Archives for April 2011

Dyscalculia Test

dyscalculia-helpYes, there is a dyscalculia test!

Thousands of children, teens, and adults, go through life with a math disorder called dyscalculia. Often it goes untreated. Parents say kids are lazy. Teachers complain that they’re not trying. And friends think they’re making it up.

With their parent’s permission, students can take a dyscalculia test to determine whether they are affected by it or not.

Some signs of dyscalculia can include:

  • Difficulty keeping numbers in columns
  • Confusion with math concepts?
  • Trouble with word problems?
  • Crying while doing math homework?
  • Switching to addition while doing a subtraction problem or vice versa?
  • Forgetting addition facts and multiplication facts?
  • Failure to remember math steps?
  • Changing the sequence of numerals when copying them

Older students who have difficulties with math can bring this list to the attention of their parents and teachers and ask if the adults will consider testing for dyscalculia. We have been testing students for dyscalculia for years and find these questions very helpful in determining whether testing is needed.

Students should try to provide details instead of just “yes” or “no.” Specific examples and additional comments on how the student has been coping with the problem will help.

The school can evaluate if a student has a math disorder by comparing his abilities to his score on a math assessment. When a significant discrepancy occurs, schools will provide remediation. When a school modifies math courses to better match the student’s needs, math becomes easier. With this modification for a math disorder, students often achieve at or above the level of their peers.

The following six strategies often help right away:

  • Keep numbers in columns by turning lined paper sideways so the lines become vertical guides.
  • Cover up all columns except those being worked on.
  • Use a calculator when appropriate.
  • Circle the + , –, or other arithmetic signs before doing the computation.
  • When working on a word problem, write down the information and what you’re trying to solve for. Use whatever method works best for that task such as making a list, drawing, or underlining.
  • Stay on task when doing math problems by talking to yourself out loud if you’re alone or sub-vocalize.

Children and teens do not have to suffer low grades and poor test scores in math. Dyscalculia Testing followed by appropriate modification at school or tutoring helps.

Dyscalculia Definition

It’s hard to write a simple dyscalculia definition. In its most primitive form dyscalculia is a wiring problem that affects the brain’s ability to make sense of numbers. Oddly, dyscalculia sufferers don’t have issues reading or writing, speaking or communicating. But when it comes to numbers, the brain doesn’t respond to math the way it is usually taught. [Read more…]

Homework Help: Math

Homework Help: Math 101 – understanding Pi.

“What do pies have to do with math? I looked up ‘pie’ in the math book and couldn’t find it.” This was a frazzled parent talking. It sounds like a cute math joke, but it’s true.

The word is spelled pi. It is a cute Greek letter that stands for a number a little bigger than three (approximately 3.14). [Read more…]

Free Math Homework Help

We received an email from a mom who was just looking for some free math homework help. She said “My 9 year old son flips out when he has to do math homework. I’ve tried many things to help him get through it.” She went on to say that by accident, she stumbled upon something that worked. [Read more…]

Dyslexia Diagnosis: Does my child have dyslexia

Dyslexia impacts all areas of life, and thus an early dyslexia diagnosis is important. Reading is one of the most important skills your child needs to master. He will need reading in every subject in school and in almost every facet of life. Yet, millions of kids have poor reading skills, which may be due to lack of practice or something more organic as in Suzy’s case; she has dyslexia. Her case is typical. [Read more…]

Are Geometry Proofs Useless or Important?

The answer is both.

High school students taking geometry, including the new NYS Regents Geometry Course, will be doing lots of geometry proofs.

Geometry Proofs: Junk or Gems?“When will I ever use this junk?” will almost certainly cross their minds. [Read more…]

Geometry Proofs Explanation

Remember geometry proofs? For many students, they are the basis of recurring nightmares.

Here is good news; they don’t have to be. Just do them as if you were telling a story.


Bear with me. If you were telling a story about your trip to a beach, is there any way you would mess things up like: “1. First I dried off with a towel, 2. then I dove into the water, 3. then I was wet and cold so I stepped out of the water.”? [Read more…]