20 Apr How To Support A Child With Dyscalculia?
How To Support A Child With Dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that affect’s a person’s ability to understand and work effectively with numbers. People with dyscalculia will often have trouble with maths calculations, comprehending arithmetic and generally understanding/learning how to manipulate numbers. Those affected by dyscalculia may also have difficulties with tasks such as counting, measuring, telling time and other number-based problems.
Dyscalculia can range from mild to severe and can affect both children and adults. In fact, it is thought that up to 7% of the population could be affected by the learning difficulty, so you are certainly not alone if you have recently been identified to have dyscalculia or if you think you may be affected.
Throughout this article we take a more in-depth look at what exactly dyscalculia is, how it effects those who suffer from the learning disorder and what you can do to help support a child who suffers from dyscalculia.
Firstly, What Exactly Is Dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a disability which effects an individual’s ability to effectively learn or understand arithmetic. Often referred to as “Maths Dyslexia”, dyscalculia presents symptoms such as: being slow to perform calculations, difficulty remembering maths/number-based information, a poor sense of estimation and high levels of mathematics anxiety, amongst many other traits.
Those who have dyscalculia do not often suffer from a general deficit in cognitive abilities, rather it is a specific disability in numerical processing. However, those who suffer from dyscalculia may also present symptoms such as an inability to recognise patterns, spatial awareness-problems, difficulties with time perception and sense of direction etc, especially in children.
Dyscalculia is not to be confused with acalculia, a mathematical disability that is the result of brain injury.
How Common Is Dyscalculia?
It is difficult to determine the exact prevalence of dyscalculia, as it is often underdiagnosed and can vary in severity. However, studies have estimated that it affects approximately 5-7% of the population. With dyscalculia being somewhat common, strategies and approaches for living with the disorder are easily accessible.
Psychologists, healthcare professionals and even your child’s school are likely to have encountered individuals with dyscalculia before and should be well equipped to support those with the disorder.
What Are The Signs Of Dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia presents many symptoms and not all those who suffer from dyscalculia will present the same issues. Below we have listed some of the more common signs of dyscalculia:
1. Difficulty with basic maths concepts, such as counting, number recognition, and number operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division etc).
2. Struggling with mental maths, such as estimating, remembering maths facts, and solving maths problems in their head.
3. Difficulty with maths word problems, such as understanding the problem and identifying the relevant information.
4. Struggling with maths homework, tests, and classwork, resulting in low grades or avoidance of maths-related tasks.
5. Making frequent errors and mistakes when solving maths problems
6. Difficulty organising and keeping track of numbers and information
7. Struggling with problem-solving and critical thinking skills related to maths.
8. Difficulty with spatial reasoning and visual-spatial tasks, such as reading a map or understanding geometric shapes.
9. Struggling with organising and following a sequence of steps, such as in a maths problem or in a recipe.
10. Avoiding maths entirely
How Is Dyscalculia Diagnosed?
Dyscalculia is typically formally diagnosed by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychologist or neuropsychologist, after a thorough evaluation or assessment of an individual’s mathematical abilities. In the first instance, dyscalculia is likely to be identified whilst a child is still at school, whether that’s by a teacher or parent.
If you or your child’s teacher has concerns about your child’s progress in maths, then the next step would be to get a referral to a specialist education psychologist who can make an evaluation of your child’s abilities in maths and provide appropriate advice.
A dyscalculia evaluation may include cognitive and achievement tests, as well as a review of the individual’s educational and medical history. An educational psychologist will also consider any other factors that may affect the individual’s mathematical abilities, such as their age, overall health, and any other learning or developmental disorders they may have.
Dyscalculia is not only to be diagnosed in a child; adults can also get referrals for educational psychologists too. However, the longer dyscalculia is left undiagnosed, the more likely it is to never be identified in an individual.
Does Dyscalculia Get Worse With Age?
Dyscalculia does not necessarily get worse with age. However, individuals with dyscalculia may face additional challenges as they age, such as managing finances and performing complex mathematical tasks in their daily lives. It is important for individuals with dyscalculia to seek support and accommodations to help them manage their disorder and achieve their goals.
How To Help Children With Dyscalculia?
If your child suffers from dyscalculia or you expect this could be the problem, then do not worry, as there is plenty of help available. Whether it be online resources, specialist support or even just little things like remembering to take it one step at a time, there is plenty of dyscalculia support out there.
Below we have listed some of the top things to remember when helping a child with Dyscalculia:
- Provide a structured and consistent routine for learning maths.
- Use visual aids and manipulatives to help individual’s understand concepts better.
- Break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Encourage the use of calculators and other assistive technology.
- Work with an online tutoring website such as Tutorwiz or other specialist service/tuition to provide targeted instruction and support.
- Provide regular feedback and support to help your child build confidence and motivation.
- Emphasize the practical applications of maths in everyday life.
- Collaborate with your child’s teacher to develop an individualised education plan.
How To Teach A Child With Dyscalculia Numbers?
Teaching a child with dyscalculia about numbers can be challenging, but it is important to approach the child with patience and understanding. You need to create an environment where a child feels empowered to succeed in their maths studies otherwise you are setting them up to fail.
One of the best ways to teach a child with dyscalculia numbers is to start with the basics. Begin by teaching the child the basic concepts of numbers, such as counting and the relationship between numbers and quantities. This will help the child develop a foundation for understanding more complex mathematical concepts. Visual aids such as pictures and manipulatives can also massively help children with dyscalculia. These tools can help the child understand abstract concepts and make them more concrete.
When teaching a child with dyscalculia about numbers they may require some extra time and support to understand and learn mathematical concepts. Be patient and provide the child with additional help and support when needed. Practice is also important for helping a child with dyscalculia learn and retain information. Encourage the child to practice their maths skills on a regular basis, whether that’s through structured learning or more relaxed day-to-day activities.
How To Help A Child With Dyscalculia At Home?
If you’re looking to support your child through their dyscalculia journey from the comfort of your own home, then there are plenty of top tips to consider. However, as you are limited to what you can provide from home, you are restricted by what’s available online or to what you can provide as a parent/guardian. Here are some of our top tips for when providing dyscalculia help to your child at home:
Practice Regularly – Practice makes perfect and that couldn’t be any more true than when it comes to helping students with dyscalculia. A common trait of those with dyscalculia is that they often have to relearn and revisit topics. By practicing regularly, you can help to engrain topics in your child and ensure that they properly retain the information they learn.
Multisensory Learning – A massively helpful tip when working with children with dyscalculia is to take advantage of multisensory learning. Multisensory learning helps students with dyscalculia to use more than one of their senses when learning new information. This approach to learning helps students with dyscalculia to make associations and triggers, helping to retain information and learnt topics. An example of multi-sensory learning is to use visual or auditory aides when approaching topics with a student.
Focus On Games & Activities – Games & activities can be an effective and fun way to approach maths studies for a child with dyscalculia. By using games and activities, you are creating a fun and engaging environment for your child, which will help with information retention and making associations. Games & activities can also help to keep your child engaged with their studies for longer.
Be Patient – Patience is a virtue and that couldn’t be any more true than when it comes to helping a child with dyscalculia from home. A common trait of those with dyscalculia is that they often have to re-learn and re-visit topics, so be patient with your child if they do not immediately remember a topic you know they have understood previously. By being patient with your child you are creating an environment conducive for learning.
Online Tutoring – Finally, and one of the most effective strategies when it comes to helping a child with dyscalculia at home, is to take advantage of online tutoring. Online tutoring provides all of the benefits of a private tutor with the bonus of learning from the comfort of your own home. Online tutoring helps to take the anxiety and stress out of private tuition whilst providing targeted and individual support to students. An online tutoring platform such as Tutorwiz is the perfect option for those looking to help their children with dyscalculia from home.
If you’re in need of dyscalculia help for your child then Tutorwiz could be the perfect option. Tutorwiz have helped numerous students with dyscalculia and other special education needs (SEND) to overcome their challenges and excel in their studies. Tutorwiz is pleased to work with students of all abilities and has a team of specialised tutors working with those who suffer from learning difficulties. Get in touch with the Tutorwiz team today to find out more about our dyscalculia support programme. You can get in touch by using our contact form, by emailing us at: email@example.com. or by calling us on 0800 181 4221. Alternatively, why not request a FREE Education Assessment for your child today and identify any knowledge gaps currently holding your child back.