Overcoming Adult Dyscalculia

Hoping to become a psychologist, a 28 year old friend of ours asked for our advice in overcoming adult dyscalculia. Her worry was the math section of the GRE exam sheadult-dyscalculia would have to pass to get into a good graduate school. Her worry certainly isn’t unwarranted, but there are ways to get around adult dyscalculia.

Fortunately, there are many paths to take to reach the goal of graduate school (or anything else for that matter). Here are a few suggestions:

  • Taking the GRE math course isn’t going to be easy, but first give it a try by taking a prep course or hire a qualified math tutor who can teach strategies and sufficient math skills in order to pass. However, that certainly won’t guarantee a good score on the exam.
  • Before going through all the anguish and expense of a course or private tutoring, contact the colleges of interest and explain the situation. They help solve problems like this, and likely will be interested in helping overcome adult dyscalculia as well. When calling, speak to an admissions counselor, or the chair of the Psychology Department or the dean of the graduate school in psychology.
  • Whether it’s psychology or a managerial position at work, what have you got to lose? On the flip side, think of what you have to gain by initiating an open discussion with folks? (Not every one understands how quirky the brain can be about learning certain things, so use discretion if awareness of the issue would negatively impact the situation long term. There are yet other options, first.)Before taking the GRE or even preparing for it, research graduate schools and their requirements. Some universities may not require the GRE. Research thoroughly because they have many other requirements that are similar. Many wonderful opportunities are out there, so keep researching.

Finally, remember that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s important in life to find your own strengths and go with them. Don’t ruin your life with sadness or pity by dwelling on the weakness. If there is no way around math think of other options.

What’s often hard for people to budge from is the vision they’ve created for themselves at a certain school or in a certain job. But the fact is there are always ways to be doing what you love with a different title or address. Sometimes the process of overcoming adult dyscalculia means those of us who have it must dig a bit deeper to find the gold.

As an example, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) can have very similar careers as psychologists including private practice work as psychotherapists. Often the requirements are less stringent for this degree. Many other helping careers may not require math. Make an appointment with a career counselor privately or at a nearby college to explore your options. There’s more than one path to take to find the right career.

Henry Winkler is Honored with OBE

Henry Winkler, most famously known as “the Fonz” from Happy Days was awarded an honorary OBE from the Queen of England for his work raising awareness of dyslexia in the U.K. British ambassador Nigel Sheinwald presented the OBE during a ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. [Read more…]

Adult Learning Disability

adult-learning-disorderIs it possible you have an adult learning disability? The answer is a resounding yes for sure. And in most cases the adult has known it since they were a child and have learned how to adapt to overcome it. But for many the frustration it causes is just. . . well. . .downright frustrating. Fortunately, that can go away. [Read more…]

What does a dysgraphia diagnosis mean?

dysgraphia-diagnosisThis is a story about a dysgraphia diagnosis.

Josh struggles in school because writing is so hard for him. Even though he tries writing until his hand hurts, he can’t ever seem to form the letters correctly or put his thoughts on paper. He has trouble copying from the board and he can’t take legible notes. He has trouble writing down his homework assignments which frustrates his parents because they can’t help him with his homework. They can’t decipher what he writes. His teachers ask him to rewrite his papers because they can’t read them. His spelling is abysmal and his grammar, punctuation and capitalization are just as poor. Josh even struggles in math class because his numbers get mixed up. One column of numbers somehow ends up in the other column and his fours look like nines and his sixes never seemed to be closed so they are misinterpreted as ones. [Read more…]

Causes of Dysgraphia

dysgraphia-tutoring (2)I was dismayed to see how many people research the causes of dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is a not a disease or a fungus or an affliction like frostbite. Dysgraphia describes a difficulty some brains have communicating actions that require the body’s fine motor skills, like writing and shoe tying. [Read more…]

What is dysgraphia?

dysgaphia-helpWhat is dysgraphia? If you read most definitions you’d come away with the idea that it is some disease that needs treating, but that is far from true. Dysgraphia is a term that describes a communication path between the brain and the fingers. That’s it. [Read more…]

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.

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…]

NY SAT & PSAT Test Prep

NY SAT Prep and PSAT Prep Advice

Whether your New York based  SAT test preparation consists of working on your own, in a group or class, or one-to-one with a qualified SAT tutor, the following advice will help you get the best scores possible. [Read more…]

Help with Homework

Homework debate: Too much homework vs. Ban homework; No homework vs. Is homework beneficial?

What are parents and children to do solve the homework dilemma?

Homework has become one of the biggest issues for parents and kids. It brings with it anger, frustration, tears, fears and family disharmony. Jack, a nine year old, often spends all afternoon and evening doing homework, sometimes until eleven o’clock at night. In addition, he always needs help with it, so his mom and dad got him a homework helper from a tutoring service. [Read more…]