October 18, 2017 at 11:26 am #65767
Finally maybe someone here can help me. I have done everything I know to do. We are working with teachers, multiple doctors and I have run out of ideas. My 10 year old daughter has pretty severe ADHD. She is on Adderall XR and her problem is with Math. She is in math interventions 2 days a week at school and has a private tutor on Sunday’s. She knows the math. Her tutor says so and her teachers say so. But she goes to take the math test and fails. We have had her testing moved to the morning when her medicine is at its most optimal studied for 2 days before the test and she says she sits down to take the test and forgets everything. Test are the only way to get grades so in math she is doing horribly. If I don’t figure this out soon she will fail the 5th grade. Please help!!!
October 18, 2017 at 12:21 pm #65782Pump2DuncanParticipant
Are there techniques used in tutoring and interventions that can be mimicked during the testing (i.e. using a scrap piece of paper; counting out loud; giving the test verbally)? Or is it a matter of test anxiety? If that’s the case, perhaps practice tests during interventions and tutoring might help? Maybe starting with two test questions and then working up to a full test?
My son is a very verbal learner and he processes questions better when given verbally. So he was read the questions. Even now when he comes across a word math problem, he struggles if he is left alone to read the question and figure out the answer. But if the question is read to him, he completely understands how to figure out the solution. Testing was also hard because the classroom was always so quiet. He said the quiet made it even harder to concentrate since he would instead focus on the sound of the rain falling on the roof; or the hum of the air conditioner; or watch another student tap their foot. So he was allowed to get up and stretch to help regain his focus. He was also turned away from any clock. Since he would become anxious if he saw time was running out, and given about 5 to 10 extra minutes to complete the test.
After a couple years of successful testing and a LOT of praise, a ton of the test anxiety has gone away.
October 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm #65799Penny WilliamsKeymaster
I agree with Pump2Duncan, she should be able to show the teacher that she knows the material in a way she can be successful at it. It certainly could be test anxiety. What specifically is tripping her up? If she not lining up the columns to calculate correctly (graph paper could help with that)? Is she overwhelemd by the number of problems on the test (Give her the test in smaller chunks)?
Could it be dyscalculia?
These test tips might help:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
October 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm #65880
It is extremely important for you and all parents of ADHD kids to know that the progressive methodology for teaching math currently coming out of Education schools, in concert with the same ideology reflected in Common Core standards and Common Core-aligned math textbooks, is a living nightmare for ADHD kids who do not have typical working memory and organization skills.
Math curriculum programs such as “Everyday Mathematics” “Connected Math” “Eureka Math” (New York State) and the absolute worse, “College Preparatory Math-CPM” teach math as a “discovery” process in groups. That’s right, your ADHD kid is put into a group of peers that “discuss” problems and methods without FIRST being taught methods and what the major ideas are. There is NO DIRECT teaching of math concepts by the teacher, since the belief of this teaching theory is that kids will learn something better if they “discover” it themselves. Parents, Everyone, please, take a look at your child’s math textbook; spiraling non-related topics, no worked examples, not enough practice problems for mastery, wordy nonsensical problems, inefficient out-mode algorithms (i.e. matrix multiplication, breaking down tens, estimating and mental math). This is horrendous to put any kid through, let alone one with ADHD. This math is Hogwash. There is no Scientific, reproducible evidence that this theory of teaching works, yet it has propagated through our schools via the Common Core. Yes, perhaps there is a thing called Dyscalcula, but I suspect that the disproportionate increase in students being labeled with this math disability is a direct result of poor math curriculum choices, text books and teachers being force-fed this ideology when they likely know best what really works.
Your kid is essentially being taught by the other kids in the group. Math Intervention and Math RTI IS, ironically enough, taught in a direct manner and I suspect the tutor does as well. I recommend you do what I did for my ADHD kiddo; Pull them completely out of the regular math class and RTI and increase the 1:1 tutoring to five days a week. This will allow them to catch up and escape the stupidity that passes for math class today. It is a waste of your kids’ time.
October 19, 2017 at 6:38 pm #65898
Thank you all for the advice. I am checking on many different options. Suxie22 you have given me a lot to think about. When I look at her math book I am just dumb struck by the lack of information given to the children. I even left a note on one of her homework questions one time to her teacher telling her that 3 adult, Google and 2 hours and we still don’t have your answer. It is beyond ridiculous. I am not going to give up. So please keep the ideas coming. Thank you all.
October 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm #65899
If you have the math curriculum name I can give you more specific information.
Please, do not blame your daughter. Given direct, explicitly taught directions, worked examples and practice problems from a competent tutor I’m positive she will do just fine. ADHD kids thrive on clear structure, not fuzzy math. Her time is better spent with a tutor or in RTI simply because the instruction will be there. The regular class is a joke.
Have the tutor look into Saxon Math, or the Singapore Math series.
Really parents, so many kids being diagnosed with a math disability. Where is the outrage against these math textbooks?
October 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm #65900
This link takes you to the workbooks they are using.
October 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm #65901
Sorry here’s the link: https://www.engageny.org/resource/grade-5-mathematics
October 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm #65902schoolpsychParticipant
If the math instruction is based on common core, she should receive grades based on whether she is able to demonstrate knowledge and
Skills related to the common core standards. At least in schools I’ve worked in, the report cards reflect whether or not standards are met in specific areas and aren’t based on test scores at the elementary level. Therefore, even if she fails the test, if she can show that she has the knowledge in other ways- that should be the important thing for her grades.
Secondly, if you find that she is needing significant accommodations, you can look into requesting that your school consider a 504 plan which allows for accommodations for students with medical or physical impairments such as adhd or anxiety. If she qualifies for a 504 plan, the teacher would be required to provide accommodations to her- such as less items per page, a separate location for test taking, extra time on the test, or other things like that that could help reduce her anxiety.
October 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm #65903brentgsubParticipant
Have her take the tests closer to the time period which she studies the math… That said, earlier in the day might be best, around 10am, as we’re usually more mentally optimal then…
She feels a disconnect/anxiety between studying and twhen the actual test is administered… Her tutoring & studying sessions might be too comfortable for her/relaxed. When the cold, stark chair/desk are sat in on test day, that can be startling… That’s how I always felt..
Also, have her meditate 5-15 minutes, teice a day. Once in the morning before the tests, and once around 8pm. Let it be meditation where any akdnall thoughts & emotions are free to run wil like horses running out of the fence gates, (not the meditation where the goal is to actively shoot down/repress thoughts — that’s too much energy). What’ll happen is the thoughts/horses start to die down/taper off finally.. and the brain starts to switch to a different brainwave pattern (i.e. alpha —> beta, etc. etc..) and this new brain state foundationally sets up a much better mental state that can approach & process/assimilate the feelings/emotions that scary test conditions/anticipations invariably produce. Especially when on stimulant treatment medication this early when it kicks in,any current mental/emotional state becomes an ADHD’er’s entire world for that moment.
October 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm #65904
October 19, 2017 at 8:52 pm #65905golded6Participant
I understand your frustration. We had a very similar situation with our son. What made the enormous difference for our son was sessions with an Educational Therapist. Our son knew the information, but when he sat down for the test, his anxiety caused him to block the information and he would fail consistently. The therapist taught him how to relax, develop positive affirmation statements, breathe slowly and deeply before any test (similar to yoga breathing). He would consistently perform these behaviors before all of his tests. His senior year, he was taking three hard AP classes (Calculus, Chemistry, and Computer Science). He earned straight A’s in Semester 1 and almost straight A’s the second semester (one B). He’s in his freshman year in college and got an A in both Calculus II and Chem. Targeting the test anxiety directly was the key for him. Good luck.
October 19, 2017 at 9:18 pm #65910ghhorton47Participant
Dear Young Parent:
You are so fortunate to be raising your child in this wonderfully enlightened age of ADHD awareness and behavior assistance!
I am now age 70 and only found out two years ago through neuropsychiatric testing that in fact I’ve had ADHD all my life! Beginning in first grade, I’ve had a terrible experience with quizzes, tests & exams. My parents always assumed that I had a very lazy mind and just didn’t try hard enough to get above a C average in most of my classes, so after I almost flunked 8th grade, my very intelligent lawyer father placed me in a private boys prep school. I was initially tested by the school’s headmaster, where I was forced to repeat the 8th grade. From then until I graduated from high school, in the same boys school, I was forced to study up to four hours per day after school until I understood all the class material, reading & re-reading the text books with my father testing me each night. I was so mentally exhausted by the time I went to bed, it was hard to fall asleep some nights. I’d rather forget about all those agonizing years. I finally graduated with a C+ average and was admitted to Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, where I finally was free from my father’s heavy authoritarian hand (he died an alcoholic six months before I finished high school). The best years of my single life were at that incredible university.
All through my working life I was always so distracted by everything going on around me that I found it incredibly difficult to focus on the task at hand. My dear wife had a very hard time understanding my affliction as well and again thought I was just being lazy and uncaring. After I was diagnosed, she still thought I was only “pretending”. She had already divorced me after almost 40 years of marriage, partly due to my ADHD problems.
Since I moved away from her and began a new life here in beautiful Prescott, AZ almost two years ago, I have found great peace of mind in volunteering in my church and with three awesome non-profit organizations.
My best advise to you, as a parent, is to NEVER ever give up on your child. Always treat her with great love and respect. Remember, ADHD is a condition of the mind that we really know so little about. Show her that you truly love her and want to understand what’s going on inside your child’s mind and heart. I can tell you from sad experience that the usual study, retain & test patterns DO NOT WORK for someone that has this condition. There are other ways to convey and retain knowledge that the ADHD experts can assist you and your child with. In addition, believe it or not, in many ways ADHD can be a great gift for your child. There are certain career fields where ADHD children excel far above others.
Finally, I would highly recommend that you follow along with the wonderful advise and counsel that you and your child can receive from the ADDitude newsletters and become an active networking participant. And remember that your child may turn out to be one of the 90% of adults who no longer suffer from the effects of ADHD after age 18.
I wish you and your precious “special” child all the best.
October 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm #65912lbakermdParticipant
From a physicians stand point these are the options we have used that have been most effective.
1. Short meditation or breathing exercises prior to starting the test
2. Dark chocolate prior to the test will reduce anxiety
3. if the above does not work, a beta blocker called propranolol has been highly effective and changes the dynamic of the testing day. Talk with your physician about it.
October 19, 2017 at 9:59 pm #65923
ghhorton47 Thank you so much for your incredibly kind and wise words. I try to always point out all the things that she is amazing at and she is such a kind and gentle soul. Thank you again.
October 19, 2017 at 10:05 pm #65928benteuhligParticipant
Have you ever considered homeschooling her? I’ve chosen to homeschool my 9 year old. I love the flexibility it provides her and the way I can shape and mold her on an individual level. I am seeing more and more middle school students with anxiety get pulled out of public school to homeschool because it meets their needs better. I recommend reaching out to the homeschool community in your area to see what kind of support is available for your family if you ever consider this educational choice. For some of these students it a life changing and life saving decision.
October 20, 2017 at 12:02 am #65944
October 21, 2017 at 7:11 am #66053bethankful2dayParticipant
What about having a few tests provided to her in the form of worksheets?
If she know the material, showing her the results of the worksheets after the fact may boost her confidence. If worksheets are not normal, her tutor can start giving one a week…after s couple weeks, she can be reviled the results. When she realized that she’s passed a few tests, that will give her fortitude.
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