Dyscalculia‎ > ‎

Manage It

TAKE CONTROL OF MATH LD

ASSESS
(1) Get an informal assessment of your dyscalculia symptoms. 
(2) Analyze math processing, math errors, and math learning history.
(3) Review teaching tools and strategies that will help manage the problem.

LEARN 
(1) Special teaching can show you how to think mathematically, using parts of your brain that work exceptionally well (like spoken and written language). We must bypass the defective math processing area.

(2) Another great angle, is to visit your local library and look in the math section. 
You'll find hundreds of books that explain all of the essential math concepts visually. 
Read these, as if reading to a younger child. Understand the ideas well enough to teach them to a young child,
(you can even pretend to teach the dog). 
Illustrate and demonstrate the concepts.  

(3)  At the most fundamental level, you need to understand the base-ten system used in the USA. 
You need to know that we have only 10 digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 8. 9) that are combined to make all of the numbers we use, 
just like we have only 26 letters that are combined to make all of our words.


(4)  Just like with letters, digit order matters! As pit is different than tip, 124 is different than 421. 
You have to be able to explain WHY this is so. Then you will get that it is no shame to triple check that you have the digits in the right order, because it makes a world of difference.  It is certainly worth the time and trouble to investigate.
And once you know that you are plenty smart, but that your brain is prone to these types of mistakes, you will be INVESTED in using strategies to eliminate these mistakes. (Opposite of hating math, avoiding it, and expressing hostility toward it.)

(5)  You can liken it to a man who is color blind. No amount of cursing, trying, willing, or determining, will make him see colors accurately! After getting laughed at for dressing funny or other embarrassments, he'll make sure he has a friend help him label his clothes by color so he can wash and organize them, and dress appropriately! Maybe he'll ask his friend to write on the labels: blu, blk, red, gre, org, brn... No shame there!

(6)  Understand that the math processing center of your brain has a defect that we can't operate on to correct; but we do know that we can use the areas of our brain that work very well, to do some of the work that the damaged area should do. This is a relief because it means that you no longer are expected to try harder, or work longer, to get math! 

(7)  NOW YOU KNOW THAT YOU MUST WORK AT MATH DIFFERENTLY!
You can't learn math the normal way-- just like a blind person, or deaf person 
cannot benefit from typical classroom instruction! 
Because their disabilities are visible, everyone knows that they must use different methods 
to acquire information, communicate, and navigate life.

Learning disabilities are just as real, and they also require totally DIFFERENT METHODS.

(8)  For more on these methods, see:

http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/our-lessons

http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/money

http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools/fix

TAKE CONTROL
(1) You will never outgrow dyscalculia, but you can conquer it by 
learning to take control of your own thinking, learning and responses.

(2) For instance, you have dyscalculia, and may not remember accurately which exit to take, 
so you should write it (plus all important roads and numbers) in black Sharpie on an index card, 
and tape this to your dashboard for quick reference (as a backup to your phone or GPS), 
because exit 118 and 181 are a great distance apart!

(3) You get the idea! Just knowing that you're prone to make these errors, allows you to control for them. 
Now you can avoid the tears and frustration of getting lost, being late, and missing appointments. 

When you didn't understand that you had a problem, you just lived in this perpetual state of confusion 
and with the frustration and anger that resulted.

(4) Here's another example, instead of asking for a phone number, 
or for someone to repeat instructions involving directions or numbers, 
keep a pen and small notebook in your pocket and quickly pull it out and say, 
"Would you mind writing that down for me? Thanks!"

(5) Now you can hand your phone to someone and ask them to call themselves, 
or ask them to enter their contact info into your phone or write a note. 

(6) The more you use these tactics, the more comfortable you are, 
and the more efficient and successful you become.

(7) You will learn to do this for figuring discounts, sales tax and tips,
 and for all of the other daily math tasks that can make you feel really bad 
because (unless you have a strategy) your brain is too slow to calculate on the spot.

(8)  Keep a calculator handy and know that multiplication means repeated addition and division means repeated subtraction. 

(9)  Know how to use a tip and sales tax calculator on your phone or device. 

(10)  Here's another example: You can't remember numbers, 
not even how much you spent on lunch yesterday, 
but if you set up transaction text message alerts and daily balance alerts and
calendar notifications and time reminders, you will always know what time it is 
and what's coming up, and your bank balance and upcoming bills, 
and it will be easy to look up all of the numbers in your life.

These are all examples of strategies that can make your disability invisible to others and manageable for you.