to explain in Finnish while doing handstands.
So I was diagnosed with "math anxiety" and sent to counseling.
I don't get that graph problem thing at all, what does it mean?
I think I would have come out of that meeting with anxiety also. It reminds me of when I was learning how to drive. I drove 10 blocks with my father shouting at me from the passenger seat, my sister shouting at me from the back seat, and my mother in the back seat saying her rosary. I got out of the car and told them I was never driving with the three of them again.
The teacher asked why S wasn't coming to her with questions. She doesn't understand that S doesn't even know what to ask. And she terrifies S. They probably do have to get some kind of better relationship built, but I am not relying on her to get through to S. I have been trying to make a connection with her, but it is quite obvious that she doesn't have a clue what is really going on in S's head and doesn't know how to approach the problem. She is young, so that might be part of the problem. Or she is just a pill (that is basically the tutor's opinion).
For the graph you are are supposed to say that X is the square root of (3 squared + 5 squared) (5.83 according to my calculator). Instead the student just circled it. S is dying to do something like that on a test. Don't really think the teacher would find it amusing though.
NewEnglandMom, that driving lesson with your family seems like it was quite scary and difficult for you, wow! I can sure see why you would have told them that.
I learned to drive after college-I wouldn't have been able to deal with trying during high school. The combination of my social awkwardness and LD-issues, and learning to drive with other students in the urban environment where I grew up and where my high school was - wouldn't have worked for me. And I had no diagnosis in high school so there would have been no accommodations or anything. During high school, I simply never showed any interest in learning to drive, actually, and if asked, I don't know if I'd been able to articulate it then the way I just did. There was a lot of things I felt and did, back then, but I didn't know how to explain them to other people.
What you said about the questions- yeah, that was me, too. That was also part of that meeting - why doesn't she ask or tell me she doesn't understand something? Well, the answer is as described above and in that story I related.
I'm so happy for your daughter that you are playing such an aware and proactive role in this for her at this stage. She's very lucky to have you as a knowledgable advocate- most of us have not had that.
Thanks for the Geo answer, though it still makes no sense at all. I have no idea what you're talking about but that's nothing new for me-
The driving probably wasn't quite as bad as I presented it. My father was a shouter in general so it wasn't out of the ordinary. To be clear he was wonderful, but he was prone to loudness. Probably why I am sensitive to my husband being loud with the kids though.
I have never been diagnosed with it, but am probably at least on the borderline for dyslexia myself, so I can relate with what S is going through. The problem is that it is so different from my experience that I didn't recognize it as early as I would have liked. And our brains work so differently that it is hard for me to help her without making this more confusing, but I am trying to learn from listening to her tutoring sessions.
I did step up late this academic year and she managed to dig herself into a hole that we have to get her out of to move forward. I am trying not to kick myself for that too badly. It isn't productive and we just have to get her through this. I am aiming for a pass in any form right now. OK, I am just going for getting through this without shattering her confidence.
On the bright side, the work that she has done the past couple of years with the tutor seems to be paying off in her other classes. With her spatial issues she can't see the forest for the trees sometimes. Actually, she can't see the forest because she is stuck on one leaf. The tutor worked with her on this in other classes and she seems to have learned some good compensation techniques. I also have taken the time to re-iterate with each of her other teachers her problems and how it can affect those areas so they are aware of it.
Location: Munising, MI, USA Posts: 848 Joined: 2010-10-09
Geometry was the only class I ever failed. Algebra wasn't easy by any stretch, but I was able to just barely pass (although for the record, letters and numbers should NEVER be put together like that!).
Also, it's helpful that your daughter has a parent who is in her corner. That's a step up from what a lot of us have had. My mother is still in denial about my LD.
My boss is dyslexic. I am dyscalculic. We are different enough that we have separate issues, but we can also relate to each other on several other issues. It's nice to see someone else with an LD who has been successful. There is hope, you just have to hold on.
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!