Dyscalculia is a learning disability that occurs when a child struggles in math. Dyscalculia doesn’t have a specific area of math that defines its diagnosis. Instead, dyscalculia can occur in any area of the large spectrum that is mathematics. It is very individualized, affecting one child in his ability to add numbers and another child in his ability to read the numbers correctly or put them in order. The disability of dyscalculia is often as individual as the child himself.
What should schools be doing for children that are diagnosed with dyscalculia? Because there are so many different ways dyscalculia may affect each individual, these are just some basics that schools should be offering as far as accommodations go for the child that does have dyscalculia:
*Use graph paper for children who have trouble organizing problems on regular lined paper
*Teach different ways to learn math facts, instead of memorizing basic addition facts, show students strategies on how to solve them quickly, strategies such as drawing circles and adding the circles together to get the number.
*Teach the child how to estimate. Practice it with the child; this is a good way to start solving number problems
*Teach any new concepts by starting with the concrete and slowly moving to more abstract examples.
*Provide work areas that are quiet and free from distractions. Often times, if taking a test, a child with a math disability may be allowed to take the test in the presence of a special education teacher, in a separate room
*Use manipulatives when teaching new concepts. Children with math disabilities find working with his or her hands helpful in learning a new skill
*Children with dyscalculia should be offered more time to complete tests and other large assignments
*Allow scratch paper for in-class work, this helps when solving problems
*Any pre-written assignments should not have problems on it that are written close together or have too many on a page. When too many problems are written too closely together it can cause confusion and upset for the child with dyscalculia
*One-on-one assistance to aid in learning of skills and practice
Again, as with my blog on dysgraphia, these are just some of the accommodations that should be offered at school for a child with dyscalculia. If you have any you would like to share, please feel free!