All summer long, I was obsessing about Lilia and math. Her teacher gave her something like 30 pages of problems – numbers, numbers, numbers – to do during the month of August. Also, she had two sets of flashcards that she was supposed to memorize. Things started out well. She did two pages of math each of the first few days. Then it went down to one page, then a quarter of a page. Nothing seemed to stick in her brain. Every time she saw 1 + 2, she counted on her fingers. I started getting frustrated. Lilia started getting frustrated. She’d throw the flashcards across the room; she’d crumple up the pages of problems.
Last week, at the center where she has therapy, I asked the doctor if there might be some problem with her memory. He said, “Oh, yes, she’s mentally handicapped.” The doctor there doesn’t really know her. He knows she has cerebral palsy, but he doesn’t know her. Her occupational therapist suggested that maybe she was more of a right brain person. She likes drawing and when she builds things out of blocks her contructions are always three-dimensional. Y.’s mother suggested that maybe Lilia would learn better using another method.
So finally, I suggested to her teacher that the math was too hard for Lilia. The woman looked perplexed. Yesterday, Lilia did her math homework all by herself and got everything right. Her teacher said she understood everything today, as well. So maybe it’s just that memorizing flash cards doesn’t interest her at the moment.