And if so how do we find it? How do you tease out stealthy math issues? Are there particular tests that can be used?

Long version:
Our child's strength on testing (IQ and achievement) and in every day life is clearly verbal.

There were some extreme disparities in their most recent WISC5 profile. The stated reasoning for not calculating a full scale IQ lays out differences between various indexes including one of well over 4 standard deviations (much closer to 5 actually), one of three deviations and 4 of two deviations...

The WIAT also had some significant gaps between achievement levels, but there were NO areas of achievement under 94th percentile. There is no measure on the standard testing that has been given where our child could be described as having any learning disability, including math.

The psychologist we used was really lovely, the most skilled we have encountered where we ware, and very engaging, but openly stated she'd never tested anyone like our child and wasn't sure she ever would again. She was very concerned about our child's self perception with regard to math but adamant there was no "disability".

How then do we actually tease out whether the problems we see are to do with incorrect interpretation of accurate self perception of relative difficulty ("Math is SO much harder than verbal things, therefore I am terrible at Math."), possible self image issues from the school attended before we moved to home school, or whether there IS an actual math problem that we could be taking specific steps to remediate?

I have been pondering this issue for some time now, but our math lesson today really prodded me again to DO something.

We are working on division and it's very clear there is no mastery, or at least no access to, the times tables that were rock solid 6 months ago. As soon as we started homeschool last July we spent 3 months using Timez Attack as a regular part of our daily program until it was complete sometime around October/November.

Both of my older children used timez attack. Both have more obvious 2e profiles that make any sort of rote learning very difficult for them (for somewhat related yet different reasons). My husband and I both found rote learning tasks in primary school difficult. Difficulties with rote learning vs reasoning are "normal" in our family.

Both older children found it far harder to get through timez attack, we had to bribe them quite meaningfully to get it done, but it was very effective for them. One got to the end of all sections, but was never able to beat the final boss, they just could not be that accurate under time pressure (reading, typing and math accuracy all required at speed). Despite not beating that last boss, in the process they went from the worst in the class, to the best in class at the times tables competitions their teacher ran and of course all of math became easier for them once they reached that point. It was a huge confidence boost.

I think it is fairly clear that as long as you genuinely understand how multiplication and division works it's not exactly necessary to rote learn the times tables, but primary school math, and later speed and accuracy, becomes SO MUCH EASIER when you have them... so we have persisted with all three children.

Many years later both older children probably don't have perfect recall of every single item to 12x12, but they've got decent automaticity on most of them, enough of them. Nothing else we tried had worked for these two, but timez attack was ultimately as successful as we could have hoped.

Youngest child actually made their way through the process of timez attack younger, was faster & got through more easily than the older two, and certainly found holding it all together for the final boss the easiest of the three of them.... Notably they also learned touch typing younger, faster and easier than the older two... And yet 6 months later seems to have no access to any of it at all.

Each division sum today they would manually write out the chain of multiples of the relevant number and have to think about each step slowly as they wrote, and if they turned the page and needed that sequence again, they would write it again...slowly.

With the other two, their issues and errors in math seem to be more related to their clear other Es (dysgraphia makes it super hard to line numbers up well, introduces transcribing errors, etc). But rarely is there this sense of "You just keep losing part of this concept don't you?". Working on math with this child does have a certain feel about it that is similar to working with the dyslexic child in their very prolonged learning-to-read years.

I also see a real weakness in understanding place value. Every time I think it's rock solid there will be some random incident that really clearly shows me there is no deep sense of how the number system works. We can work and work and work with base 10 math blocks and seem rock solid about an idea, and then sometimes feel like that has no impact when we move back to the application on paper...

In truth this child has never had much number sense. I remember at about 3, and already EXTREMELY verbal (and tall, which together often skew people's perception of age dramatically) a friend who was a teacher listened to something our child said, which wasn't about math but included some description of scale (eg "a billion ice-creams") and remarked to me "Wow, they really have NO number sense at all do they?" "Nope!".

We saw this most often with a sense of scale, the words for large numbers (ie a million or a billion) clearly conveyed no sense of scale other than "big". This seemed quite notable relative to their speech at 3, but I figured was not that big a deal for a 3yr old not have a concept of a billion beyond "word of lots"... Where as now, at 10, I am not convinced that has really shifted as significantly as it should have.

When writing an essay my child might ask me to check that they have written the digits correctly for 1M vs 1B (ie correct number of zeros) and can discuss reasonably why what they had written was or was not correct. They know these numbers are different, and that one is a thousand more than the other, and in which order, but it seems to lack weight conceptually. Also when writing (recent example) they might refer to "hundreds" of people doing something when really I would expect them to know that this context should be "hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people".

I have three 2E kids, most of my friends who I might get quite detailed ideas about what their children are really doing are also parenting 2E kids. The stories that I remember about my kids, and that my friends tell are a mish mash of wildly advanced and significantly delayed children... My own kids are also fairly well spread, 4yrs since another child was in this grade is a wonderful amount of time for me to forget things in! It's incredibly difficult for me to maintain a sense of what is appropriate for age let alone figure out whether that is ok and appropriate for my child's completely unusual developmental process. I do know that a "normal" 10 yr old would not be writing the essay in which the "hundreds of people" problem occurred, so maybe my expectations are wrong?

So, how does one figure out IF there is a math problem, and if so what that problem might be? And whether we can do anything in particular to help...


Edited by MumOfThree (05/06/20 08:48 PM)