Dyscalculia Tips for Parents and Teachers

Dyscalculia can be stressful, not just for the child but for parents and teachers as well. But don’t worry, having dyscalculia doesn’t mean you can’t learn math, it only means you learn math differently from what’s normally taught in school. Here, I’ve compiled a list of various methods to help parents and teachers teach to a child with math learning difficulties.

1. Use Concrete Manipulatives

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Manipulatives are objects used as tools in teaching. They are objects the child can touch and use to help understand real world mathematics. Concrete manipulatives include objects such as: dice, dominoes, cubes, charts, counting objects, geoboards, coins ect…They can be found at almost any store.

2. Play games with dice and dominoes

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Playing games with dice and dominoes can help teach counting by recognizing spot patterns

3. Focus on games and activities instead of worksheets

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Playing games and doing puzzles and other activities can help bring understanding to how math relates to the real world.

4. Take a step by step approach

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Explain every step as you go and build on prior knowledge. Many people with dyscalculia struggle with remembering what they learned so it may be helpful to review previous steps and find out what they know or remember.

5. Help Construct Visual Models

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Help the child draw pictures or build 3D models. This will help them to visualize math and make it more concrete, instead of abstract.

6. Teach Math Language

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Teach math language using synonyms such as “add” and “plus,” “subtract” and “minus,” “divide” and “difference,” “multiply” and “times,” “equal” and “total,” and many more.

7. Teach for understanding

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The main goal as you teach math should be to make sure the pupil understand exactly what to do and why they are doing it. The “why” being the most important. Often, those with dyscalculia struggle to memorize steps and formulas so don’t rely heavily on the memorization of facts and instead make sure they understand why every step is being done.

8. Understand the emotional impact

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Having dyscalculia in a world full of numbers can be stressful. Understand that the pupil may become frustrated or depressed and that they may begin to have low self esteem or severe math anxiety.



Author: Jo Resner

I'm a recent graduate from Grand Valley State University with a B.A in English and a minor in history. When I was a child I received a little red typewriter as a birthday present and it became one of my most treasured objects. On it, I typed out my own newspaper to hand out to family and friends, complete with weather reports, news stories I made up, and movie reviews. My mother told everyone I was going to grow up to be a writer. Except I couldn't grow up to be a writer because I already was one. From the moment I learned how to formulate sentences, I told stories. From that fake newspaper typed on my little red typewriter, to writing poetry in junior high and high school, to writing for my college newspaper I have always been a writer - even when I was being other things too.

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