WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Having a math learning disability can be a real pain in the butt. However there is help out there so don’t get too down hearted and if you tackle the problem early enough then it might not develop into full blown maths anxiety.
Unfortunately if your child has a math learning disability or Dyscalculia as it is often called, it is not as widely recognised as Dyslexia. Dyscalculia research is about 30 years behind Dyslexic research which isn’t great if you suffer from any form of math learning disability.
Currently if you do fork out for a formal assessment they can be very expensive and it can still be incredibly hard to get extra teaching or time in exams. Even if your child does get extra help teachers currently often teach math in the same way but slower. Dyscalculia or math learning disability children aren’t stupid or foreign!
Talking to them like they are idiots will not make them understand. They need an alternative teaching method so maths makes sense to them.
Below are some solutions so you can help your child get on the same footing as everyone else.
PROBLEM : Adding up to 10 (Number Bonds) is a major struggle.
“Mum what ? + 7 = 10… is it 8?”
SOLUTION : look at sites like www.tablefables.net that use images rather than numbers to inspire children to count to 10 and learn their number bonds.
PROBLEM : Uses fingers to count instead of using mental maths.
SOLUTION : Fingers will probably be used throughout a “Dyscalculics” (is that a word!) life and that’s ok. We’ve got fingers so let’s use them!
However working on mental arithmetic is very important.
Get all your change and set up a shop. Children love to play shopper and shop keeper. It’s a great way to get them involved in “maths in society” and a great way to get them to remember their counting skills.
Playing shops is also the perfect way to build their confidence with that kind of exchange in real life scenarios. Often it’s better to have real things they can buy in the shop. £1 bargain shops are great for this, either sweets, pencils, small toys etc. Anything that will engage them and make them want to work out the NUMBERS. We advice doing this one on one without siblings or friends as often children with math learning disabilities are very embarrassed about their lack of understanding and will do anything to get out of not looking stupid in front of other people.
PROBLEM: Poor understanding of signs + - ÷ x . They will often get them confused.
SOLUTION : All children love stories and images to help them remember things but especially kids with dyscalculia or a maths learning disability.
Tell Children X sign (multiplication & times) is the kiss sign at the bottom of a letter. Then tell them a story : “If two people kiss they fall in love and will produce lots of babies. If you X (kiss) then you get lots more babies than you started with.
Addition + (add, plus, sum). Tell children the + sign is like the symbol on a pharmacy or chemist. Story “If you add ‘sum’ (+) medicine to a sick person they get better.”
Eg X makes lots more of things. + adds two things together.