Children with dyscalculia have difficulties with all areas of Mathematics – like telling time, counting money, and performing mental calculations. According to a family psychologist and author – “their brains need more teaching, more targeted learning experiences, and more practice to develop these networks. Dyscalculia frequently coexists with dyslexia.
Signs of dyscalculia are not always easy to spot. Keep in mind that all kids have trouble with maths from time to time. But children with dyscalculia struggle a lot more than other children the same age. Dyscalculia is not the same as math anxiety because the latter involves strong emotions around Math.
What are the signs of Dyscalculia?
- Face difficulty when learning to count.
- Doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of counting.
- Struggle to recognize patterns, like smallest to largest or tallest to shortest.
- Have a problem understanding number symbols like making the connection between ‘9’ and the word ‘nine’.
- Struggle to connect a number to an object.
- Trouble to learn and recall basic math facts, like 3+3=6.
- Still uses finger to count instead of using more advanced strategies.
- Has a tough time understanding maths phrases, like “greater than” and “less than”.
- Struggle with Math concepts such as cumulative.
- Experience difficulty in understanding and solving a Math problem.
- Have a hard time figuring out the total cost of things and keeping track of money.
- Struggle when reading charts and graphs.
- Lack of confidence in activities that require an understanding of speed, distance and directions.
- Experience difficulty in finding different approaches to the same Maths problem.
Accommodations by Teachers
What are the steps you can take to support a child who has this disability?
- Elementary Maths Mastery (EMM) is a comprehensive mental mathematic program designed for upper primary, lower secondary students by the teachers.
- Dyscalculia Resource Book provides resources, games and puzzles to help to teach key aspects of numeracy.
- Paul Swan designed to build Maths skills in a fun and engaging manner.
- A book of 80 Maths games named Magical Game for Mathematics.
No one is sure how many people have dyscalculia, through estimates sum at 3%-6% of the population. Many students with dyscalculia CAN do very well at Math with proper techniques taught by the teachers.
- More time – Let the children work their way to find the answer at their own pace. Do not pressure them.
- Less homework – Give meaningful homework here.
- Moderate memorization – Use fact fluency instead of rote memorization and flashcards.
- Allow aids – Focus more on understanding the ideas rather than memorization and recall.
- Employ many methods – Try number lines, Math manipulations, colour coding and interactive games.
- Find a tutor – Find a tutor who understands and has worked with students with learning disorders.
Since Math is so prevalent in day-to-day life, a diagnosis of dyscalculia is never easy. But with the right accommodations – and a little understanding from parents, teachers, and supervisors – children and adults alike can build confidence in math and find the areas in which they thrive.