Declan is a sensitive, clever, creative 8-year old who is Dyslexic. After correcting his Dyslexia, his reading, writing and comprehension improved, but he was still struggling in Maths. On the first day of the Math program, he took to the whiteboard and – in big fat letters – wrote:
MATH ALIENS COME – I NEED YOU!
On Day 3 of the program, he wiped it out and replaced it with:
NO NEED TO COME AFTER ALL THIS TRAINING – THANKS!
Visual learners, like Dyslexic individuals, have a different style of learning. Contrary to common belief, Dyslexia affects not only reading related subjects, but can also prove challenging for Mathematics.
Not everybody has Maths aliens to call upon. Declan was happy that he didn’t need to rely on them any longer and that he had found that he gets it now.
Lauren is 15 and finds it really hard to read. A Dyslexic program improved her reading, but it was still a struggle and not enjoyable. It was the Maths program, another area of difficulty, where she really found a strength and instead of working at it, she now plays at it. On her last day of the program, I stared in amazement at a really complicated calculation which she had just finished successfully and correctly. She asked me if she can do one more, please! That, for me, is the reason I love these programs. Where else can you measure success as clearly on a logical as well as an emotional level?
Let’s start, with the help of Declan and Lauren, to discover how to release your child’s Maths genie from the bottle!
Unfortunately, a lack of motivation is rarely the reason for a child’s struggle at Maths.
Many of my Dyslexic clients are challenged in Maths, not because they don’t have a ‘Maths brain’ or are lacking intelligence. Quite the opposite! They may even find that they get the most advanced Maths easier than the simple basic Math questions.
They need to be taught Maths in a different way – a way that makes sense to their visual or kinaesthetic learning style. As a problem with Maths doesn’t point any struggling child to a facilitator for Dyslexia, I won’t write the Dyslexic’s Guidebook into the Maths Galaxy. It will help any child that has a creative, visual mind.
However, if that child also has comprehension issues when reading a word problem in Maths, they might be Dyslexic and in that case a Dyslexia Correction Problem may be needed before tackling Maths. My first book, ‘the Right Brain for the Right Time’ will give you an insight into the visual world of Picture thinkers, why they are finding it harder to cope at school and how this can be helped and corrected.
In my work, a program to master reading or improve a child’s attention and focus will usually proceed a Maths Program, enabling a basic foundation for the individual to focus with ease and work with full comprehension. For this ongoing blog to be as helpful as possible, I am going to add some basic focusing tools, as a way of assuring that the child is able to place its attention to the task at hand. They are part of the Davis Dyslexia Correction Program, which you can find in more detail in ‘the Gift of Dyslexia’ by Ron Davis.
The second part of the book will address foundations of Maths, concepts that will lead to order in the brain and in the life of the person. Without these pillars, Maths is built on shaky grounds and missing even one of these Master Concepts can stop the mastery of calculi. Dyscalculia is often quite easily addressed when the ‘how’ follows the ‘why’. At school the presence of these foundations is taken for granted. It is assumed that anyone who can count to 100 actually understands what it means to count. There is a belief that teaching the ‘how-to’ will be sufficient to learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide and then go on to more abstract and sophisticated Math problems. However, missing the basics, the reasons why we add, the meaning of the symbols and amounts represented by abstract numerals leaves many children guessing and frustrated.
The third part will then address the ‘how-to’, in a fun, creative and interactive way. It will make Maths ‘real’, rather than abstract. After this much deeper understanding and reasoning behind calculations, the last part will add a different way of learning times tables. In one week or less the basic times tables should be learnt very easily and with fun.
to be continued…