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Parents and teachers, in this vlog I interview two math specialists about Dyscalculia, the “dyslexia of math”.
If your child struggles with math, you’ll want to check this out to see if it resonates.
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Hey, what’s up? It’s me, Seth Perler at SethPerler.com, and today we are going to talk about this dyscalculia, which is a math disability. I’m so excited about this, we have with us today Adrianne Meldrum, who is somebody that I’ve known for a long time. She’s one of my favorite math nerds in the world as well as Kara Scanlon who I don’t know well but they are working together on some projects. We’ll be having a dyscalculia webinar coming up in April, and Adrian and I have known each other for years. We’ve done a lot of work and support of each other’s mission for commissions and stuff like that. So I’m super stoked for this. This is for you parents and teachers if you are concerned about any kids who struggle with math, I want you to at least get it to listen to the beginning of this. After if you want to listen to the rest of this if dyscalculia might be something that that you want to take a look at.
Seth: So let’s do a quick intro. Adrianne, tell everybody about you.
Adrianna: “I’ve been tearing kids in math. And I was always frustrated because there’s always a certain percentage of my students that we would learn something. They would forget it then come back and it’s gone or they go to school couldn’t get it out on a test. Even though I knew that I was really frustrated by that your research and started learning about multi-sensory math and ADHD as well and how they affect both and it’s totally involved in my teaching and now those are not issues for my students. Because you asked a little bit about me and Kara, well, I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was five and I actually got diagnosed with ADHD about three years ago. It was always there but I didn’t mean to send that so it wasn’t a necessity for my parents to get that diagnosis and I was my medicine at the time. So because of that I have empathy for my students truly understand how difficult it is to learn for me. It was spelling, reading, writing, but the math part wasn’t really an issue for me. So that’s where I can teach it, but I can be empathetic math now that you work with kids with math nowadays. My brain is like I just don’t know how to make this not multi-sensory enough to engage even though it is. That’s where I gotta call ’em. We’re going to talk about dyscalculia. The audience needs to know what multi-sensory math is at this point.”
Seth: “Yeah, I think that would be a good way into it and my question what is multi-sensory math and why should a parent or teacher or even care that this concept exists?”
Adrienne: “Yes, multi-sensory math is all about the sensory input they were putting in and we start with kinesthetic, touching things were manipulating objects for building things with our hands, model in a Lego store in the plentiful resource. Then we moved to representation. I think of just pictures drawings, you know, real simple. I don’t have to really detail and then we moved to the abstract and all of the instruction you experience stuff that we experience. The school was all numbers. It’s a procedure, memorization. And that is how your kids are being taught right now in school, likely it’s going to be hard for them to have math. And when we were good kids online their first experience and we jump right in with that multi-sensory after about 10 minutes they say, ‘whoa, no one’s ever taught me that way before,’ and it starts to make sense and they start changing that belief. It goes from ‘I’m not a math person,’ to ‘hey, I kind of like math,’ to ‘I’m a math person. I can do this work and it’s really exciting.’ We just started out at like a third-grade level and in just nine months, he’s almost up to grade level which we are in. Just how old was, he is 14. It’s exciting to his mom, she was telling me during the assessment. She was floored because before he would fret and worry and to spend all this time spinning his wheels that she was watching him. He’s just looking confident now even though all the problems were abstract. Like he would be at school. He was supported with that multi-sensory approach so he knows what to do and how it reminds a check to just about his identity related to Muhammad Ali. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so important that so often they think I’m just mad about the limited belief that fixed the mindset. I was thrilled with the I’m just not going to I’m just really sad to talk about so parents and teachers are watching. When I’m dealing with kids with math who struggled a lot, what I talked a lot about is what I call Bucket, so you have to suck it. We’re trying to fill this bucket with math information. A hole in the bucket. So as we’re trying to keep them in math, is there a sequential gets harder and harder as the school year goes by, as years go by so they have all these holes and I think it is more complex math that they would normally be able to do if the holes were filled. It appears that they are not capable. But if we can figure out what it would that be a good metaphor for he’s like maxed out on so many things that matter on the foundational and that I’m just so excited about his progress. So before we Define dyscalculia, I want to just get people were watching really engaged in and let them make sure if they’re in the right place then and so what I’m going to ask you before I ask you for a formal definition is I’m going to ask you what do parents and teachers were working with the kid with dyscalculia hear them say, so what would a parent say if their kids were if their kid, they should be concerned what words are they? What are they saying to you? And in your mind, you’re going, ‘Oh, yeah, they’re good as what do they say? Voiding now just like this rejection of Matt. Yes, because I seem to remember math facts and I like cash through eighth-graders and they can’t even do you know 8:27 or something like that? And I’m frustrated. We spend all this doesn’t even matter doesn’t expect the frustrated and then they also talked a lot about it’s like going on 50 First Dates, you know the movie where she keeps forgetting every day that she gets up. It’s like that I put it I put it into my kid. We got it. We got it and they wake up. We are kind of like things like that. They know their kid gets the concept. You don’t even like it looks like they even mastered it is that it’s what they really get it in the next day. They can it’s gone. It’s just a hole in the bucket so big like there’s no bottom in it, even or something. It’s just gone three times on calc 1 for the third time and he’s finally like I’m actually like I’m not going to study for 50 hours for this. I know but I know how to study efficiently and I understand the concepts are ready. So I don’t need to walk her down and just do this crazy stuff because it wasn’t teaching him like the ground up. It was just there a certain holes and that’s all he needed was just Yeah. Yeah, I think another thing to that parents might not be aware that the I’m wearing a shirt that has. This phrase we use a lot. I can understand the five nights at 5. I seriously had 9th graders before where they saw dice pattern a 5in. She did not know that was 5 she had to count one by one that’s a huge red flag. And so she even though she has been keep getting passed on top bottom here. She is on her fingers it is hard. And so that’s like stuff what the statue looks like. It’s they can’t do the basic cement but somehow they just keep getting passed on so parents really frustrated by that because they don’t know what to do. They just shove a calculator in this content so she can do the calculator, but she had no idea what the number met. So is there a definition and if one of you would start with your definition and then the other of you can fill in the blanks that you would add anything, but is there a definition that would be useful to share right now? do you want to tackle that she is my walking and spikes by 40mm learning school made that for me and like For me, it just means that there’s no inherent meaning in the symbol. So you have just like I take that definition from being dyslexic and I don’t have inherent meaning in letters. I can just doesn’t mean anything to me people will show me something and if I’m not like focus and want to read it literally stumbled on a symbol of numbers, but are you talking about symbols? Like the division sign the most patient sign in? For someone with dyscalculia, there’s no insurance meaning to that so they haven’t physically seen what’s going on or like tangibly done that it’s just a little line with you. You could be a percentage sign division sign it could just be someone doodling. You know, there’s just no inherent meaning behind it because many groups you’re done, but for this absolutely and I had students before because in their mind, it’s not holding still and so it’s frustrating or the division sign plus and X all look alike. Cuz the doctor close enough that it could be so then they’re like, I I’m not really sure what I’m seeing here. I think a really good technology for that is in Reading when I’m reading. I’m sure you guys can relate to this. I see the word pencil and I can envision Tyrannosaurus Rex. I got a dinosaur alarm but it is there an image that comes to the mine for the know so it’s kind of similar on the mask side. They see a quantity. They have no image for what that is. And so that’s where the multi-sensory comes in. We’re building images that make more sense. Now, let’s move on a little bit to teachers. We have teachers watching you have a teacher and they’re in the classroom. They’re trying to teach these kids maybe never even heard of it or they don’t know much about it and they’ve been trying these approaches that they’ve been taught in terms of how to work with kids and they’re not seeing the progress and so often one of the things that I talked about so much as the shame and I’m not saying that you know, I’d like to think all the teachers that watch you’re doing and unintentional shame kids, but sometimes I actually we’re doing this. Kids are our internalizing. I’m bad at math. I just can’t do math whatever but how how does it teach her? How did the teacher know if they haven’t been trained in this? How did the teacher know the red flags? And then what types of things do teachers who do know about it? What do they do differently from teachers who don’t so that teachers who want to learn how to survive these kids can have a couple tips for how to approach this make sense? Yeah. Absolutely. So I think some of the easiest ways to identify him is when you see a disconnect between the intellect about student like they enjoy them they provide lots of interesting contacts to you know, they have three really good at conversation. Wouldn’t you agree to our students are amazing at that right? But then you’re like there’s such a disconnect. So it’s not there’s like a disconnect. You can’t see it. These are the kids to her bike. Habitually getting these an s on all assessments and even though they’re doing their homework. So there’s something off there and that should be a red flag in mind and make is thinking that they’re not putting in the effort or working cuz you’re presenting it with just equations on the floor. There’s a big disconnect. So what’s the easiest thing you could do is go back into the earlier grades look for the connection feel that you need. So I’m going to use factoring as an example factoring is based on area multiplication when you’re a little kid, so go back drawing board. We’re doing is 3 * 13 show them that you can break 13 + 2 + 10 + 3 and then we’re going to multiply and talk to them about factoring is finding with the side lengths of this area and build that bridge for them because they might not understand about what’s happening here. And so that’s one easy ways to go back. Look what the time standards from the lower grades build it up to where they are right now and lots of pictures if you can do miniature list, please do but I realize like in high school in Stratford. Hey, it’s better than nothing in my opinion. What would you add and noticed it immediately made it possible. I mean I was going to freak out class. Maximize how much cardboard you can volume and that’s why I told the kids are you open? Like you had meaning and play with it and then that’s great for geometry and just spend there so many applications later and tell that if you understand how those pieces fit together is going to make this easier. So it might seem like a time set, but it’s going to be engaging just want to play with you. Have fun. Even if they’re not needing that you know, how can I bring up the content level? I find it there. They struggle with understanding where it came from their good at memorization procedure. So even if you spend the time to go back to the concrete of how this works they’re going to burn a lot as well and keep in their own understanding of math that and we’re back. Okay, we’re going to wrap this up in like 2 2 minutes. I’m okay. So we discuss some things teachers can do and I guess what if parents are or I want to make real clear for my audience that you know, you your kids in the class doesn’t matter if they’re horse Raider 12 grade or what why they can have dyscalculia. So whatever percentage there is and there grade you’re going to have the same percentages orchids often times. The older kids will not be identified and they will be way further down the line insurance if they have accommodated for it or turn off map so much. Work I’m way longer than they need to be whatever but you have a parent there listening. They’re like, oh this is kind of bad. What can they do? Should they go get a tutor? Should they go get any old sugar? Should they go get a tutoring program or a private tutor? So they check out your thing on April 4th, you’re having the weather on it today research. It. Should they not take more math class. Should they push their get into either classia and you against any regular owl tutoring. Is it going to work still a you know, the big box to drain people out there that franchises or whatever just a waste of money because it’s more of the same it’s exactly what they’re experiencing at school. And obviously that’s the definition of insanity right we’re doing So you’re going to want to look for a tutor therapist that has background that’s like cars and educational therapist. She has training in making math real I have training in multi-sensor master Marilyn zecher the methods are similar, but there’s a little bit of differences but overall we both get results for a kiss. And what where are you exactly? Why do you teach differently because someone can say why I understand but yeah because that’s going to tell you a lot because they might be doing the same thing. We’re doing in school and it’s just going to take it at face value another method. You could look around for someone that has blood in math. That’s another phrase for a guy who’s doing multi-sensory, but you don’t How to choose to work with us, but if you want some helping pointed in the right direction, make sure you come to 11 are we would love to help you send us an email. We know people were connected we can help you figure that out. So I’m definitely don’t settle for just more of the same spot as the biggest advice there. And then what advice do you have for them? And that this is something we could spend a whole session on them sure when they are trying to Advocate at with a school and I hear this live in the school doesn’t get it or isn’t really they may make some lip service but they’re not nothing is changing. So what what what should I say to the school? We can do a whole nother one of them. You know try to really work with the school. There’s been a few crazy situations car and I’ve been able to work out because we are who we are sometimes we’re able to work it out cars working with someone right now where she is the Lead Teacher. She’s teaching the student Algebra 2. I’ve done that before as well where I’ve been teaching the 7th grader all the seventh grade math in the school was on board. They wanted to help they realize that they lack the resources, right? So it’s difficult again there but it’s worth the effort. It takes a lot of back and forth. But you can advocate for that. You can ask for. Where they go online to meet with us or maybe send a teacher through some training or something like that and get the kids to help. They need you’d be surprised schools are more willing than you think. You just have to go in there with an open mind and not being threatened or highly emotional. Hopefully they’ll be receptive and and and hopefully they can go in there armed with the knowledge. Hopefully from this right now or me webinar from the research on it. So we have to wrap up today any final. No, I just hope you can come join us. We just skimmed the surface. There’s so much more we can share. Come As You Are What’s the correct name for a little deeper for you? And really help you get a vision of what’s really needed to turn the ship around? All right, this is Cara Scanlon and Adrian Meldrum and you claim both of them online and we will see you soon. Thank you guys so much.