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Dr-David-Banner

Maths

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Dr-David-Banner

It's commonly accepted people on the spectrum are mathematically disadvantaged. It's also accepted a tiny percentage of autists are sometimes brilliant with numbers. More often the very rare savants. Myself, my maths in certain areas is pretty decent but I'm not a savant. In fact I suffered dyscalculia for decades. What I discovered is the reason most autists can't do maths is there's an immediate fear or aversion to the figures. For me it was like a brick wall and thick fog. Panic. Yet, if you force yourself to go step by step, concentrate and think - the fog clears. To do this I had to picture apples cut into segments and battle to visualise it all. I have a system that kick-starts mathematical thinking and guaranteed to cure any dyscalculiia case. It's just like jogging. Graduated steps.
Decimals are a great way to go. Time is a great subject to use. For example:
In 1 second you have fractions of milliseconds or microseconds.
First example:
1OOO milliseconds = 1 second. This means we divide one whole second into 1OOO parts. To exercise the brain you can do this:
999 milliseconds is the tiniest number short of one second. That's because 1OOO milliseconds is a second.
You can write:
O.999 second. The zero means we're a tiny bit short of a full second.
What would be O.5 second? Answer 5OO milliseconds so half a second.
O.1 of a second is how many milliseconds? Answer 1OO milliseconds.
When I started, this took me some time to conquer because I do have maths impairment. The key is to not go to the next stages till you're sure you fully understand initial stages.
By the way, O.OO1 second would be our smallest figure. 1OOOth of a second or a millisecond.
Next stage is percentages. I always blanked totally over "percentages". Nobody could teach me but really it's doable.
O.5 which is 5OO milliseconds is 5O per cent.
O.9 is 9O per cent. That would be 9OO milliseconds. You can even do simple "head clarifiers". Type O.OO1 times 9OO on a calculator you get back to O.9 which is our 9O per cent of one second.
I time I finally got good enough to convert microvalues of electronics components into 1OOOths to the point sellers got upset if I found ratings were out. Very definitely though I am not gifted in maths because gifted maths experts don't have to struggle and sweat. Funnily enough I may still just get blockages if I need to do an unfamiliar maths puzzle.
Some here may find what I posted very simple but others will feel like a fog. The way to clear the fog is to just force concentration and not switch off. By the way a lot of textbook maths and Calculus in my view is too much showing off. Lots of symbols for the sake of flowery sums. Einstein stated if you can't explain something in simple terms, it's not good.

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Dr-David-Banner

Extra point: NT teaching doesn't work for autists. Asperger people tend to do better in classes but some autistic kids can't be taught in groups. So, teaching materials are substandard due to insufficient explanation and data. It's assumed teachers will fill in the gaps but many autists need visual input more. The books I use are sixties US tech books but these would have been tackled in classes. Autists are not dumb but they do need entirely different tuition.

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Nesf
4 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

What I discovered is the reason most autists can't do maths is there's an immediate fear or aversion to the figures. For me it was like a brick wall and thick fog. Panic. Yet, if you force yourself to go step by step, concentrate and think - the fog clears. To do this I had to picture apples cut into segments and battle to visualise it all.

When learning maths at school, I found that I was good at geometry, but hopeless at algebra. I'm now reading a theory that says that autistics have difficulty with tasks which require you to use both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, and that sounds about right for me, as I have difficulty multitasking and it's no coincidence that the specific things I find difficult are the things that require good integration of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I think that algebra requires both hemispheres -or two separate ares of the brain which don't have good connections - to solve problems, and that's why I find it so difficult.

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Dr-David-Banner

Sometimes you need to bypass stuff that doesn't simplify the equation. Last week I rebooted a tutorial that used complex equations and I reworded and redid the whole thing. I explained what the numbers were doing without the( XL \ XC =) and so on. That's because I learn maths internally. I disliked the way the site I found had been showing off with long-winded formulae and just put it in direct language.
Most people who swear they can't do maths are simply not engaging. Teachers may have bullied them and added a "stupid" label. So it's a case of "Take it away!"
My NT friends all do maths every day in the shop I can't do. That's due to social pressure and time limitations. They don't have any practical maths impairment. On the other hand, on my own, in my own space and time, I can handle complex maths often better than NTs. I tend to see patterns in numbers or I may redo and reword standard maths to fit my own way of thinking.
I recommend decimals for cerebral exercise. Start simple with, say, the millisecond as 1 = 1OOO milliseconds. To go below 1 start with zero (O. so many thousand parts of a second). O.999 is nine hundred and ninety nine thousandsths of one unit. The biggest number below one. O.OO1 would be just one of the thousand segments. And so on...... It did get tricky when I expanded to microseconds. You can say O.1 is either 1OO milliseconds or 1OO,OOO microseconds - 1OOOOOO microseconds = 1 second.

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Sanctuary

I liked Maths at school and am one those AS people who is fascinated by numbers, especially statistics. I can do calendrical calculation but not to the extent of savants. However my skills at Maths have never been exceptional and I found Pure Maths much more difficult than Statistics. As regards teaching and learning I'm not someone who is adept learning a subject by myself unless I already have some prior knowledge; even then some input from a teacher is useful to clarify misunderstandings and get over any hurdles. 

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Myrtonos

@Dr-David-Banner, @Sanctuary and @Nesf - Look at Einstein, now believed to be autistic, and he was good enough at maths to understand physics. Also, Nicola Tesla, who would be diagnosed with Asperger's today and he had a more advanced mathematical understanding that the general population.

Could @Miss Chief be good at maths given she's quite geeky?

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Miss Chief

I was always very good at maths (and physics which includes some math) at school, also when I went to Uni I studied Electrical Engineering (although I dropped out) which also has a fair amount of math, I don't think you necessarily have to be good at math to be a geek though and certainly not to be a tech although it can help with coding :)

I certainly never feared numbers/figures... I quite like the fact matht is predictable and follows rules, I would think most people with AS would feel that way.

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RiRi

Well, it certainly isn't a savant skill for me. @Dr-David-Banner I do find your statement interesting that most people on the spectrum are at a disadvantage. 

I never really liked math because it was pretty much the subject I was worst at, but I wasn't that bad at it. I'm not very good with mental math (that's why I've thought I have dyscalculia), but if you give me a paper and pencil, I can work out a problem. I didn't like word problems, statistics was hard for me, but then again, every math was. :lol: Math wasn't something that came "natural" to me. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I believe dyscalculia can be overcome. What happened to me was very early school scared me to death. The teacher would do a test and you'd get a paper with basic maths solving questions. Somehow I couldn't "think". Language was OK. I learned to read after a delay but then became a big reader. Yet maths or puzzles just scared me.
Much later in life I was surprised I could do maths. Without a doubt, I had to work very hard to drive through mental blocks. The key is to understand each step. I've to date tackled graphs, ratios, pi, square roots, tiny bits of algebra and lots of fractions. I seemed to find graphs easier. Recently I looked into logarithims because it kept coming up related to decibels. I found a logs tutorial online and just glanced at the basics.
The weird thing is all my maths is purely self-taught. Nobody was ever involved in my swatting and there was no real subject approach. I just learned what I felt I genuinely needed.
One special interest I don't have but figure I could get hugely wrapped up in is astronomy. You need a fair bit of maths for it.

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Dr-David-Banner

"I do find your statement interesting that most people on the spectrum are at a disadvantage. "
That's because education is group based. It doesn't encourage individual approach. I was hounded off all electrical, radio engineering forums as somehow it was noticed I wasn't going through the group, but just exploring whatever angles. Also others struggled to understand the way I word maths because clearly my maths is coming up with the right digits but the thinking is different. To give an example: I always say divide "into". As in divide 25 into 5O gives 2. I don't use "divide by" as it doesn't seem to clarify the process.
So, if the books I read are designed for groups or through groups the teaching is going to put me at a disadvantage. Very often I'd learn purely through whatever example was given. Almost always if there are examples, I can string all the digits together. I may ignore the algebra ticks and symbols to a point.

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