Dyscalculia

This one, like dysgraphia, is lesser known. It is a disorder dealing with a difficulty with math and numbers. I, myself, have struggled with this over the years. I invert numbers in writing, speech, and hearing. Typing or writing numbers and following complex math steps has been a challenge. Math was the only subject I had to spend time studying. It was the only area where I needed help. To this day, there are certain math concepts I simply cannot do. My brain cannot compute reverse F.O.I.L...I don't even know the proper term for the concept because I have blocked it from my memory! Accurate calculations and number reasoning are also challenges for me and others who struggle with dyscalculia.

I was able to be successful in math with much repetition. I was able to learn how to balance equations based on my understanding of balancing sentences. I used my grammar and language arts abilities to help strengthen my math skills. Understanding the why of what I was doing was how I remembered what I needed to do in different situations. When I help students learn math, I first teach it how I best understand. I always ensure I teach the why as well. If they don't understand that way, I adjust and try another method of explaining. I adjust until the student understands.

My spacial reasoning skills never really did come along with my ability to balance equations. I struggle to visualize shapes and distances. Because I know why equations work to find volumes and areas, I am able to apply them. When I teach it, I use drawings to help students match the visual parts of their brains with the numbers. I try to bring in cross-curricular methods to help students make sense of what's around them and how to manipulate it.

The more exposure, and calm repetition we can offer these brains, the better for their retention. Relating difficult concepts to those they find easy can help. Like with dysgraphia too, separating skills can be helpful. So we do copy work for forming proper numbers. We walk them through each step of simple to complex problems. We support and gently remind what comes next. We can even allow dictation where we write the numbers while they tell us what to write. Manipulatives can help too. Counting blocks, fractions with Lego, shape blocks to manipulate and find areas, perimeters, volumes, and more. Being able to hold and manipulate things can reach more students. When we activate multiple parts of the brain, we more fully educate the child.

Repetition, manipulatives, breaking apart skills, support, and allowing more time for assignments and tests can lead to success and less hatred of math for most students struggling with dyscalculia. If you need support for your child, let me know!

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