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Dyscalculia,WM and Math

  1. May 27, 2012 #1
    I have Dyscalculia and working memory problems. But I would really like to get to at least a calculus fluency in Math. Anyone have any good strategies or know of a good program for an adult to learn Math with these hurdles to overcome?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2012 #2


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    Hey livindesert and welcome to the forums.

    Just for those who are not familiar with your disorder (including myself), maybe you could outline some examples of how your disorder affects your learning and also any issues you have specifically with math.

    Maybe some specific examples with regards to mathematics that you find difficult or parts of either your memory for remembering things or using these particular things in a way that is difficult.

    For me at least, I can't unfortunately relate to your difficulties but I'm sure that if you mention these then people will give suggestions that can guide you to a path to reach your goal.
  4. May 27, 2012 #3
    As far as how it affects me and math some ways are...

    Adding any more than two single digit numbers in my head is almost impossible.

    Constantly loose my place or make mistakes during things like long division.

    Estimating things like a store bill in my head is not possible.

    I have problems remember the difference between things like a denominator and numerator.

    Difficulty estimating measurements.

    Can't remember basic fractions a lot(at work I have a mechanics quick reference card with basic fractions and corresponding items)
  5. May 27, 2012 #4


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    I wouldn't worry too much about having to do things completely mentally.

    If you have to do things with pen and paper, there is nothing wrong with that. It's very rare in my experience that even the normal person using mathematics adds up huge numbers.

    Unfortunately it is hard for me to relate to your problems, but I think I have a few suggestions that you could try and I don't know if they will work or not.

    The ideas that I have is basically to establish a point of reference that does make sense to you so that you can this instead of the mathematical definitions like numerators and so on.

    I'll give you an example.

    Instead of thinking only in numbers, instead think in things that you can relate to.

    So instead of say trying to remember 100 metres, don't think in terms of metres but think in terms of a football field. This means that instead of metres, you think in terms 1 football field, or half of a football field instead of just numeric quantities.

    If you have trouble with things like a half and a quarter and so on, then come up with your ways to think about a half and so on.

    So when it comes to the store bill, don't try and think about the numbers but think about say how to convert your bill to say roughly 10 packets of ice-creams or a bucket-full of apples or something.

    Again to get around your dyscalculia, your numbers aren't going to really be numbers but things that are more concrete: things you can taste, touch, and see.

    In terms of the numerator and denominator, you could write things in a different way that you can understand. You might write fractions down in a way that makes sense to you, but still means the same thing mathematically.

    Basically the idea and task for you is to build a bridge to mathematics using a language that makes sense to you. The language can be whatever is easiest for you but it has to mean the same thing as the normal numeric way of describing numbers and doing mathematics with them.
  6. May 27, 2012 #5
    Sounds like some good ideas i wonder if I use blocks or marbles to symbolize the numbers if that would help.
  7. May 27, 2012 #6


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    Whatever ends up making sense to you. You will probably have to try a few things out where some things won't work and others will. The test will be actually using these things to get the answer that is equivalent to using the numbers.
  8. May 27, 2012 #7
    I recently tried taking a Math course "Intermediate Algebra" the prerequisite for "College Algebra" (at least in the USA) tried my hardest and ended up with a 64.5% in other words a D for the course. Intermediate Algebra is pretty much 9th grade Algebra :P

    Yet somehow I got a B in Microeconomics LoL The brain is a odd duck to figure out how it works.
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