Dealing with dyscalculia
Dyscalculia can make learning and understanding a real challenge. However, there are ways to spot it early and make things more manageable for your little one.
Maths isn’t everyone’s favourite subject but some kids seriously struggle and this can be a sign of dyscalculia. Approximately one in twenty kids experience this learning disorder which hinders their ability to understand maths and number-related topics.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
If you are concerned that your little one may be suffering from this disorder, here are a few tell-tale signs:
- They take longer than normal to learn to count
- They have to count on their fingers
- They have difficulty recognising numbers and seeing patterns in numbers
- They struggle with basic mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction
- They take longer than normal to learn how to read clocks and tell the time
If some or all of these are familiar, it may be worth investigating further. You can start by consulting your child’s doctor to find out more about the appropriate steps for a diagnosis. You should also consider talking to your child’s teacher to get more details about how they’re performing in class and if their difficulties are in maths alone or spread into other subjects too.
HOW TO HELP
There are plenty of ways you can help your little one at home if they’re experiencing dyscalculia. It’s essential to keep things light and fun and to be patient with your child as they work through their difficulties.
Make a game of it
Any games that involve numbered objects, such as cards, dice or dominoes are a great tool to use when trying to make it easier for your little one to get their head around maths. These visual aids can be used to assist with addition, subtraction and pattern recognition among other things. Your child may get frustrated with the game if they keep losing track of the numbers so reassure them that there is no pressure and try to make it as fun as possible!
Aim for understanding over memorisation
Some children will be able to lean on their strong memory as a crutch for their lack of understanding in certain areas. Do your best to explain the topic to them in terms that they’ll understand and check in with them to make sure that they’re not just learning it off. This will mean that they can apply this understanding and solve various problems where their memory alone will not quite be enough.
One step at a time
If you are working on a specific maths problem with them, break it down into the smallest possible steps where only one change is being made from one step to the next. Try to talk them through what’s happening in each step and be prepared that they may get stuck often. Don’t be afraid to spend time on each step so that they don’t feel rushed and can focus on learning.
Dyscalculia can make numerical learning very difficult for children, but if you can identify it early, help them out at home and consult with their teachers, it will make their school experience much more enjoyable.