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Word problems.

(15 Posts)
irvine101 Mon 06-Jul-15 18:17:24

Ds is really good with numbers. (level 4 teacher assessment for ks1).
But he struggles with word problems.
He was assessed for Asperger's when he was 2,but inconclusive.(He is Yr2)
Unfortunately, I am not good with maths, and also I'm not native English speaker and talking to him in English!!!
He can read the question very well( He was lime book level since reception without good comprehension)
How can I help him with love of maths, when I am completely out of my depth?

irvine101 Tue 07-Jul-15 03:58:52

Any one?
What I mean is that he can read(decode), but having real trouble with figuring out what he needs to do.
We are really stuck at the moment.

var123 Tue 07-Jul-15 09:29:00

You can count to 1000?
You can add and subtract.
You know that even numbers always end in 0,2,4,6 or 8 and odd numbers 1,3,5,7 or 9 and that even numbers can be shared equally between 2 people whereas odd numbers mean one is left over?
You can count in 2s, 3s and 5s and 10s.
You can buy a wall chart with the times tables printed on it.

If you can do all this, then you can help your son.
He's got memorising the times tables coming up. He just needs your support to memorise them.

var123 Tue 07-Jul-15 09:31:03


Try this: you read a page, using emphasis so that you are telling the story and your son sees how the words connect with each other to make a meaning. Then ask your son to read the same page (and tell you the story).

var123 Tue 07-Jul-15 09:47:03

PS Make it a story that he will find interesting so you can be sure he is engaged and enjoying himself!

MadAboutMathsMum Tue 07-Jul-15 13:48:02

If he is level 4 at the end of KS1, his word problem solving must be pretty good. It was touch and go if DS1 was going to reach Welsh outcome 6 (equivalent of English level 3) as he was struggling with word problems - he has high functioning autism. If he was unable to do the word problem solving he could only have been awarded outcome5 which is like English level 2.
Also, you are very unlikely to get an Asperger diagnosis at age 2 (autism yes, AS no) so if you are concerned still maybe you could ask for a re-referral?
However, I found with DS1 that when he struggled with word problems I had to try and show him how to work them out in a more visual way. e.g. if the question said "how long between 1:00 and 3:00" he couldn't do it, although he knew that 3-1=2. I had to show him, repeatedly, on a clock the hands going around and counting up the hours. He didn't get the hours just going up if he didn't see it on the clock at the same time.

For help with English I just always question him for inference. He can answer basic comprehension of what has happened e.g. "The girl was smiling"
Me: What was the girl doing? (Basic comprehension)
DS1: Smiling
Me: How was she feeling? (Inference)
DS1: I don't know
By continually helping him to answer questions like how people were feeling, why were they doing things, it helped him understand the passages a lot better.

irvine101 Tue 07-Jul-15 21:02:45

Thank you var123 and MadAboutMathsMum.
He has been hyperlexic since he was small, so mental +,- ,/, * has no problem.

Now he shows less autistic/Asperger's traits, but inferring the meaning of sentences seems to be very difficult.(And he has lot's of social problem and school is aware of this.)

I just get so frustrated that I can't explain something and he seems lost.
Reading with him is very difficult because he get frustrated if I ask questions, but I guess I need to keep on working with him.

Until now, I think he guessed the operation he needed to do with word problems and luckily got right, but questions are getting more complicated and he started to get all wrong.(He is not so good with elapsed time questions as well ...)

Well, I think I just have to keep trying. I will try your methods. Thanks again for your help.

var123 Tue 07-Jul-15 21:38:01

I didn't have to deal with problems like you do, but I did teach my children to read. There is a point when they know the sounds and can figure out the words one at a time. Then you need something to "click" so they realise that this is communicating.

That's where reading the story so that they enjoyed it and then inviting them to do the same comes in. There is a risk that they will semi-memorise the page from when you read it to him, but so what if he does? He'll still follow the words and get the message that the words form a story.

Good Luck (and speak to the SENCO for an assessment and help).

irvine101 Wed 08-Jul-15 08:22:32

Thank you again Var123.
He will have completely new teacher next year, so I definitely talk to him and SENCO.

Emochild Fri 10-Jul-15 06:07:24

In a maths word problem he needs to go through and highlight/ underline all the words that are important for the maths and ignore the rest

Knowing the vocabulary for the operation is important for this

Total = addition
Between = subtraction etc

The rest of the words are just 'background noise' which he needs to be able to ignore

irvine101 Fri 10-Jul-15 11:42:02

Thank you, Emochild. I think highlight/underline might work really well.
When he started reading, he used to highlight the new word and look up on the dictionary, then write down the meaning next to it. He stopped doing it now, but I think he used to learn and remember new words far better then.
See what he needs to do clearly would definitely work better for him than
reading whole sentence to figure out the operation.

getinthesea Fri 10-Jul-15 12:50:02

DD has had similar problems in both ways. Interestingly she found word problems hard despite language being her 'thing' more than maths, I think it was the translation from words to numbers that she found difficult. I like the underlining idea a lot, but the other thing her teacher did was just get her to do lots and lots, every single week. She worked out the code in the end (that was year 3, early year 4)

She also hit a plateau in maths - a bit earlier - when she had to stop guessing and actually start working out. It was really, really hard for her as up until that point the answer had just popped into her head and she just didn't know what to do if that didn't happen.

But actually I think that was a really important thing for her to learn, that there are ways round things if you can't automatically get it right, and that thats fine, and it's OK to try and fail and then try another way. So while I can understand his frustration, you can also try to get him to see that he is learning about how to learn, and that is good.

irvine101 Sat 11-Jul-15 00:24:30

Thank you getinthesea. I think what you describe about what happened to your dd might be happening to him. Until now, like you said, he didn't have to work hard to get the answer. Now he started to encounter more challenging problems, and he is lost.

I guess he really needs to learn to be patient and to persevere.
I will do my best to support him, and ask the teacher what can I do to help in the new school year.

We will try to do some word problems during summer, and hopefully he might work out the code as well.

ReallyTired Tue 11-Aug-15 11:42:51

Maybe your son would benefit from Singapore Math thinking blocks

This website is free and there is nothing to lose if it is too easy for your son.

irvine101 Tue 11-Aug-15 12:23:03

Thank you Really Tired.
It looks great!

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