The Forums › Forums › Tools, Techniques & Treatments › Is Math success out of the question for students with ADD?
 This topic has 12 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 1 year, 6 months ago by tombailey.

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AnonymousInactive#89042 
How can a math student with ADD successfully learn the current high school math curriculum. They move too fast! ADD students don’t have enough time to absorb the concepts before they move on to a new one.
Patte RosebankParticipant#99676 Talk to your guidance office. They should be quite familiar with the special needs of students with ADD, so they should already have plans in place which will help you.
The simple fact is, our brains work differently from “normal” brains, so we learn differently. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect someone with ADD to learn things the same way, and at the same speed, as someone who doesn’t have it.
I know from my own experience that basic math, which I could relate to the real world, was easy for me to understand and learn. As math got more conceptual, with things like algebra and theorems, that’s when I really struggled to understand it. To this day, I still can’t figure out factoring—but, as I’ve never had to do it in real life, it doesn’t matter.
I remember, two years ago, I finally used the Pythagorean Theorem for the first time since graduating high school in 1987. And, since it had been so long since I’d learned it, I had to look it up on the internet first. When I think of how I’d struggled to learn the damn thing, it really does seem like a bit of a waste.
Looking back, I can honestly say that the most useful course I took in high school was Typing!
AnonymousInactive#99677 I have always struggled with math! The simple math that we use everyday I have no problem with, but the more complicated stuff makes me cringe. I went back to school as an adult and I was taking technical math in the college program I was enrolled in. I couldn’t keep up either. My teacher could tell I was lost but I would always say to move on because I didn’t want to slow down the class. I took advantage of the extra help classes and tudors. Those helped me quite a bit. Having a decent teacher who takes the time to talk to their students makes a big difference too.
AnonymousInactive#99678 I must be an oddball! My ACT, SAT and GRE scores in math were always higher than my verbal scores–though I do have a funny twist. Standard math, algebra, geometry–I do just great. Get anymore theoretical, and I meltdown. Example: when I enrolled at university in 1981, the counselors recommended I try an honors calculus course (I had handled the subject well in high school); I agreed–and soon found it was PURE THEORY. When I had to give the mathematical proof that 0+1=1 and the proof that 1+1=2, I was thoroughly petrified!
I was out of the course before the first midterm exam…
AnonymousInactive#99679 Funny story, I am currently student teaching in a grade 3/4 class and the one subject I am struggling with teaching? MATH! No surprises there, given this thread. My mentor teacher and I were banging our heads against our desks trying to figure out what worked until we finally hit on the right thing today.
I am teaching at a special needs school and the children need things very linear and step by step because of the nature of the disability these kids have. So my mentor teacher puts the math they are doing on the smartboard with the instructions and examples right there where they can see them. I was doing something different but when I started modelling my lessons after hers, where everything was laid out step by step for the students to see, suddenly it was so much easier for me to teach it! This wasn’t because I couldn’t conceptualize the math to explain it, nor was I having difficulty with computing. Having it laid out gave me an external cue as to where to go in my lesson so suddenly I had so much more working memory free to monitor the students and word things in a short and sweet manner that my students could follow.
My point is that perhaps having an exemplar to follow so you can focus on actual calculation instead of having to remember how to do the problem might help. It is so much easier to do a math problem when you can focus on doing the math instead of trying to remember what you are supposed to do next.
AnonymousInactive#99680 Come on you guys…… look… it’s this simple A+C (DA) / A + (X D) x 2 – Z x (D X x Z) = 215.035 right??????
That’s algebra to me……. always has been always will be…
Hahahahahaha…….
toofat
AnonymousInactive#99681 Yes! But a little differently. Looking at numbers and symbols for a long period of time over and over again became mundane, and boring. (ie Algebra) That is until I learned to visualize the problems. (ie… that’s a parabola… that’s a hyperbola, etc.) Once you “see” the visual in your head, then mundane nature of writing the results doesn’t become so bad. So… back in HS, I did alright… but I had the greatest prof in college that explained it better, et voila… straight A’s.
shutterbug55Participant#99682 SS,
Yes it is possible for ADHD students to learn math. I did it, before I even knew I was ADHD and I am no big brain.
I record lectures and play them back in small bites. That way I don’t miss a thing.
When I am working homework, I know I hyper focus on puzzles. First I set a timer. It takes me about 5 minutes to solve the average math problem, so I set the timer for 7 minutes. Hey! All work and no play… Then I turn my math work into a puzzle that needs to be solved and let myself go into “overdrive”. The alarm rings, and on to the next problem. Then rinse and repeat. This worked for me all the way through college.
The hard part for me, is to find that thing that triggers my hyper focus and something that will bring me back. Are you working with a councilor? A doctor? Someone who treats ADHD? If so, you can work with them on techniques that will allow you to get the information out of the lectures you need to solve the problems assigned for homework.
Tests are a trigger for my hyper focus. My dyslexia makes it difficult to read the problems, but once they are in my head, I am good to go. I can usually finish a test and check it twice (boredom sets in), and turn it in, well before the allotted time. Again the trick is making the work interesting enough to focus.
I hope this helps.
HansMember#99683 SearchSmith
When I was in college I had an electrical engineering funnel the size of a ball park . It all electrical engineering information entered with ease and without effort.
I could use theories in electrical engineering to help me in civil engineering. Similar concepts. Voltage is similar to water pressure. Higher voltage higher pressure. To high a voltage there is a short circuit spark. Too high a water pressure the pipe breaks.
Try to correlate information. to information/concepts you can get. Once I got it I got it. Try not to get behind. I did some times and the mountain just gets higher.
I asked my college professor how he became a math teacher. His answer..”I was miserable in math” I just worked on it. I worked on it . Then one day I realized I knew more then almost eveyone else. I became a professor in Math.
My hardest subject was english..dreaded it. tested 146 IQ and flunked out of college twice. After Military service I went back to college on final academic warning.in big letters ..got straight A’s graduated joined Engineering Honor Society.
High school/College can be a challege at times when we are required to take subjects that are hard for us to retain. Please don’t give up.
AnonymousInactive#99684 Some of us have issues with math and some of us don’t. It all boils down to the type of brain you have. Same thing goes for language skills. Some of us have LDs that are directly related to numerical issues and some of us have issues with using language/words.
Then there are the lucky ones who don’t have issues with any of those things. All parts of our brains work well except for the ADD parts.
I’m one of the ones who have number issues. When I got to high school I said, “Egad!!” Then I thought about it a bit more and realized did I really need to know that stuff? I could count to 100, make the appropriate calculations to make purchases and make change, and could do fractions which was handy for cooking/baking when doubling, tripling, or halving a recipe.
What else did I need to know? So I took the easiest math I could that would still let me go to university and married a physics/math major. Was that planning or what??!!
I figured anything I couldn’t handle he could do for me. LOL 35 years later that plan still works.
BTW, I did get him to try and tutor me but that didn’t go well. He would get these looks on his face that showed exactly how stunned (horrified more likely) he was when he saw how my brain just could not ‘compute’ what he was trying to teach me. He was already into university when we met so he hadn’t seen me in action in the years leading up to high school math.
I’m sure he is still amazed but he was WAY TOO polite to ever say anything about it. Lucky me!
Just learn what you really ‘need’ to know. It has worked for me.
AnonymousInactive#99685 I have worked in the schools for over 20 years. I have worked with lots of ADHD children and some were great in math and some were not. Every individual is different and that’s why teacher’s and parents have such a hard time recognizing the symptoms …..This is a great website for struggling Math and Chemistry high school students ” Free on line Math lessons”. My nephew is using it and his grades have improved. Please check this wesite out and I hope this helps. Hang in there! http://www.khanacademy.org.
AnonymousInactive#99686 I always had trouble with math in school, and I think partly it’s because I was considered bright enough I should start school early – not exceptionally early, but I was 4 when I started Kindergarten and 5 in first grade. When I got my 1st report card in 1st grade, I was crushed! My parents told me I was bright, I felt bright, I figured my teachers couldn’t miss it, right? Then how come I had Ss (Satisfactory) and Ns (Needs Improvement) on my report card and my best friend, who was no smarter than I was, got Os (Outstanding.) The fact she was 11 months older than I was might have had something to do with it. I just wasn’t ready to learn some of that stuff. I hadn’t even put together that homework + tests = grades. Now there’s an equation for you. That’s the first time I remember my self esteem taking a major hit in school. When I showed my parents my report card, I was sure they’d be shocked. How could my teacher be so wrong? But no, they softpedaled it, thinking if they didn’t criticize me, it wouldn’t be a blow to my ego. I took it for agreement with my teacher that I wasn’t so bright after all. Just goes to show you the importance of developmental readiness and perception.
Some times you’re just not ready to learn a given subject. If you have time, hit the credits you need that you have an easier time with first, and save the math credits for last. Sometimes a little time will make a difference. Can’t hoit. I know, you don’t want to take all the hard credits just as you’re getting ready to be done with school. It’s just a suggestion, and it’s just one facet of the problem.
Both my daughters had summer birthdays, and I waited a year to put them in school. One had a pretty easy time with math, and the other couldn’t grasp math concepts with both hands.
One more thing. I mentioned on another forum, a book called Driven to Distraction by Edward M Hallowell, MD and John J Ratey, MD. It’s one of the first ones I read when I realized not only did my kids have ADD, but so did I. Both the authors have ADD and there are a lot of tips for high school and college.
tombaileyParticipant#132284 Hello, I want to add my point of view to this, question. First of all, it depends on personality. Some of the children can deal with math easier and some harder. Luckily, nowadays there are a lot of useful sources where one can find a lot of useful tips and even college essay about being the oldest child. I have heard a lot that it might be useful.

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