REVIEWED BY NUMBERDYSLEXIA’S EXPERT PANEL ON JUNE 04, 2020
Dyscalculia is a learning disability that hinders our pace in learning mathematics and number sense. Unfortunately, the effects are not just confined to classrooms, our daily life activities are affected as well. We already talked about the best possible ways of dealing with dyscalculia at the early stages and adapting a new learning strategy.
Note that there is no straight forward treatment for dyscalculia. Special accommodations and strategies must be prepared for students in order to help them cope up with it. It requires the work of both medical and teaching professionals. In this post, we will be explaining some of the best intervention strategies to support an individual with dyscalculia. We will focus on strategies helpful both in and out of the classroom.
Intervention Strategies For Dyscalculia in School
School can be a discouraging experience for little learners with a learning disorder. They may feel inferior, cornered, or ignored. Teachers and other academic evaluators must carefully examine such students. If possible, special accommodations must be provided to help them pick up the pace. Small gradual steps must be taken in order to help dyscalculics to deal with their math curriculum.
6. Push Classroom Engagements
Dyscalculic individuals may develop an inferiority complex by not matching the level of mathematics understanding as their friends and other students. They could feel cornered with such developments. Times may come that they gradually stop engaging with classroom activities. The teacher must come forward taking special care in such cases. Encourage positive talks and push for engagements and discussions in the classroom. Appreciate every effort being made by the student.
5. WR (Write & Revise)
Write and revise is the mantra that not just people with dyscalculia but every student must follow. It may look time-consuming but the conceptual clarification and long term retention definitely worth it. Just write whatever you’ve been taught. Discuss with your friends, peers, or any guardian about it. Explore ideas, concepts, and opinions around it. Sum it up and revise what you just did. You can make side notes for more clarification in the future.
4. Stepwise instructions:
Instructions related to maths problems must be written in steps on board. How did we reach the solution to this equation? How did we apply BODMAS? Everything from the question number to the solution must be written in a clear and stepwise manner. Divide the problems into subsets to teach it better. One concept must be followed at a time. Complex mathematical problems generally require jumping logic and concepts to get the desired result. In such problems, clear instructions must be provided beforehand of what is going to followed.
3. Explore Interests
Teachers must encourage students to share their interests and push a little to do something about it. Passion hidden inside an individual will go waste and probably affects his/her interests in other subjects as well. Mathematics is neither the only subject to follow and nor its the end of the road if you are weak in it. Special accommodations may be provided in order to further refine the special skills.
2. Focus on visualization
Students must be provided with as much visual presentation of the topics as possible. Try drawing the problem to understand it better from every aspect. Our memory retains charts and diagrams way longer than reading a paragraph about it. They must be encouraged to visualize mathematical problems. Help students analyze and jot down important points represented by it.
1. Relate concepts to real life situations
Probably the best possible way to learn anything new is by visualizing it in a real-life occurrence. The more you do it the more clarity of the concept you will get. Teachers must encourage the students to openly express their opinion about the topic. Try to teach math with real-life applications. Ask him/her — How many cars are parked? How many spoons of sugar do you want in your tea? How many sides and corners does a kite have? Once the child gets a good grip on these, move to a little more complicated ones. Doing this repeatedly will build confidence in the child and his/her ability to analyze things both mathematically as well as visually. Give them space to relate the concepts to objects nearby, any past stories, incidents, etc. Let them reverse engineer it and play with ‘What would happen if?’ kinda activities.
Intervention Strategies For Dyscalculia in Home
Strategies at home don’t necessarily have to target mathematics directly. It’s all about providing a comforting environment where a dyscalculic individual may further explore his/her abilities. The parent’s role is crucial for mental and emotional support. Encouragement is a prescription that can go a long way in building a strong mindset in dyscalculics.
5. Practice with assistive devices for self correction
Use of Assistive devices is generally restricted while practicing classroom work but in the case of dyscalculia, this could actually help them strengthen their number sense. It is necessary, however, to know how and where exactly a child struggles in mathematics to find the most suitable assistive technology. If struggles in basic operations and calculations, let them use calculators for the moment. It will actually help them understand how they arrive at the answer. Some of the other assistive devices that could be used are Graph paper, Drawing tool, math notation tools, abacus, and graphic organizers.
4. Yoga and Meditation
Everyone is aware of yoga’s potential to our physical and mental health. Yoga is a very effective stress reduction and relaxation tool. Yoga practice draws attention towards breathing, which produces a meditative and soothing state of mind. Practicing yoga every day for about 20 minutes can seriously improve a kid’s brain capabilities.
3. Push for hobbies and extra curricular activities
Studying is important but so does the other activities. Identify areas of the child in which he/she really good at. If possible, sign up for the classes that they wish for. Extracurricular activities like dancing, singing, and basketball will loosen up their stress and help them relax. Let them freely explore their interests and encourage future prospects.
2. Learn with objects
Learning by interacting physically and visually is way more prominent by book. New adaptive ways of learning maths can be prepared for little learners. Let’s take the example of counting, Instead of sticking to the routine classroom counting, Give them the freedom of counting anything and everything of their choice. Having first hand experience with counting real objects will help them understand numbers better. While doing this practice, slide some questions like, how many wings does this fan have? How many apples are there on the table? To amplify the interest, parents can mix maths in games, such as Throwing the ball at number blocks, Designing Lego numbers and steps number chase, etc.
1. Emotional and Mental support
Encouragement and appreciation for efforts will motivate individuals to perform further well in future tasks. Students dealing with dyscalculia often feel frustrated or embarrassed when asked to do things — like reciting multiplication tables — that are difficult for them, especially during class or when other students are present. Talk to them about it. Let them know you got their back. There is nothing to fear. Encourage them to participate in other curricular activities. Don’t scold them on getting low marks, instead try to identify their specific strengths and encourage them to follow it.