Overcoming Math Disabilities and Math Anxiety

overcoming math disabilities and math anxietyHere’s a small sample of the kind of valuable information about overcoming math disabilities and math anxiety you’ll learn on Special Kid School Talk, Dr. Miller’s special interview and call in blogtalk radio show for parents and professionals of special needs students, airing on June 27, 2010 at 3pm Pacific.

Fun Math Activities

Kids get lots of practice with calculation, worksheets and procedures at school, but unfortunately, they get almost no practice with real-life skills, activities that develop conceptual understanding or FUN!

  • Put some fun into math by playing games while riding in the car or standing in line. For “Guess My Secret Identity,” give your child clues such as, “When divided by three, I’m equal to your age,” or “If you add 22 to me, I’m the length of a football field.” Be playful and creative and have your child make up riddles for you to solve.
  • Show children how math is used in their lives. At stores, have them develop mental arithmetic skills by adding up the cost of a few items, estimating sales tax, or figuring out the cost of one can of soda from the price of a six-pack.
  • Collect catalogs of various kinds: clothing, sporting goods, toys, electronic equipment, menus, etc. Children create a wish list of items and add up the cost of the items. Middle schoolers can compare the relative cost of two products, for example, “What percentage of the cost of a computer is the cost of a pair of jeans?”
  • Develop a budget for your child’s allowance. What percentage goes to each category?
  • Make a spinner with six equal areas labeled with fraction such as 1/2, 1/4, 3/4, 2/8, 3/16, and 4/12. Take turns spinning and answering questions such as, “Do you have a better chance of spinning a fraction in simplest terms, or one that is not in simplest terms?” “Is there a greater chance of spinning a fraction less than 1/2 or greater than 1/2?”
  • Translate batting averages into possible ratios of hits to at bats. For example, an average of .333 could be 333 out of 1000, 33 out of 100 or 3 out of 10.

Conquering Math Anxiety

The trick to dealing with math anxiety is to accept it! Techniques that prepare your child to function in a testing setting, even though he or she is uncomfortable, will help.

If you have math anxiety:

  • Use a 1 to 3 scale to rate your emotional reactions. A rating of “1” indicates you are calm and non-anxious. A rating of “3” indicates you are very tense to the point of feeling physical reactions in your body (such as stomach ache, fast beating heart, etc.) You can think of a rating of “2” as being somewhat tense or concerned, but not to the point of experiencing troubling physical symptoms.
  • Monitor your reactions to remain in the “1” or “2” zone. If you feel yourself in the “3” zone, use breathing techniques, positive self-affirmations and visualization to calm your reactions to the “2” or even the “1” zone.
  • Breathing technique: close your eyes and breathe slowly through your nose. As you breathe in, think to yourself that you are breathing in calmness and competence. Try to visualize the calmness as a blue color. Exhale through your mouth, visualizing/thinking that you are breathing out any tenseness. Try to see the tenseness leaving your body as a red color. Continue until your physical reactions have moved down at least one rating.
  • Self-affirmation technique: repeat to yourself positive statements such as these:

I knew this material when I came in, so I know it now and can do my best.
All I can do is my best and that’s enough for me and everyone else.
This is only one test, I’ll do the best I can and not worry about what I miss.
I trust myself to do the best I can.

What type of disabilities will be discussed on the Special Kid School Talk show?

Experts will be available to answer your questions and share educational and parenting strategies for students with autism, ADD and ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities, cognitive and processing disorders, and emotional and social difficulties. Here are a few of the regular features you can look forward to:

  • Call in to ask experts questions on topics related to educating special needs kids
  • How special needs kids view their world
  • Student success stories
  • Educational and Parenting strategies

Join us on June 27th at 3 pm pacific at www.blogtalkradio.com/specialkidschooltalk

About Dr. Kari Miller, PhD
Students with learning difficulties MUST believe in their intelligence and skill in order to succeed in life! Enjoy Dr. Miller’s collection of thought-provoking articles to help you maximize your child’s academic achievement! Register here and we’ll send the collection of articles right to your email inbox. We’ll also send you our free monthly newsletter. You can discontinue at any time.

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