Dr. Gindis, much of the discussion revolves around language
and language remediation programs and reading skills. What about math?
We understand that some of our daughter's difficulties in math are language-based,
however, not all. Adopted at age 4 1/2, the focus has been on language
skills. As a first grader she participated in "reading recovery"
program at school, and it was very successful in bringing her up to
standard and even exceeding standards in some aspects of reading/writing.
She is now in grade 3 and is meeting or exceeding all standards except
math. She is in the low math group. So, is there an equivalent approach
or method offered to students who are struggling in math?
Language proficiency affects various domains of academic
functioning differently. There is no question that strong language base
is needed for math (in understanding of math problems, for example).
Also, there is a specific "math language" (symbols, abbreviations,
signs, etc.) that is to be mastered as well. And on top of these, there
are individual differences that may affect performance in math. Your
daughter may be more advanced in simultaneous (insight-like)
verbal activities than in sequential (step-by-step) numerical
activities. This may have little to do with the language mastery itself,
just with the individual differences of someone's brain functioning.
However, math - on the level of High School at a minimum - is accessible
to any individual with the average cognitive skills regardless of his/her
individual cognitive differences; sometimes only methods of teaching
are to be adjusted and modified for some individuals.
In general you should teach your daughter certain algorithms
of performing numerical sequential actions using her strong ability
in verbal comprehension. One well-known method of remediation in this
area is Lindamood-Bell
methodology. There are other methods: Touch Math (see:http://www.touchmath.com/),
specialized computer software (see: http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/math/),
or specific multi-sensory methodologies, like "Finger Multiplication"
All these and other remedial methodologies are helpful
only if well understood and applied intensely and systematically.