If you completed the Dyscalculia Checklist and have many of the symptoms, you probably have dyscalculia. Getting tested is just a formality.
If testing is necessary to secure services, make sure the person evaluating knows what dyscalculia is and has experience diagnosing it. Ask them what they are looking for and how they will know when they find it. Have they experienced dyscalculia or just read a little about it?
Go with a neuropsychological evaluation over a psychoeducational evaluation if you have a choice.
Stop tutoring if it is currently ineffective and frustrating. You need an entirely different approach to quantitative thinking.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
(1) PLAY WITH MONEY
Instead of conventional math tutoring, explore the Money Lessons. Print out the Place Value Parking Lot and the Teaching Money PDFs that are linked in the page.
When you are all set up, you might want to set up a video consultation ($155) to get you started using these free materials and to get a complete action plan tailored to your situation. Click here to request a consultation. We will demonstrate how to use the money to teach place value, counting, base-ten system understanding, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals and percentages, and easily adding whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages (without pencil and paper).
You are going to work every day for 30 minutes just playing with money (in the time it takes to get to tutoring). You will find money fun and exciting. Use real coins and dollar bills for the smaller bills if you can (more motivating). You are all going to achieve breakthrough learning and the confidence and can-do attitude that comes with it. (You will achieve more in a week, than you could with months of tutoring.)
(2) UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT WHY MATH IS SO DIFFICULT
The math processing center of your brain is not functioning optimally. If you did an MRI, you'd see that it is not lighting up (activating) as it should be when thinking about numbers. If you could look inside that area, you'd probably find lesions or jumbled neurons and or significantly less gray matter (brain tissue).
(3) UNDERSTAND WHY AND HOW YOU NEED TO LEARN MATH DIFFERENTLY THAN EVERYONE ELSE
Knowing these things, you need to bypass this area and recruit working areas to process quantitative tasks. Usually the language functions are intact (listening, speaking, reading), and can be recruited to consider and process quantitative information.
Visual Working Memory: There is most likely an inability or insufficient ability to visualize and hold quantitative ideas in working memory. Without this, you cannot string a series of ideas together to achieve meaning.
This requires visual supports. Get dice, teach yourself to recognize the patterns. Teach yourself to count and represent numbers with these patterns (ex. 7 is comprised of 5 and 2).
Don't try to memorize anything! Memory will come naturally as a function of understanding and experiencing.
Directional Sense: Develop directional awareness and a sense of direction. These are ESSENTIAL foundational skills for math. Watch the sunset and sunrise. Talk about the direction of both. Put maps on the wall. Locate places on the maps. Watch the news. Locate places in the news on your maps. Talk about directions. Speak in terms of north, south, west, and east. For example, use the map to demonstrate as you say, "A hurricane is heading west and will hit the Atlantic coast of the Florida panhandle. Florida is east of California and south, too."
Put a child in control of getting you to destinations. You don't advance unless the child tells you how to go. Require them to speak using the cardinal direction. For example, "Mom, turn North on Epton Road toward town. Then turn East at the old red barn...." Rehearse with children first as you drive places to teach the directions, using the sun's position to reinforce cardinal directions. Always talk about where you are relative to landmarks and where you are going or other points of interest.
Develop the language of mathematics and quantitative ideas. Reward a child for identifying math words. Talk about how simple words convey math ideas: come, go, attend, leave, attended, left, up, down, before, after, now, then, more than, greater than, less than, in front of, behind, increase, decrease, last, first, add, subtract, aggregate, disaggregate, multiply, divide, add to, take away, grow, growth, excel, excellerate, reduce, reduction, advance, retreat, ascend, descend, positive, negative, price, tax, discount, tip, sale price .... Reward a child for making a math word wall. Cut out math words from the newspaper, magazines, texts, etc. Practice making word stories using these words and work out their math implications with equations. Identify the math words. Cross out the extra (nonessential or extraneous information) or descriptive words.
For example, "Seven friends attended Tommy's birthday party but only 3 stayed long enough to go swimming after he opened his presents. How many kids left the party early?"
[7 kids came over - (minus or less) 3 kids stayed long enough to swim = 4 kids left early. ]
Example: This year when I went for my annual physical, the doctor told me I should be getting more exercise because my weight increased by 20 pounds but I did not get any taller. Now I weigh 150 pounds! How much did I weigh last year?
[150 # now - 20 increase = 130 # last year]
PRACTICE WITH MONEY AT HOME: PLACE VALUE, COUNTING, TRADING UP, TRADING IN, SALES TAX, TIPS, DISCOUNTS
Teach about price and sales tax. Go to the dollar store and figure out how much to give the cashier for the items and the tax. Take lots of pennies and dimes and pennies. If tax is 8%, you need a nickel and 3 pennies for each dollar item you want to buy. PER means for each and cent means 100. So for each 100 cents (another way to say one dollar), you need 8 cents, which is another way to say 8 percent. Know that many adults have trouble with computing sales tax. Reward a child for having better skills than some grownups!
Count up all of the nickels and pennies, after making a group of 8 cents for each item. How many times did you make a group of 8 cents? Trade every 10 pennies for a dime, and every 2 nickels for a dime, and every 5 extra pennies for a nickel. Count the leftover pennies. This is trading up and makes coins easier to manage and count in little time. Trade 10 dimes for a dollar bill and 5 dimes for 2 quarters. All of this is achieved with fun, relaxed practice at home first.
TEACH TO REMEMBER
TEACH every little thing that you learn to someone, immediately and at least 4 times. Children can teach stuffed animals, a younger sibling, parents, an older sibling, visitors or the dog.Recruit an audience! Teaching = learning = remembering!