Comments: Trying to Purchase... Hope

Bless his heart and yours...wish I knew of a way to help...

Posted by Mrs. Who at June 13, 2012 10:25 PM

Miss Bou, as you know, I grew up with "paper math". The times have changed and I truly hope we don't run out of batteries. Don't get me wrong, I love technology, but..........

Posted by Yabu at June 13, 2012 11:39 PM

Have you considered non-traditional methods with him? Maybe find someone who can sing it to him? Make it into a colorful game? Just a thought... He is a smart boy but I think his retention is just different and requires a different way to make it stick. Regular stuff... not sure it will ever work with him.

Posted by vwbug at June 14, 2012 05:53 AM

With our oldest son it took years and years and years of repetition to make anything really stick. Now he's in his 20's, and it seems like it is FINALLY all coming together to make sense. I hope that is more encouraging than discouraging!

Posted by PeggyU at June 14, 2012 04:25 PM

Have you heard about The Khan Academy? I heard about this on 60 Minutes a while back. It offers free online tutoring in stuff like math. And some people think it works miracles...including Bill Gates!

Check out the article, maybe it's something to look into:

Posted by DogsDontPurr at June 14, 2012 06:31 PM

I think it is going to take repetition over and over. It took him three years to learn how to divide (what we call 'using the garage').

Funnily enough, he was never able to use a calculator until this year and now it is as if he cannot function without it. What I had hoped would be a tool, has become a crutch in thinking and that's unfortunate.

The Khan Academy won't work for him alone. He could use it as something to assist, but he gets too distracted and he needs human presence to keep him settled and to motivate. Left to his own devices, nothing gets learned or accomplished. It is the ADD of the ADHD.

It's so funny, how many people I know that think that ADD is not real. They think the kids are over diagnosed and talk about how it's because of undisciplined households. I even had family on my husband's side that felt that way.

But I live with a person with it and it is very very real. If the medical community is over diagnosing, shame on them because it's only hurting kids like my son who has it and who totally struggles because of it.

He said to me once, 'I wish I was like everyone else. This is a curse. The only good thing about it is I'm really thin and can eat anything I want...'

Which was kind of funny.

I think what pisses me off is that I know he has some sort of math disability and I wish instead he had dyslexia because people take reading problems seriously, but not math. If you get diagnosed with dyslexia, so much research has been done, so much progress in how to help, they can function.

And I really think that deep down, math disabilities are along the same channel. I don't think society takes it seriously enough to try and figure out this portion of the population overcome and learn to function.

He learns differently. He retains differently. But nobody has ever cared enough to help. Not ONE person in his life... NOT ONE teacher has ever said, 'he has a math disability, I can help'. NOT ONE. He had a 6th grade teacher that got through, but that was luck, I'm realizing.

And the damage has been done, perhaps permanently. He now has beyond math test anxiety into a full on phobia. His brain locks down, some little voice in him says, "You can'd do this. You know you can't... it's all new. You are stupid" and he looks at the test and just starts making stuff... stuff I know he knows, but stuff that is locked away by anxiety.

it is sad...

Posted by Bou at June 14, 2012 07:39 PM

I understand your pain and his frustrations too. He sounds like me when it comes to math. When I was his age, I just couldn't get it. My mother would get so mad with me. I still struggle because I'm trying to catch up. Fractions were particularly difficult. Working with tools helped me. Seeing the different size wrenches and matching them to the proper bolts helped me "see" the numbers. Also, the fact that the tools have the fractions written on them helped me to put and size and the numbers together. I had to understand how the numbers and math fit into the real world not just on paper. Things like measuring carpet for a room. Stuff like that. I don't know if it will help him or if you've already tried it. Just thought I would throw it out there.

Posted by Sticks at June 14, 2012 10:19 PM

This comment section and post do hit a bit home for me, Bou, you know I have been there. I made it through, and now work in an environment where math is critical - and calculators OK (though I find I now need them less than "normal" people I work with- once my mind decides a skill is pertinat to the real world, it decides to keep it). The "damage" is NOT permant. It is really tough to study really hard and not master, when everybody else does. That impacts you to your very base. You question your intelligence, even though you know you are more than intelligent. But I KNOW that your greatest curse - can also be your greatest asset. Support him in his effort (when he really trys), my Mom holding my feet to the grindstone, but never giving up on me and supporting me when I did the best I could, but it wasnt as good as I She (and I) would have liked. Even when I pretended I didnt care. He can accomplish anything (well maybe not 6th grade math - I am thinking more long term here), if he does not give up, he will not give up if he knows that somebody believes in him. The long road is still ahead - the greatest differences between your two personalities still lie ahead. He is blessed - he needs to know this. Your greatest blessing is also your greatest curse.....

Posted by Webb at June 14, 2012 11:48 PM

Sounds to me like he just can't put together a mental picture of what he's doing with the math. If I can't get a picture of what I'm trying to do in my head, no amount of teaching or tutoring will help me one bit, I'm dumber than a bag of hammers. Once that mental picture comes into focus, then I can solve almost anything. He may well be the same way, but have some sort of block making it more difficult to form that visual representation in his head.

Just a theory...

Posted by diamond dave at June 15, 2012 09:06 PM

Webb- That is a big part of it. "Why do I have to study for it and I still don't get it and my brothers don't have to study?" He sees me sit down with my eldest, who doesn't take his math book to class, cram a 9 weeks into his head in a couple hours and he makes an B+, one of the highest grades in the class.

And you always give me hope. Everytime I post on my struggles with him, my concerns, my hopes or my dwindling hope, you bring it all back to what it is... the end game is there and is totally possible.

I've been dwelling on this (surprise!) and I think... what we might find on Monday is that when this tutor sits down with him and says, "Bones, this is how you convert a fraction to a decimal..." he'll say, "Oh! right! I can do that..." and he'll run through the problems. Because it's there. I can see when the light turns on.

But then... the light goes out and I don't know anymore if it is 100% retention, an inability to focus, or a test paralysis. And I think the test paralysis is not just from 'Oh crap! It's a test!", but "Some is going to think I'm stupid..."

And I also decided, if he doesn't end up in remedial math, I'm keeping a tutor 3x a week. It has to be someone other than me.

And I'm also thinking of NOT having him do remedial math, because he signed up for PE and I think he needs it. I think he needs an hour where he just gets out there and runs and plays.

I'm a bit torn on how I'm going to handle that if they say, "remedial math..."

Posted by Bou at June 15, 2012 09:08 PM

Webb - you are so right. So very right! I would have said the same thing. Don't give up Bou!!! Don't do it. They will try to make you give up. Try to tell you "well, maybe he should just fail"!!! Don't listen. You hang in there and keep looking for something that will trigger his thoughts.

I so get that whole "if it was just something they expect as a disability then they would do everything to help him". Oh yeah, I have been there. If your kid doesn't fall into their pre-arranged little round hole, you can kiss their help good bye and it's all up to you.

Okay so here is my suggestion. I read it once in a book for dyslexic kids. I'm not sure it will help, but maybe, just maybe it will be something Bones can latch onto and "see" in his own head.

Buy some play-doh. Do the math using numbers he creates from the play-doh. Also create the division symbols. So he actually MAKES them with his hands and then possibly just maybe sees them in his head. So have him make the number 3 then the number 11 then the line between. Then he makes that division sign and he moves the number 3 under the division sign and the number 11 in front of it... then he makes the numbers that create the answer in decimal.

It may not work. But it's a cheap way to try something new. Something he can possibly latch onto visibly. The color and the fun of making something with his hands. I thought it would be worth a shot putting this in the comments. If it doesn't work, you're no worse off. If it does, it would be wonderful.

My dear, you have all my prayers and good vibes headed your way. I've been there and made it through. It's the hardest job in the entire world dragging a kid through school that the teachers just don't want to be bothered to deal with. *sigh*.

Posted by Teresa at June 17, 2012 06:12 PM