Aug 022013
 

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Q: How do you help your child if she has severe problems with memory and information recall? How can I teach my child how to memorize?

Answer:


Our neuropsychologist recommended using a ‘self-regulating’ memory system. It has worked very well for teaching our child how to memorize facts.

Basically, you put the information (facts) to be remembered into a question/answer format on index cards.

You will write the question or problem on one side of the card. Then write the answer on the other side. In our case, we had a math problem on one side, and the answer on the other side. If you need math cards, you can buy ready-made math fact flash cards on Amazon for teaching your child how to memorize.

In this method, your child first looks at the question and tries to recall the answer. If she can’t remember the answer, she turns the card over, reads the answer, then puts the card at the back of the deck.

If your child can recall the answer, she lays the card aside in her “I know it” pile.

By starting with a few cards, the cards will cycle through fast enough that your child will eventually be able to remember some of what she JUST read.

As she eliminates fact cards, each review comes up more rapidly. Your child may be able to remember the answer with the shorter time between each visit to the card.

Eventually your child will have one card in her hand. She can read the question, then see the answer, then flip the card back over. Your child can read the question, then hopefully answer it because there will be virtually NO delay from just looking at the answer on the card.

This system worked extremely well for our child who also has memory deficits. The process taught him how to memorize facts and information.

By letting your child work through the cards himself.. HE can:

  1. take responsibility for his own learning.
  2. regulate how much time he gives himself to think of the answer.
  3. review if he doesn’t know the answer.
    Plus, as time goes on, your child will develop his own internal means of figuring out how to memorize things, which is the BIG key to long-term success.

In addition to drilling with flash cards, using special programs can be of great help.

Times Tales If your child needs to work on multiplication facts, the Times Tales program is a great program for visual learners or students who learn better through narratives (stories).  The program gives the child entertaining associations for each multiplication fact, which really helps the child remember and recall the facts. They have an informational video you can watch to determine if you think the program would be a good match for your child’s needs ~ Watch the Times Tales DVD 90 Second Introduction Video

A great option for drilling math facts on the computer is Reflex Math. Most kids really like the program and it is specifically designed to help children obtain mastery of and fluency with math facts.

For a fun app to help your child practice and improve short-term working memory skills, Memory Magic  is a game offered by Anusen.com.  This app helps a child develop better memory and observation skills.  The game is leveled, so a child is encouraged to work to the next level, which also adds more challenge to strengthen your child’s memory skills in progression, over time.

There are Memory training software.how to memorize and cognitive skills programs which can be used to help build your child’s memory skills over time.  Research shows that direct instruction provided in ADDITION to a computer-based practice program will bring about the best results when it comes to academic skills like reading, spelling, and math facts.

Using a drill program right before bed will produce the best learning progress.  Since brains keep processing during the early stages of sleep, whatever your child learns right before bed is most likely to continue to be processed.

I recommend using a program during the summer and winter holiday breaks from school if your child is in a traditional school. You can use such programs as part of your typical school day if you are homeschooling.

Hopefully this will help you teach your child how to memorize. 😉
It worked great for us!
Sandy

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Aug 022013
 

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Q: My child struggles with writing and math. He has trouble remembering symbols. He can read, but I am wondering if he has dyslexia. Is it possible that he has dyslexia that affects his math? Can you recommend a curriculum for math?

Answer:


It actually sounds like your son has a disability that is a modified form of dyslexia called dyscalculia (spelled by some as discalculia).  People sometimes call it “math dyslexia.” 

Since your child is already reading and primarily struggles with Math, he probably has dyscalculia. It’s less likely that he has dyslexia.  However, you would need a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation for learning disabilities to determine the extent of your child’s learning disabilities. An evaluation can identify different forms of dyslexia.

Your child may have what is known as “stealth dyslexia.” This form of dyslexia often doesn’t show up until higher level reading skills are needed. Your child may also have “math dyslexia,” called dyscalculia, or may have other learning disabilities. You just really won’t know what your child’s disabilities are until you have a comprehensive evaluation.

Curricula Options for “Math Dyslexia,” Dyscalculia (or Discalculia)

There are a lot of great curricula specifically for helping children who struggle with math, especially those with dyscalculia.  Check out Math Curriculum for Dyscalculia and Homeschooling for a variety of information that may help you teach your child. Specifically, looking at the list of Math Curriculum for Dyscalculia : More than 15 Choices is likely to be helpful for you.

We had good success with Math-U-See and ETA Hand2mind (Formerly Cuisenaire Rods). My child went from having difficulty remembering any math facts, to being a relative Math whiz, on grade level, and ultimately ended up taking and passing calculus in college.

Math fact Memorization with “Math Dyslexia,” Dyscalculia (or Discalculia)

For Math fact memorization our neuropsychologist recommended using a ‘self-regulating’ memory system for memorizing math facts.  This system worked very well for our guy along with Math-U-See and ETA Hand2mind (Formerly Cuisenaire Rods).

For the Math Fact Memorization, put each math fact on an index card by writing the math problem on one side of the card, and the answer on the other side (for example, 9×5 on one side and 45 on the other side). You may prefer to purchase a set of ready made math fact flash cards, which are available in large sets with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Your child then drills himself daily. He reads the problem out loud.. “Nine times five is ____.” If he can fluently say, “Nine times five is forty-five”, he flips the card over to verify he is correct and puts the card in an “I know it” pile.

If your child hesitates while trying to recall the answer, he turns the card over, reads the answer out loud, then puts it at the back of the deck in his hand.

Your child will begin with one set of math facts.  By starting with a few cards, the cards will cycle through fast enough that the child will eventually be able to remember some of what he JUST read.  As he eliminates the cards containing facts he knows, the facts he doesn’t know will come up more rapidly.  Eventually your child will have one card in his hand.  He can read the problem, see the answer, then flip the card over again and read the math problem.  Hopefully your child can answer the question now because there will be virtually NO delay.

After all facts in one set are mastered, you add another set of math facts. We did our facts in this order x0, x1, x10, x11, x2, x5, x3, x4, x6, x7, x8, x9, x12. After we had about five sets of facts, I’d pull out the earliest set and have my child keep about 5 sets going.

This system worked extremely well for my son who had memory deficits. By letting your child man the cards his self.. HE can:

1) take responsibility for his own learning
2) regulate how much time he gives himself to think of the answer and
3) review if he doesn’t know the answer —

Plus, as time goes on, your child will develop his own internal means of figuring out how to remember things which is the BIG key to long-term success. If your child does have dyscalculia, you will want to familiarize yourself with the types of instruction which will help your child. I’d highly recommend reading several of the books about dyscalculia which are available on AmazonMath Dyslexia Dyscalculia Discalculia.

Hope that helps!
Sandy

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Aug 012013
 

Brain Training Cognitive Skills are critical for academic success in children with learning disabilities. By definition, kids with learning disabilities CAN learn, but they have some cognitive skills that are delayed in development.

Without building up the underlying skill deficits in your child’s brain, learning is more difficult across all subjects. Science shows that our brains are constantly building new synapses and neuroscience shows that brain plasticity allows your child’s brain to build new pathways with intensive remediation.

Brain Training Cognitive Skills Enhancement for Better Learning

Brain Training cognitive skills programs are designed to increase skills such as working memory, attention and focus, processing speed, phonological awareness, auditory processing, visual discrimination, etc. By increasing your child’s functioning in cognitive skills areas, his overall level of academic achievement can be enhanced.


Many Brain Training cognitive skills programs are overlooked when a child’s educational program is being developed. However, the gains made through these programs can create significant gains across all academic subjects. Check out the research on the programs below to validate the use of Brain Training Cognitive Skills programs for enhancing your child’s learning.

Selecting Brain Training Cognitive Skills programs

When selecting the most appropriate program for you and your child, consider how much time and interaction you can commit. You’ll also want to consider how well you can work one-on-one with your child, how well your child works alone, and whether an outside provider will have an easier time gaining cooperation when working with your child.

Some programs require more parent involvement, and some can be used by the child without significant adult assistance. To get the most out of the program you choose, try to match the program to your abilities and needs as well as to your child’s needs. There is no sense in purchasing a program you can’t or don’t use.

I hope these brain training cognitive skills programs help you address your child’s needs. Best of luck!

Best Liked Brain Training Cognitive Skills Programs for Home Use:

Check out the Brain training APPS that are available to help develop your child’s cognitive skills too. Brain Training Cognitive Skills apps

**Brainware Safari is a great, general brain training cognitive skills programs program for kids in elementary school. The interface uses drawings that appeal to young children, so teens sometimes feel the program is “beneath” them. Brainware Safari has a great deal of research to support its effectiveness, so be sure to check that out when considering this brain training program. Take advantage of their free trial to see if this brain training program will work well for your child.

**Lumosity is much better suited for teens. The program is designed primarily for adults, so it has a more business-like interface that suits most kids who are beyond the cartoon stage. Like Brainware Safari, Lumosity has research backing the program effectiveness, as do most of the Brain Training Cognitive Skills programs listed below. Take advantage of their free trial to see if this brain training program will work well for your child.

**Lexia Learning’s CrossTrainer – “The Lexia Cross-Trainer Suite is designed to improve cognitive development in learners ages 7 to adult. The software helps learning disabled, special needs, and mainstream students strengthen their thinking, memory, and problem-solving abilities, improving performance across subjects as varied as reading, math, science, and social studies.” Learn more about brain-based learning.

**Audiblox – Program which is administered by the parent/provider, requires a commitment to consistent use, and helps with many issues.

**Earobics – Computer-based program that is easily used on a daily basis; game play format that children enjoy, increases cognitive skills, but is geared more towards children with auditory processing difficulties or dyslexia.

**PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) – Tutoring model; requires commitment to tutoring sessions and home exercises.

**Brain Gym – Simple program to use at home; enhances overall learning. “Brain Gym is a program of physical movements that enhance learning and performance in ALL areas. Brain Gym includes 26 easy and enjoyable targeted activities that integrate body and mind to bring about rapid and often dramatic improvements in: concentration, memory, reading, writing, organizing, listening, physical coordination, and more.” Learn more about our use of Brain Gym at Home.