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The end result trumps the method

It doesn’t matter how she gets to it, as long as she gets to it. The path isn’t as important as the landing place. There doesn’t have to be ONE way! I keep telling myself this, over and over.

I know many people think that being dyslexic means you see words or letters backward. What it really means is you process information differently. No two dyslexics are the same. Keep that in mind as I share some of Josie’s “backward” ways.

Josie’s directions are a jumbled mess, if you aren’t payin

g attention. Her way to get to a solution would make most “normal” learners check out and declare her simple. She goes from the middle to the end to the beginning. Then, she goes from the end to the beginning to the middle. But, no matter what way she goes, she knows what she is talking about and the best way, for her. I won’t quote her directly because my memory isn’t as great as hers, but this is a rough example.

“If you want to buy something that costs $18 and all you have is $20, you will have to watch the person. Because you owe him your $20 but then, he needs to know he owes you $2. If not, he will owe you all of your $20 back because he cheated you $2 and you aren’t paying $20 for something. Because $18 is not $20 and you can buy a pop with that $2. If he keeps it, he is keeping your pop and cheating the pop person out of $2.”

All of that to say, she needs $2 change. She will get her $2 back.

We have been working on counting change. We get money out and count it. We have stayed below $1, for the most part. Going above $1 really confused her.

We did simple worksheets. She was teetering on confident for about a week. She teetered no more. She decided to go from simple straight to counting our change bottle. This is a three-liter bottle FULL of change.

I suggested we go through the vehicles and collect all the money in there to start a bit smaller. I was secretly hoping this would also yield a cleaner vehicle. That wasn’t enough for Josie. She wanted to know how much money was in that bottle.

I was worried she would get frustrated and stop. We had a moment of that when I gave too much information about what this was going to entail. When will I learn we just need to take it one step at a time? This is a life lesson I need to get onboard with, also. The kid is teaching me a thing or four.

We went around the frustration and she started on her project. This is what it looked like:

Two hours of sorting

Cartwheeling for breaks

More sorting

Stacking into fours

Snack break

Skip counting

Grouping into tens

Grouping into fives

More cartwheeling

Talking about who makes the money and counterfeiting money

Discussing the different looks of quarters

Talks of Canada not having pennies

Estimating how much money there was going to be

Marveling at how heavy and dirty change is

Back walkovers

Plans for the money

Multiplying 5x20 and 10x10

Adding multi-digit numbers

Finally, checking her work with a calculator. She was spot on!!!

Austin and I would have split this job into two evenings of sorting, complaining and talking about going to one of those machines and paying it to do the job. She was so excited! She had to call Dad and Grammy. She couldn’t wait to tell her sister the minute she got home.

I guided, but the counting was all her. One consistent through all of this was skip counting. I heard “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20” over and over again.

Did you catch that? Yes, she went from 14 to 15 to 18. She did it almost every time. I started to correct her and stopped. What did it matter? Was she ending up with the wrong answer? No. Was she going to be judged on how she got to the total? Was the bank going to take money away because her method of getting to the total wasn’t “right”? No.

The girl was working and her way was working. It didn’t have to be my way or the “right” way. I imagine this is the reason so many different processors don’t score very well on “show your work” assignments. Their work doesn’t add up, to the rest of us. It doesn’t compute.

But, here is the deal. It DOES work for them. It DOES add up. The answer is the same. They have a process, and it works, FOR THEM.

Imagine if we were all allowed to find a way that works, FOR US. Not for our neighbor. Not for our sibling. Not for our boss. But for us. I can’t imagine how many people have been stopped, dead in their tracks, just shy of discovering something BIG because their method didn’t line up with the one everyone thought should be used.

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