Ask the Experts

Math Dysfunction: How Parents Can Help

“Is there some technique or strategy to help my son with math? I thought there would be lots of things on the market, but I can’t find anything. Any thoughts?”

Young adults with ADHD are developmentally behind their counterparts without the condition. They can achieve the same level of success, but that may come later than for those without ADHD. This can be important to remember in subjects that require skills that build on each other, like math. Often, a bright student can get by, but, when faced with more complex challenges, he discovers that a review of basics, such as multiplication facts or percentages, may be necessary. Many students with ADHD have executive function deficits, which include slow processing speed and difficulty with working memory, both of which are necessary for doing math.

It is important to have your son evaluated and identified as having a disability when he registers for classes. He should work with the Office for Students with Disabilities to get needed supports put into place for ADHD or related conditions, which may include a disability in math. It is not a matter of what tools or strategies are available as much as what can be done to meet his learning needs. Seeking a tutor or coach helps.