View Full Version : math for the dyslexic kid?

Hayley M
02-08-2011, 07:48 PM
Hi all!

I have not visited the board in some time. Around Christmas my daughter was diagnosed with severe dyslexia: moderate dysphonetic dyslexia, and moderate/severe dyseidetic dyslexia.

She is doing well with therapy, and making improvements slowly but surely, but one thing I'm becoming increasingly concerned about is math.

I know that dyslexia can affect math performance, and since she has some very big sequencing problems it has become obvious that we are making zero progress in mathematics.

The program that we are using employs an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, but it also incorporates other methods to help with some of the other deficits that dyslexic children often have. I feel it will eventually help her with her sequencing difficulties, which will probably help improve her ability to do math, but what do I do in the meantime? She is 8 1/2 and cannot count coins properly! She gets all mixed up at every turn. I don't want to keep pushing her, because it just makes her feel stupid, but I'm at a loss!

Any advice is welcome!


Katherine in CA
02-08-2011, 09:42 PM
Hi, Hayley,

You might want to check into the possibility of your daughter also having dyscalculia, which is basically a mathematics dyslexia:




You might want to consider Right Start Math, which relies heavily on a specially designed abacus, grouping items in 5's and 10's, and has many other manipulatives and lots of card games.

Or perhaps Touch Math:


How about playing a lot of hands-on games, like setting up a store, etc.?

You're right in not wanting to push it -- maybe by getting therapies for the dyslexia, math will follow. The other moms here will have good suggestions, I'm sure. Hoping you find some answers! :group:

Hayley M
02-09-2011, 03:09 PM
We actually use Right Start Math, and she has picked up on some very basic things, but otherwise has made no progress.

We put RS down for a while, since it was getting very boring for her (there are only so many times that you can repeat the same lessons when things aren't being "gotten" before the poor kid is bored silly). She gets a weekly allowance, which she uses to buy little things here and there. I noticed that she was pretty much incapable of counting money when buying something. So, I have been working on coin counting, etc... But to no avail. She has memorized that 1 quarter is 25 cents, 2 is 50, and 3 is 75... but when you ask her to add on 10 cents or 5 cents you suddenly get all sorts of wacky answers. Delia, what is 25 cents plus 10 cents.... "ummm... 53?" "No, honey." "64?" "no.." "44!!! It's 44!" This scene plays out over and over. I even have a hundreds chart for her to use, and I have to constantly reteach her how to use it. I'm banging my head here.

I'm so frustrated with the math thing. I know she is too, but I need to find a way to start helping her progress. I don't expect "grade level" from her (what the heck is THAT anyway), but she needs to begin to do some very basic and practical things... like count money. She basically can count if she starts at 1 and can add number that equal 12 or less. This is pretty much all she has mastered.

I guess it's possible she has dyscalculia, but I cannot afford to get her screened for yet another LD. I shelled out around $825 right after Christmas for her dyslexia eval, and I currently pay $580 per month for therapy. I need some tips for helping her myself.

Hayley M
02-09-2011, 03:15 PM
Oddly, the touch math thing is something I taught myself to do when I was around 8 or 9 years old so that I could get through math more quickly. I always did fairly well in math, but I was always slow to do the computations. It helped me to be more accurate and quicker. No one gave me the idea... I was just a visual kid and noticed that you could imagine a number of points in each number. The only one I never assigned points to was 9. I only discovered that there was an actual curriculum that used this method a little over a year ago! Imagine how proud I was of myself! "Heck... I invented THAT when I was 8!" LOL!

Anyhow, I taught my daughter this very technique. But getting her to actually USE it is a battle. I tried to teach my oldest too (who also has math troubles, but not as bad). And he won't use it either. These two drive me nuts.

02-09-2011, 03:37 PM
I also have a dyslexic child, who struggles with sequencing.

My child is 2 and is good at math, BUT I have for about a year allowed him to use a math mini office during math time. It started out with large colorful pictures of basic concepts, like shapes, liquid measurements, coins and their values, linear measurements using a ruler picture, and the formulas for basic things like the area and perimeter of a shape,etc... It has evolved into having a multiplication chart, formulas for doing multiple digit multiplication, long division, fractions ( adding, subtracting, etc...), and the basics in picture form of nearly everything he is required to remember for math.

It is on a large tri fold cardboard display and he sets it up when he does his math. If he comes to a problem he doesn't remember all the steps to, he just looks up, refreshes his memory and goes on. Slowly, I notice, him doing and remembering things he used to have to look at each time.

I use Math U See with him and it works for most things. I have thought of changing, but he is on grade level, so I just keep on going.

Hoping you find a way to help your child, too.

02-09-2011, 03:45 PM
My ds12 has severe dyslexia and we are finally up to adding and subtracting with borrowing. I throw some multiplication, fractions, and geometry in there sometimes as well, mainly for introduction at this point and not mastery It's been a slow, steady process.

I use a combination of things; Miquon, Math Mammoth, math games, and living math books. I put together a math mini-office with different things on it like a 100 chart, coin amounts, etc., whatever we are working on at the time so he can refer to it if needs to.

I try to keep things moving, and keep it interesting without doing tons on paper. I try to make everything as visual as possible, adding color and stories. We do a lot of talking with our math. A lot is trial and error.

We use the touch math idea, which helps. I just colored in dots on his math paper for him at first.

I haven't found one true curriculum that is effective and cost-effective, but Math Mammoth has really helped this year and the cost if minimal. Of course I still have to alter it some to meet his needs, but is gives me a good format to follow-- I just can't move along as fast and have to add tons more practice problems and review. But I like it. Miquon I already had from when my girls were younger-- I like using the rods.

Living math books have also been a blessing. Just go to your libraries math section, they should have tons.

And you really can't beat a good math game.

The main thing is, I try and focus on one concept at a time in many different ways.

Hope that helps.

Hayley M
02-09-2011, 03:49 PM

Thank you so much! I also have a 12 year old (I think you meant 12, not 2, right? :)) I have recently started allowing him to use a multiplication chart to do his math (I have him doing 6th grade math, even though he should be in 7th). We had tried over and over to help him memorize the multiplication facts, with very little success. I figured that since he gets the concept, that allowing him to use the chart might help drill the facts into his head by lowering his frustration, allowing him to do his math faster, thereby providing more repeated exposure to those facts. Crossing fingers!

Anyway, would it be too much trouble to ask you to take a photo of this board you use and post it here? I would love to give my oldest something like that to help him out.

Thank you!

02-09-2011, 03:50 PM
the basics in picture form of nearly everything he is required to remember for math.

YES. This is what we do to. I start out with pictures on his work papers, we do lots of talking, using manipulative, then when I realize he's getting it, I move the concept to the mini-office.

Hayley M
02-09-2011, 03:55 PM
I have been using Math Mammoth with my 12 year old and 5 year old (Thank God my 5 year old appears to be slightly advanced! He is reading at a 1st grade level and is doing 1st grade math... I don't know how much more I could take of learning disabilities!! LOL!)

I like the idea of a mini math office! I have never heard of this before. I didn't realize when Ester mentioned it that it was a "thing"... if you know what I mean! :lol: I will do some online searches and see what I can find! You ladies are just wonderful! I knew I'd get some direction here. God bless you!


Katherine in CA
02-09-2011, 04:05 PM
Great ideas, Ladies! :clap:

I was also advised to freely let my dd use the multiplication chart on the wall for reference.

And here's a funny -- my grown stepson (now 33 years old!) 'confessed' that although he earned his MBA and has been a successful stockbroker, he never could learn his multiplication tables, so he just skip-counted! :lol:

Not sure if you're a member, but HSLDA has full-time LD specialists on staff who can also greatly help with their expertise and advice.

Hayley M
02-09-2011, 04:29 PM
Great ideas, Ladies! :clap:

Not sure if you're a member, but HSLDA has full-time LD specialists on staff who can also greatly help with their expertise and advice.

The great advice just doesn't end!!! So, glad I decided to ask here! I actually am a member of HSLDA!

And to be honest, I never memorized my mult. facts either. I remember certain ones and use those to figure out the others. What's 7x8? I don't know! But I do know that 7x4 is 28, and 28+28 is 56. I figure it out that way EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! :lol: And even without those basic facts memorized, I can honestly say that I have pretty good math sense. Math just makes sense to me even though I'm not good at rote memorization.

02-10-2011, 09:47 AM

Anyway, would it be too much trouble to ask you to take a photo of this board you use and post it here? I would love to give my oldest something like that to help him out.

Thank you!

I will certainly try. The one he uses now is not so colorful. It is mostly how to do the more complex things now. How to add fractions, how to do a long division problem step by step. He "gets" the concept, but the details often fly out the window!

I may have to wait and let my dh help me with a picture, but I will try.