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What is this maths difficulty?

(7 Posts)
Tuhlulah Thu 05-Dec-13 08:49:12

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right place, but here goes. THis may be a bit long but I don't want to drip feed (nor gush).

DS is 12 in Yr7 at mixed ability independent, where he is happy and doing well. No school report, just attainment levels, in which he got all 1s and 2s.

Maths has always been his weaker subject, but we found a good tutor who taught him really well. Tutor said DS is a hard worker, which is why he made such progress. At end of tuition (Easter) DS was being taught age 14/15 maths, and got Level 6 in SATS.

Recently at parents evening DS maths teacher told my DH that DS is 'gifted' at maths. (He isn't. But he had good tutor, worked hard, and likes maths and may be a bit ahead of year group, and this is maths teacher's first job). Teacher said DS homework is often better than classwork, as he makes silly mistakes, like adding up wrong. But DS likes maths (thankfully) and was teaching himself simultaneous equations this weekend, likes the logic of them.

DS does maths homework on line, Mymaths, I think it's called. Did this week's, but was tired, and got 63%. They are expected to get 75%. Did it again last night and got 68%. I told him not to worry, it may be that the maths was either difficult for everyone, or just difficult for him, and if so his teacher will now know and can do something about it, but either way, no big deal.

HOWEVER, prior to doing the homework we had a little chat.....

DS tells me he has wanted to tell me this for a while but 'it's awkward'. That for a long time he has been having problems with maths: sometimes cannot recognise which number is the larger/greater; has difficulty adding up (uses fingers to count up basics); has difficulty with multiplication tables (I know this, he never grasped it, even with rote learning, but he manages although it takes a little longer); has trouble recognising numbers sometimes; has difficulty with left and right.

When he told me this I almost burst out laughing, because I had no idea! But I know the symptoms only too well, as I have a difficulty with numbers too.

He had a quick look on line looking for his 'symptoms' and found dyscalcula.

My question is this: what do i do about this? Speak to his teacher?

The last thing I want is to add to DS already large anxieties (he was recently diagnosed with hyper mobility/coming assessement for Marfans).

As they say, any help would be greatly appreciated.

NoComet Thu 05-Dec-13 09:29:38

DD1 and me are dyslexic and although both good at 'proper' Maths have problems with those things. DD1 also has an utter blank spot for analogue clocks.

From what I've read there seems to be a fuzzy cross over between dyslexia and discalculia (and dyspraxia too). As far as I can tell these are linked to short term/working memory difficulties.

It is very interesting reading the more academic specific learning difficulty books in the library, but wether it's worth talking to school I don't know.

It depends on weather your DSs school has anyone who's field of interest is in this area. Flagging up that your DS finds some things difficult with his maths teacher may help or you may just get hmm

DDs DF did get dyslexia support and study skills lessons, at her private school, but at full tutor rates.

If you already have a good maths tutor it may well not be worth it.

Tuhlulah Thu 05-Dec-13 09:39:43

Starballbunny - yes, he does have problems with short term memory -I tell him to go to the kitchen to get something, he gets there and says he can't remember what it was I asked for. I just thought he wasn't paying attention, or that he was too wrapped up in his own thoughts, or just pubescent.

So is short term memory the problem?

I have just e-mailed his maths teacher who is also his form teacher, because I think they should now. I'm not expecting them to do anything about it, but I asked if there is something I need to be doing to support his maths learning. (but given I am virtually innumerate, there is little I can do with actual maths help. When tutor used to ask if he'd had any help with maths homework, DS used to laugh his head off!!)

And yes, I am expecting any help offered will be at full rates! And yes, good idea, if and when he needs help, I will go back to his old tutor.

I am so relieved to see that you are both good at formal maths -I guess you just have to learn to accommodate the difficulty?

bruffin Thu 05-Dec-13 09:59:33

My DS who has an spld is similar, he makes really silly mistakes ie having the calculator on the wrong setting, or bringing the wrong number forward. He has never learnt to do long division at all. He used to say that he couldnt remember a number from looking it at the board to writing it on the paper.
He also has short term memory problems, but is doing A level maths and further maths and recently got a gold in the senior maths challenge. He gets an extra 20% time for his exams for maths and physics and 10% for written exams.

Tuhlulah Sat 07-Dec-13 08:55:18

I has a vey nice call from his teacher last night, saying that he was astounded to learn that DS had any difficulty with Maths, as he was the brightest of a very bright class, that he is working consistently at Level 6 and very almost Level 7. That the homework he had difficulty with this week was difficult, because he feels he has to push them a bit as they are all so bright and that it was Year 8 level (DS got a merit for retrying and getting a better score. He has been invited to do it again if he wants). That he has taught dyscalculic children and DS doesn't appear to be in that category but that next week he will refer him to the Learning Support people within the school who can test DS and see exactly where the problem is, and what can be done, although he suspects very little.

So it looks like he will just have to learn to cope with it. Thank you both for your replies. I am so surprised to see that people who have this can perform to a high standard. DS said there is a Professor of Maths who is dyscalculic. I just don't want DS to worry and get stressed.

Good luck to your DS, Bruffin

bruffin Sat 07-Dec-13 09:32:21

Thank Tuhlulah

We had parents evening on Thursday. DS very capable and more than able to get A* in his maths Alevel but one teacher says the questions he ask bordered on genius, but its the little things and disorganisation that let him down. I wont have any hair left by June fsad

bruffin Sat 07-Dec-13 09:33:37

And good luck to your DS as well grin

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