A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Problems with Math?

Many kids and adults struggle with math to a greater or lesser degree and most of us by the time we are out in the working world find strategy’s to work around such difficulties. Some kids who struggle in junior school seem to suddenly 'get it' once in High School but some continue to not be able to perform even simple math functions, like making change, through to adulthood. In many cases the use of a calculator or computerized till hides this problem until the power goes out or the batteries go flat, others may even struggle even with that 'accommodation'.

I have recently become aware that the inability to understand or perform math functions is not necessarily due to failure to learn the basics, poor memory function, laziness or other general leaning or intelligence ability’s. There is in fact a recognized 'disability' that specifically reduces an individuals ability to understand and perform math functions even though they may otherwise be highly intelligent, fully functioning individuals. As with a similar and related 'disability' dyslexia, it varies in one individual from another and often goes undiagnosed with the individual being classed as unintelligent or unable to learn or worse mentally deficient. Unfortunately here in SW Ontario this now well documented problem is largely unknown and unrecognized, particularly in the school system, to the point where that despite there being formal processes to recognize and test such kids in both the U.S. and the U.K. No such accommodations appear to exist in Ontario. In point of fact a researcher of brain functions at the UWO in London, Ontario, a Professor Ansari says that “I do not know of any place in Ontario where you can get a formal diagnosis of Dyscalculia”, this being the scientific name for this affliction.

Once a parent realizes that this may be the problem there is much information available on line as regards the symptoms and ramifications and even resources for “on line” testing to confirm your suspicions. Some such sites as with all such things online may need be approached with care however the most reliable sources appears to be via various university studies in the U.K, a search of such sites will guide you to such 'tests' one being http://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/testing.html where you will also find links to more information about this 'affliction'.

I will not try and explain the reason for this difficulty except to say that is is a glitch in the right hemisphere of the brain which makes numbers and math seem like a foreign language to those afflicted and there seems to be no 'cure' although there may be some ways to reduce the impact and increase the understanding of this math impediment.

If you or your child has exceptional difficulty in understanding or performing simple math look up the word “Dyscalculia” it may well be an “ahhh” moment, just dont expect any assistance or recognition of the problem by your local school board. (at least in the Avon Maitland board and as far as I can see most other Ontario boards!)

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