Riddle Me This

Enigma: Daughter of the Riddler

Last week I had blogged about my daughter Leah and the minor drama we had as she prepared for timed tests in her math class.

The maze that Leah’s mind creates sometimes derails her ability to thing through things quickly and cleanly. She navigates the maze well, but there are times when her brain changes the layout of the maze and she has to create a new map.

To this end, mental math can become a frustrating experience when time parameters are established and she knows that she only has a limited source of time.

We had been practicing time tests over the Christmas holiday and our goal that I wrote about last week is 15 problems in 2 minutes. For the most part Leah is averaging about 5 problems in that time.

She came home on Monday and told me that she did great! (she says this after every examination). She had told me that she had completed 7 and her teacher was proud of her for the improvement. Now the dad in me reacts with a smile and a hug, but the teacher in me is saying “2 more? After practicing we only got 2 more?”

The next day, Leah was at karate when I got home and on the table my wife had set out her time test. She had completed 11 addition problems correctly and 7 subtraction problems. I was so excited to see that she had improved. And not just she had improved but her progress had doubled!

While I’m going over the paper, my wife sends me a text saying the Leah has volunteered to test for her kata stripe at karate. Leah’s processing speed is not limited to school. She has to perform katas with more than 20 different moves and she has to perform them in the correct sequence. We’ve been scheduling a private lesson every other week so that she can get one on one instruction and practice. Prior to the private lessons, she was becoming frustrated with karate and fearful that she wouldn’t be able to demonstrate. And if there’s something that Leah likes to do–it’s demonstrate!

About 10 minutes later I received another text saying that Leah had led the class in the kata, made no mistakes and earned her stripe! In two weeks she will be promoting to a brown belt, where she will be trained in using various weapons–good God!

When she came home I congratulated her about not only the stripe but her timed test. She gave me a hug and a smile. She was beaming with pride!

So the riddle becomes a little more knowable. Between the practice and remediation, we’ve been giving Leah fish oil capsules twice a day for about a month now. Beth and I feel that part of this success is due to the oils either leveling the maze or preventing it from changing so that the practice can pave a clear way to the answers that she has stored in her memory.

Knowing the path

We hope to have more understanding when we meet with Brain Balance to go over Leah’s testing and then to see how we can help her further!


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