New one, need advice on schoolwork

Hello to you all!

I’m a scared mum of 11 yo. Two weeks ago my daughter suddenly showed the symptoms of a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. Left side of body was paralysed, vision blurred (she was asking why it is snowing inside in the room), and strange enough, she was not able to remember or recognise any numbers.

Stroke was waved right away by the instant CT scan, then the neurologists took over. The MRI scan found two small leisions on the left side of the brain. Lumbar punction and evoked tests had been done and we are waiting for results now.

I’m quite certain that the final diagnosis will be MS as it would explain short term memory loss episodes for past two years, being very slow on schoolwork and other minor symptoms – now they all are lining up.

She is recovering now – still dizzy but able to walk straight and general confusion is gone. Language skills and handwriting havent changed so I do not predict any new problems other than being slow. She also remembers some geometry like Pythagoras’, but simple arithmetic is gone.

My question is – how to start the math again. She has difficulties even adding 2 and 2, and is unable to find the right answer taking 5 from 9. So we must start from the year one with math again. Are there any technics how to do it? Any helpful links?


I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s health issues, but I do hope it might still turn out not to be MS - please try not to jump to conclusions, as it’s a notoriously difficult diagnosis, and has a lot of lookalikes.

As for the maths, I think the reason you may not have had any replies yet is this is such a specialist question. General cognitive difficulties and problems with memory and concentration are quite common with MS, but sudden complete loss of arithmetic ability is not. Even in the unlikely event somebody here has had this, the approach to rehabilitation for an adult presumably wouldn’t be exactly the same as for a child.

I think you need expert help with this, and wonder if either your daughter’s school, or her neurologist can arrange for a proper cognitive assessment, to find out exactly where her difficulties lie, and what help she needs to overcome these problems. I’m sorry, but I don’t think the chances are good that anybody on a forum would know.

If your daughter’s health issues have affected her educational development, I’m rather surprised you haven’t already been referred to a professional who can help with this. I’m not sure whether it would be a neuropsychologist, or an educational psychologist, or a paediatrician, or some combination of all three. But you certainly shouldn’t have been left to try to devise your own strategy, by asking on internet forums. It’s no criticism of you, as you obviously want to do the best for your daughter, but it sounds like her needs may be very complex, and it might not be something you can deal with at home, without specialist input.

I think you need to speak to the GP or neuro, and ask to be referred to somebody who deals with neuro-rehabilitation in children. Although your daughter’s problems are uncommon, I’m sure they’re not so uncommon that there is no medical specialisation to deal with this.

To be completely fair to the medics, unlike language, a problem with maths is not very likely to show itself during a routine examination, so they may be under the impression your daughter has recovered fine, and does not need specialist intervention. You are going to have to point out she has residual difficulties. I think the technical term is dysclaculia - like dyslexia, but relates to recognition and processing of numbers.


Haha - and ironically, I managed to mistype dyscalculia, thus demonstrating dyslexia!


I do wish this forum would let you correct stuff, and/or that browser spellcheckers would work, as they do on other forums.


Thank you, Anitra! I would not critice doctors, at least right now. They are aware about her acalculi or discalculi, right now it’s not their concern - they are deep into oligoclonal bands and all that stuff. We are going back to hospital for the next MRI on 9th of January and will see, what’s happen then.

She had math related memory problems for past two years but after visiting numerous doctors, it was related to possible stress so we took this year off the school, went for homeschooling and had been traveling. Right now we are in Spain. Thus things were more complicated when she was rushed to hospital - you can well imagine how scary it might be in a foreign country with all the language problems. We ended up in a very good hospital and great neurologists.

Why I’m asking about the technologies overcoming the math is that we all - obviously - are scared. Doctors had been very good explaining everything with all the possibilities but they are quite sure that it will be MS. So being able to fight back by taking math under the control would help a lot, you know, like keeping on top of things.

We decided not to keep any medical information away from our 11 yo, so she is well aware what’s going on, why and how. She also is keen to fight back so while this very scary waiting game goes on, fighting with math would make it less scary for us. Like taking attention from a big thing that you can’t actually control and concentrate on something smaller that you might take control of. For her it’s a big relief knowing that something is wrong with her because math fights had been frustrating - one day you get it all, make 10 out of 10, and the next day you are back to zero. Even worse - it had been like National lottery - you never know which will be the day when you can’t remember anything because most of the time it all stayed. No teachers or specialists we had seen suggested neurological possibilities, like MS. We had no idea, even a hint.