Category Archives: Dyscalculia

Mom , be objective!

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This year my daughter starts third grade. She is starting to turn into this wonderful little student who can actual explain what she is learning. She is also able to tell me all I ever wanted to know about a subject. She was fascinated with tape worms , she did her research. I was not so fascinated.

However, when her school room assignment came and her Best friend forever like a sister to her was also in her class we knew it had to be changed. It had absolutely nothing to do with the teachers assigned. It had everything to do with those two can not NOT talk to each other if they are in the same room. We gave it a go last year. They found ways around actually talking. They pantomimed… Because that is not the least bit distracting to others. They had their own sign language. While that was ingenious , work was not getting done. It was requested that my daughter be moved, which was approved. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

The new selection was with a male teacher. My first thought was, no!  The what if’s invaded.

What if he comes off too gruff and she burst into tears?

What if he ……… insert fifty million irrational reasons. 

A friend of mine told me I was lucky. She wished her kids could get in a class with a male teacher.  Say what?

I had to step back and think , am I seeing this objectively or am I acting only on emotions?

When I really thought about it, I was acting solely on emotions. She is nine years old. An adult will say something stern to her she may not like. It may be a man. I can’t keep her emotional state in a bubble. Boy do I want to though!! Then I started thinking back, my favorite elementary school teacher was a male teacher. I had always admired the difference in interactions with the kids, I saw when teaching with another male teacher. I actually had a male teacher as my co-teacher several times.

Once I stepped back and really looked at the situation. I realized I was actually okay with this. In fact, perhaps he will be that MAGIC teacher for her. We all have one who has opened our eyes to something. There are so few male teachers we should be grateful when our children get the opportunity to have a male teacher.

 Was I really going to let a difference in gender be the deciding factor?  Turns out , that no I was not.  We have told her she can be whatever she wants to be. There are no boy jobs or girl jobs, there are just jobs. If I changed her room based solely on gender am I not sending her a mixed message.

This summer her math tutor pushed her and was a bit hard on her. She realized quickly that she was doing that to get the best work out of her. It has only helped her.

Now I can’t wait for what the new year holds!

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I get her brain

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grasping to keep sane because I am seeing my daughter struggle the same way I struggled when it comes to learning. If I am curious…. I got this. I absorb it like a sponge… When it comes to math. I have no interest… It does not create any curiosity in me. I really don’t care what two plus two equals. I don’t even care that its always the same. It doesn’t fascinate me in anyway. Before she even understood what math was… she was oh…numbers…booorrrriiinnggg….My exact thoughts. It was such a hard thing for me to learn that I learned to hate it. It is not just that though. Our brain’s struggle to retain the information. This actually even applies to the stuff we absorb and seem to master. Two days later. That is like eternity and I seriously can not recall that conversation where you showed me how to do this. Its like I have had Mommy brain my entire life.

When trying to explain it to a friend, I explained it like this. If it takes a normal person thirty days to establish a habit, it will take someone with a learning disability at least ninety days. At this point I know realistically it will probably take me a hundred and twenty days to make something a habit. Even then I can loose it and have to start all over again.  Its like sometimes you have to teach me the beginning  and the end before I will be able to comprehend the middle. It is not entirely about the big picture either. You can try to keep teaching me in the correct order and its like banging your head on the brick wall. Teach me what happens in the end, it falls into place most of the time. The problem is I know this now, thirty years later. She is just starting.

It looks like she has a similar form of Attention Deficit Disorder as I do. It has tendrils of OCD but it doesn’t fit nicely into either category. Right now she is hitting a lot of the criteria for dyscalculia. There is enough wiggle room though. Its not quite just that.

We already monitor her diet. We restrict sugar as much as possible. I stay away from artificial dyes and preservatives as much as possible.  We use alternative medicine for treatment. She has seen only one psychologist and even then she was not the focus of the appointment. I had such a bad experience with being diagnosed I can still remember how teachers changed how they were around me. I can still remember the change in the way the other kids saw me. While I don’t see that being as big of an issue at a Montessori school. I still worry about it. I know how devastating it was to my self esteem. How hard I had to rebuild.

I know if I go through our insurance , which would be a deductible thing, they will miss it. She won’t fall into anyone “treatable” diagnosis. She will kinda fit multiple diagnosis and not really meet the criteria for one of them. I remember years of I.E.P meetings and hearing people talk about me and about how I learn or don’t learn. Remembering that they never once asked me to explain any of my thoughts. ever. They knew all the answers. When I did grasp something they said I didn’t and changed the way they were teaching me, again. I know because I remember struggling with the same things she struggles with. I get her line of thought before anyone else, because its mine. Not just because I am her mother. We have a very similar brain chemistry.

As much as this shatters me, I need to pick up my shattered pieces and figure out how to help her. How to help her without hurting her self esteem. How to help her without being a detriment to her as well. It may take me to the beginning of the school year. I have a friend who will help me with tutoring her. I have to keep myself together when I see her struggle the same way I did and take a deep breath and help her. Help her quietly and firmly and most importantly calmly. I have to set aside the anger at teachers who for the past school year did not listen. Did not see her struggling. It is done, I have to go forward.

I have to go forward with my mom intuition and be extremely picky on who tutors her , how and when. When we do get to a professional, I need to have all my senses engaged. I need someone who does not just intellectually understands learning disabilities. I need someone who gets it. Who follows her line of thought and understands how she got there. For now, we repeat math lessons over and over and over and over. For now, we work with what we have. For now.