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      “Why is my kid struggling so much with math?”   Does your child struggle with making sense of cents? Is he chronically late because he can’t read a clock? Does she always seem to mix up left and right? If so, your kid could have dyscalculia, a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand and perform math operations. While dyscalculia doesn’t have a cure, there are strategies that can help your child develop skills to overcome challenges and succeed in school.    So what should parents do if they suspect their kid could have a math learning disability?    1. Learn the symptoms   Children with dyscalculia may struggle with concepts such as:     Biggest and smallest    Telling time    Money sense    Directions and map-reading    Working memory (remembering numbers from a problem in their head when there’s several steps)    Remembering math facts, symbols, or word problems     2. Consider other issues   While dyscalculia can occur on its own, other disorders can also contribute to math troubles including   dyslexia  ,      visual or auditory processing disorders,  ADHD  , or math anxiety. Effectively supporting your child starts with receiving an accurate diagnosis. An evaluation from a   Specialist in Educational Psychology   can determine if your child has a diagnosis and how to best support them.   Think your child may have a diagnosis? Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation to learn how our specialists can help      


   
     
      
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      3. Engage the senses   A multisensory approach encourages kids to use their sight, hearing, touch, and movement to grasp math skills. By engaging each of their senses, they become more active and alert, allowing for stronger connections with what they’re learning. Use the following techniques to reinforce math concepts through each of your child’s senses:      SIGHT : Use manipulatives such as blocks, buttons, or cereal to help them visualize math problems. Then have them write out the equation they created to reinforce the lesson.      HEARING : Songs and musical notes can be great teaching tools for math concepts such as algorithms, grouping, and fractional parts.     TOUCH : It can be helpful for kids to tap out numbers so they can “feel” their values and put sensations to amounts.     MOVEMENT : Use movement to help students bring to life what they’ve learned. Have them demonstrate angles by rotating their arms or practice synchronized clapping as they recite their times tables.   4. Seek school accommodations   If your child receives a dyscalculia diagnosis, they may qualify for an educational plan such as an IEP or 504 Plan to gain accommodations in school. These accommodations can help level the playing field by reducing obstacles that dyscalculia presents for your child.   Accommodations   may include:     Addition time on tests    Calculator usage    Less math homework    Use of manipulatives to solve problems    Use of graphing paper or scrap paper    A quiet area to work.      5. Make math fun at home   Learning is easier when you’re having fun! Find informal, stress-free ways to incorporate math at home. Involve your kid in measuring ingredients at dinner, play board games that incorporate calculations, and download apps that strengthen math concepts. Learning an instrument or playing team sports are also fun ways to reinforce math skills.   6. Be open with your kid   Have age-appropriate conversations with your child about their diagnosis so they can understand how they learn differently. Speak positively as you explain that things that come easily to one person can be more of a struggle for someone else. For example, your kid may be gifted at pitching in baseball, while someone else may be more of a natural at batting. As your child gets older, you can share more details about their diagnosis and tips to help them overcome challenges. By speaking about dyscalculia as a normal, non-threatening issue, you’ll help shape the way your child views their abilities.   7. Encourage a growth mindset   Some kids with dyscalculia have a fixed mindset, meaning they believe their intelligence is “fixed” and unimprovable no matter how hard they try. Encourage a growth mindset by explaining that the brain is like any other muscle that can be trained and strengthened. Ensure your child that if they put in the effort, they can improve their math skills. Practice positive affirmations and praise your child’s efforts as much as you praise their accomplishments.    Example : “You did a great job in the store today paying for your new game. I could tell how hard you thought about the right amount to give the cashier.”     Click here    for more tips on fostering a growth mindset in your child     8. Seek help   It can be discouraging to realize your child may have a learning difference, but the good news is that there are many ways to help your kid reach their full academic potential. Our Specialists can provide evaluations to determine if your child has a diagnosis and counsel you on working with their school to meet their needs.      
	 Click here to find a specialist who can help 
       *Please note: since the publishing of this blog, Variations Psychology has narrowed its focus to diagnostic testing and psychological evaluations. Our Doctors can evaluate whether you or your loved one have a diagnosis and guide you through the next steps in achieving your mental health or academic goals. While Variations does not offer counseling, our diagnostic evaluations allow us to refer patients to specialists who are best equipped to meet their needs. In addition,     this link       can guide you through a directory of therapists, psychiatrists, treatment centers, and support groups in your area.        Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Dyscalculia Fact Sheet (n.d.).  Understood.  Retrieved from  https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/dyscalculia-fact-sheet  Frye, D. (2019). What is Dyscalculia?  ADDitude.  Retrieved from https://www.additudemag.com/what-is-dyscalculia-overview-and-symptom-breakdown/  Hodnett, B.R. (n.d.). 10 Multisensory Techniques for Teaching Math.  Understood.   Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/10-multisensory-techniques-for-teaching-math  How to Help Your Child With Math (n.d.).  Understood.  Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/math-issues/how-to-help-your-child-with-math  Jacobson. R. (n.d.). How to Help Kids with Dyscalculia.  Child Mind Institute.  Retrieved from https://childmind.org/article/how-to-help-kids-dyscalculia/  Jacobson, R. (n.d.). How to Spot Dyscalculia.  Child Mind Institute.  Retrieved from https://childmind.org/article/how-to-spot-dyscalculia/  Morin, A. (2014). At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Dyscalculia.  Understood.  Retrieved from  https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/at-a-glance-classroom-accommodations-for-dyscalculia  Morin, A. (n.d.). Download: Growth Mindset Activities for Kids.  Understood.  Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/building-on-strengths/download-growth-mindset-activities-for-kids  Morin, A. (n.d.). How to Talk to Your Child About Learning and Attention Issues.  Understood.  Retrieved from   https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/understanding-childs-challenges/talking-with-your-child/how-to-talk-to-your-child-about-learning-and-attention-issues  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/7-strategies-for-fostering-a-growth-mindset-in-your-child   Shinn. M.M. (2018). ADHD or Just Kids Being Kids?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Does My Child Need Accommodations for the SAT/ACT?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn. M.M. (2018). I Can’t Spell Dyslexia – Do I Have It?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/i-cant-spell-dyslexia-do-i-have-it Understanding Dyscalculia (n.d.).  Understood.  Retrieved from  https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/understanding-dyscalculia    How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Why is My Kid Struggling So Hard with Math?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/why-is-my-kid-struggling-so-much-with-math

“Why is my kid struggling so much with math?”

Does your child struggle with learning math concepts? If so, they may have a learning disorder called dyscalculia. Check out this week’s blog to learn signs of dyscalculia and how to support your child’s learning.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”   Back-to-school can cause a variety of concerns for parents. Will my kid like their teacher? Will they have to deal with bullies? Will they reach their potential? But back-to-school can be particularly worrisome for parents of children with chronic illnesses. Whether your child has diabetes, asthma, seizures, heart problems, allergies, or any other condition, it can be scary to entrust your child’s health to school staff for 6+ hours a day.    So what can parents do to ensure their kid’s health is cared for at school?     1. Learn risk factors   Before considering your child’s needs, it’s important to understand the potential risk factors that chronic illness can present. Chronic illness can contribute to emotional, behavioral, and academic problems including:      Falling behind   from excessive absences      Increased   anxiety   from trying to “catch up”    Fatigue and irritability     Depression    Social isolation    Low-self esteem    Understanding these risks will help you determine the best course of action to guard against them.   2. List their needs   Start listing an inventory of needs that you believe would help your child overcome obstacles and succeed at school. Include your kid in the conversation and ask for their input. Some examples might include:    Being able to leave class without permission when symptoms arise      Accepting late work     Sitting near the door    Receiving support with making friends     Allowing rest breaks as needed    Having summer course options to reduce their school-year class load    Teacher trainings on emergency responses, such as using an EpiPen      Being allowed to complete some schoolwork at home     Regular check-ins with the school counselor     3. Request education support   Set a meeting with the school to discuss your child’s needs and to see if they qualify for   accommodations      through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be the right tool for them. If their condition greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine which educational resources will work best for your child.  Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation with  Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and Special Education Consulting       4. Communicate consistently   Frequent communication with the school will increase the staff’s ability to stay informed of your child’s progress and respond to their challenges. Establish regular check-in meetings to keep the faculty and your family on the same page. Build relationships with teachers, administrators, and the school nurse, so everyone is aware of your child’s unique needs.   5. Support self-management   Prior to your child starting school, you may have done the heavy lifting in tending to their medical needs. Running for the steroid cream each time a hive pops up, grabbing their inhaler when they start to get winded, or calling friends to cancel plans when they look a little pale. Encourage your kid to start taking   responsibility     for their own care before they start school. Teach them how to recognize their symptoms before they get out of hand, administer self-care, and express their needs to teachers.   6. Calculate come-backs   Depending on your child’s condition, they may have medical supplies, such as ostomy bags or glucose meters, that other kids might be curious about. Hopefully your kid won’t be faced with   bullying  ,     but it can be helpful to have them rehearse a few comebacks in case of peers being rude or annoying.    Examples:   “Ew, look at her pricking her finger – what are you, a vampire?”  “Yes actually, but don’t worry – you’re not my type. I’m only into B+.”   “It’s not fair - why do you get to leave class all the time?”  “Because I’m Batman. The world isn’t going to save itself.”    7. Inspire motivation   Chronic pain and symptoms can make it challenging for your kid to focus on schoolwork. Frequently remind your child to think about their goals to help them stay motivated. Ask them about their passions, have them create vision boards, and tell them stories of celebrities who achieved success despite chronic illness, such as Sarah Hyland who has kidney dysplasia, Nick Jonas who has diabetes, or Selena Gomez who has lupus.    Check out our blog on    fostering passion & persistence    in your kid       8. Help them connect   Help your child think through obstacles that hold them back from extracurriculars and time with friends. If their symptoms prevent them from playing football, could they   work   in the ticket booth or concession stand? If they’re too tired to go to afternoon band practice, are there clubs that meet during lunch? If they have to miss school often, can they Facetime their besties after school hours? Helping them maintain connections with peers will reduce their risks for depression and low self-esteem.   9. Consult a Specialist   Taking a chronic illness to school can be tough on both students and their families. Fortunately, your family doesn’t have to face this alone. Our specialists are experienced in helping students overcome obstacles, achieve their potential, and ensure a supportive school environment.        
	 Click here to find a specialist who can help 
       *Please note: since the publishing of this blog, Variations Psychology has narrowed its focus to diagnostic testing and psychological evaluations. Our Doctors can evaluate whether you or your loved one have a diagnosis and guide you through the next steps in achieving your mental health or academic goals. While Variations does not offer counseling, our diagnostic evaluations allow us to refer patients to specialists who are best equipped to meet their needs. In addition,     this link       can guide you through a directory of therapists, psychiatrists, treatment centers, and support groups in your area.        Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Ball, M.F., Bayliss, D.M., Glauert, R., Harrison, A., Ohan, J.L. (2016). Chronic Illness and Developmental Vulnerability at School Entry.  Pediatrics , 137, 5. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/137/5/e20152475.full.pdf  Chronic Health Conditions (Students with): The Role of the School Nurse (n.d.).  National Association of School Nurses.  Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-chronic-health  My Child Has a Chronic Illness. What Do I Need to Tell the School? (2014).  American Academy of Pediatrics.  Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Chronic-Conditions-and-School.aspx  Schulman-Green, D., Jaser, S., Martin, F., Alonzo, A., Grey, M., McCorkle, R., … Whittemore, R. (2012). Processes of self-management in chronic illness.  Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing ,  44 (2), 136–144. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01444.x  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe with Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Does My Child Need Accommodations on the SAT/ACT?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Life Success – Is It About Persistence or Following Your Passion?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/life-success-is-it-about-persistence-or-following-your-passion   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might Be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Take the Stress Out of Tests! 11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/take-the-stress-out-of-tests-11-ways-to-manage-test-anxiety   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Should I Let My Teen Get a Job? 10 Things Parents Should Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-i-let-my-teen-get-a-job-10-things-parents-should-know    When a Kid Has Long-Term Illness: How to Deal with School (2010).  Education.com.  Retrieved from https://www.education.com/magazine/article/Chronic-illness-schools/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Taking Chronic Illness to School: 9 Tips to Stay Safe & Healthy.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-has-a-chronic-illness-how-do-i-prepare-them-for-school

“My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”

From asthma to diabetes and epilepsy to cancer, 1 in 4 children go to school each year with a chronic illness. If your kid has a chronic illness, check out this week’s blog for 9 tips to ensure their health and success as they go back to school.