Maths & Dyslexia

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Learning & Behaviour Charitable Trust
proudly presents

Anne Henderson
University College, Bangor Wales
Dyscalculia

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Agenda

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Research
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety

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What is Dyslexia?

  • Dyslexia is evident when accurate and fluent reading and/or spelling develop very incompletely or with great difficulty. This may be accompanied by a difficulty with numeracy.

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Memory and Organisation

  • Remembering -alphabet -tables
  • Copying correctly
  • Forgetting instructions
  • Remembering formulae
  • Coping with time
  • Learning it one day - then...

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Prevalence of Dyslexia

  • Roughly 10% dyslexic
  • 6% moderately
  • 4% severely
  • 4% to 25% will either be dyslexic or have dyslexic difficulties

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The Bangor Dyslexia Test

  • This is a quick way to identify dyslexia
  • Looks at 10 areas of difficulty

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Family History and Developmental background

  • Dyslexia is hereditary
  • Delay of early development
  • Usually blood relatives with difficulties
  • Some birth difficulties

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Characteristics of Dyslexia

  • Discrepancy - intelligence and attainment
  • Good and bad days
  • A spiky profile
  • Problems
  • Disorganised
  • Poor results

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Other Dyslexia Difficulties

  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Writing
  • Sentence structure
  • Sequences
  • Avoidance strategies

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Visual Difficulties

  • Eye tiredness
  • Letters - move
  • Glaring white spaces
  • Skipping words
  • Scotopic sensitivity syndrome

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Behaviour and Emotion

  • Reading aloud
  • Tiredness - effort to achieve
  • Low self - esteem
  • Frustration
  • Peer group rejection

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Definition of Dyscalculia (Butterworth 2002)

  • Number blindness
  • Number concepts
  • Learning number facts and sequences
  • Mechanical procedures
  • 6% calculation - 4% reading

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Dyscalculia (Kosc)

  • Verbal (interpretation of terms)
  • Operational (performing operations)
  • Lexical (written terms, symbols)
  • Graphical (symbol manipulation)
  • Ideognostic (mental calculations)
  • Practognostic (pictorial representation)

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Thomas West (In the Mind's Eye)

  • For Dyslexics 'hard' things can be easy and 'easy' things can be hard
  • Paradoxically in school before achieving 'hard' things you must be good with 'easy' things
  • Some dyslexics leap forward with certain concepts, without systematically going through all the 'proper' steps
  • Older students concentrate on areas of strength

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Types of mathematical deficits (Luria)

  • Deficits of logic: problems with spatial order e.g. 'the circle below the square', or writing numbers in correct sequence.
  • Deficits in planning: developing problem solving strategies - understanding the maths language.
  • Perseveration: inflexibility in application e.g. continuing to divide by 2, a strategy which has been successful.
  • Inability to do simple calculations: e.g. use of multiplication tables, inefficient counting or addition strategies.

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Students may have problems with all or some of these:

  • Language of mathematics
  • Visual, direction, sequencing
  • Organisation
  • Memory
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Filing system in long-term memory

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Maths Checklist can they:

  • say times tables correctly?
  • do simple computation?
  • say what the symbols mean?
  • identify shapes?
  • count forwards and backwards?
  • copy numbers correctly?
  • say the days of the week, months in order?
  • tell the time, use money?
  • read and write numbers?
  • do mental calculations, work out sequences?

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Importance of understanding poor concentration skills

  • Students yawn, cannot sit still and appear bored
  • Functioning becomes erratic
  • Important pieces of information
  • Have 'time out'
  • Slow processing hinders learning

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Memory problems

  • Verbal instructions
  • Writing on the board
  • Personal belongings lost
  • Remembering where things are kept
  • Learns it one day - forgets it the next
  • Many intelligent people have problems remembering and that memory is like a muscle the more it is used the stronger it becomes

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Memory and Mathematics

Logo
  • Short-term memory
  • Active-working memory
  • Visualisation in AWM
  • Improvement of AWM
  • Long-term memory
  • Oral recapping
  • Transfer strategies

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Helping short-term memory difficulties

  • Emphasise important information
  • Multi-sensory teaching is vital
  • Rote memory - provides limited understanding
  • Close collaboration is essential

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Active working memory (AWM)

  • AWM is a half way house
  • Lose track
  • Forget one part of a calculation
  • Forget what has just been read
  • Unable to develop a strategy
  • Impulsivity

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Problems with Long Term Memory (LTM)
Permanent memory- information needs categorisation

  • New rules
  • Slow processing - partial facts remembered
  • Discussions nightmare
  • Failure in examinations
  • Complex patterns
  • Information overload
  • Long sequences
  • Speed
  • Long holidays

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Some other issues

  • Dyslexics are slower
  • Speed working a disadvantage
  • Error patterns
  • Avoidance

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Fear in Maths

  • Cockcroft Inquiry said, "...there was widespread reluctance to be interviewed, more than half of the people approached initially refused to participate."
  • Many said that they had never understood 'The Proper Method'
  • Individuals successful in their own field

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Causes of Anxiety

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty with language
  • Work is too hard
  • Preciseness
  • Inability to make a start
  • Times-tables
  • Self management
  • Distractions
  • Teacher / Relationship / Attitude

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Anxiety (A simplistic look at the brain)

  • Reptilian brain -survival skills
  • Mammalian brain deals with:
    • health: heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism
    • emotions: joy, sorrow, anger
    • learning: linked to memory

  • Neo-cortex controls the highest level of thinking like mathematics & scientific experiments

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How to Help with Anxiety

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Focus on success
  • Rituals & routines (start and end of lessons)
  • Regular positive feedback
  • Set realistic goals