Just what is dyscalculia? Educator writes book about it with her granddaughter to help others

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Many parents can relate to the frustration that arises when their child just doesn’t “get” math. Sometimes, it is a matter of grasping new learning tools and studying harder. But sometimes it is something much more.

For longtime educator and author Ruth Gordon, the frustration has been in her own family.

When her granddaughter Lennox struggled continuously, the family had her tested for a math learning disorder. Lennox was found to have “dyscalculia.”

A recent article in Scientific American said the disorder “affects a person’s ability to understand math and number-based information because their brain doesn’t process math-related concepts in the same way as those without the disorder, but they are no less intelligent.”

“This is a relatively new diagnosis that should be understood and addressed as early as possible during a child’s educational journey,” Gordon said.

To help others understand it, she decided to team up with her granddaughter, son and daughter-in-law to write an engaging book for all ages.

The new publication, called “Count Me In,” is visually fun for kids and informative for parents. Barbara Zohlman, who is co-founder of the Miami Children’s Museum, created the beautiful illustrations.

“How many times have you heard someone say, ‘Ugh, I’m terrible at math,’ or watched as an adult counted on their fingers, or overheard a friend quip, ‘I’m not an accountant,’ when it came time to split the check at a restaurant?” said Aaron Gordon, Lennox’s father.

“The reality is that most of us aren’t math majors. But for some, their frustration with numbers is rooted in a learning disability called dyscalculia. Our daughter’s diagnosis provided us with the information we needed to approach her school about learning accommodations.”

“Count Me In,” from Page Publishing, is a resource for children, parents, educators, therapists, and psychologists trying to understand the math learning disability, said Ruth Gordon.

Aaron Gordon said modifications in the classroom, ranging from additional time on assignments to the use of a calculator during tests, have leveled the playing field and promoted a positive attitude in Lennox.

“From there, we watched as our daughter’s confidence and composure in math improved. Better grades followed,” he said.

Shawn Post, the licensed school psychologist who diagnosed Lennox, said she was encouraged to hear that Ruth Gordon had written a book designed to help students and their parents better understand the challenges.

“With the prevalence rate for a diagnosis of dyscalculia estimated between 8-10% of the K-12 student population, it is time for promoting further understanding of this specific condition,” Post said.

“Count Me In” is Ruth Gordon’s and Zohlman’s second book collaboration. It is available through their www.paperchainbooks.com or the Apple iTunes Store, Amazon, Google Play, Barnes and Noble and other online bookstores. For more, write to ruth21952@aol.com.


Hard working college-bound high school seniors from Coral Gables High, Miami High, Braddock High and International Studies Preparatory Academy are the recipients of $1.42 million in scholarships presented by the Coral Gables Community Foundation.

About 250 gathered May 7 at the Newman Alumni Center on the University of Miami campus to celebrate the students.

Matthew Meehan, board member and chair of the Scholarship Committee, guided the process of selecting the awards with the help of many generous fund holders and donors. Next year’s scholarship season will open the first week of January 2025. More at gablesfoundation.org/scholarships/.


The eighth annual Hope and Recovery Mental Health Luncheon will highlight the role of dance in improving mental health at 11:30 a.m. May 19 at the Jungle Island Bloom Ballroom.

The event, hosted by the Dosal Family Foundation, will raise funds to support the Key Clubhouse’s mission to help people “living with serious mental illness improve the quality of their lives through meaningful work, friendships and employment.”

Retired Judge Jeri Beth Cohen is chairing the event, and tickets are $150. Carol Kaminsky, a Board-Certified Dance Movement Therapist and Director of the Frost School of Music Dance Program at the University of Miami, will speak about the therapeutic potential of dance in mental health treatment and recovery.

Attendees will experience a special dance performance featuring members, staff and volunteers of the Key Clubhouse, choreographed by Miami Baila Dance Studio. Sponsorship information and tickets are at www.keyclubhouse.org.


Enjoy a glorious night of music when the Greater Miami Symphonic Band presents its 45th Season Finale Concert, 6 p.m., May 19 at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, 1314 Miller Dr.

Music Director Robert Longfield and guest conductor Robert Carnochan will lead the band in Alfred Reed’s international “Fifth Suite for Band,” Respighi’s classic “Pines of the Appian Way,” Valerie Coleman’s rousing “Roma,” and David Maslanka’s masterpiece “Give Us This Day.” Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Visit www.gmsb.org.

Write to ChristinaMMayo@gmail.com with news for this column.