Number Dyslexia - does my kid have it?
What on earth is Number Dyslexia?
Do I have to deal with more issues than reading and writing?
“Help, I can’t cope with something else!”
Do not worry we can explain all. there is help, so breathE…. it’s all going to be ok.
Does your child have difficulty using and understanding symbols and words in Maths? They could have number dyslexia.
40 - 60% of Dyslexic children also have Number Dyslexia but please don’t worry, children with Number Dyslexia are often brilliant at the bigger concept maths (Einstein was Dyslexic!) but those tricky smaller words or symbols can really throw them. As for Times Table and Dividing that may be near impossible but there are fun, easy solutions below.
The difficulties facing these children may lead teachers and parents to believe they are rubbish at maths which is untrue. All they need is their ‘Super Einstein Powers’ unlocked.
Some of the problems that may face number Dyslexia children are the words that don’t have an image attached to them, these can often be impossible to decode for those who have number Dyslexia.
No image 😖- if, but, an, of, into, their, there, will
Images 😁 - rocket 🚀, hamburger 🍔, bee 🐝, bike 🚲, fish 🐠
Children with Number Dyslexia also have problems with the concept of time, order and sequencing. It might explain why they’re always late, often confused and do things in the wrong order!
While in life these ‘no image’ words can be tricky, in maths it can be near impossible to pick your way through the confusing symbols, bizarre word problems and equations mathematicians love to use. But again, we stress, there are ways round these problems that number Dyslexic children face and often these children may have other brilliant superpowers that they need to identify and grow which will help them overcome their problems. Try sites that use images/animations like Table Fables as children with Number Dyslexia are often brilliant at decoding with images.
Let’s take the maths word problem - “How many times does 9 go into 54?” - it's more than likely the dyslexic child will only decode the 9 and 54. The other words :
… are meaningless to a child with number Dyslexia and only causes confusion.
Also, children with number Dyslexia may look at the number 54 and turn it around and read 45 instead. It’s a minefield out there.
As for Algebra, that’s another world of confusion. Although not as many words the symbols can get very messed up.
Take the equation : 4 x X = 32 (the student has to find the value of x)
To a Dyslexic child or those who have number Dyslexia, symbols such as x and = may get confusing and muddled before they’ve even begun to work out the problem.
As for the x and X that could fox them altogether.
“Which x value am I trying to find. What’s going on??? Aargh!!!!”
So what’s the solution for Number Dyslexia?
IMAGES / VISUALS are the answer - most Dyslexics and those that have number Dyslexia have strong visual and spatial reasoning skills. So if they can see or look at a maths problem in a different way then miraculously it becomes easy.
For younger children who you suspect have number Dyslexia touching and feeling numbers is a fantastic way to get around the issue. Give them 18 beads and ask them to divide into 3 piles, no problem they can do it easily. However ask them what 3 x 6 = and they will look pained, embarrassed and confused.
Each child is unique, thank goodness, otherwise, life would be very boring! However, this means every child has unique problems to get over and will need to find their own way.
However getting over these problems is ESSENTIAL otherwise school, maths and life become painful. If you don’t find a way for your child to access maths they may think they are stupid (which they definitely aren’t - unless you banged them on the head with a frying pan for not knowing their Times Tables!) and have confidence issues for the rest of their lives.
For the majority of children that have number Dyslexia, you have to find a visual way of representing maths so they can easily get over their problems. There are websites like www.tablefables.net that will let children learn while watching funny animated stories, which is incredibly easy, fun and effective.
Teachers, tutors or parents need to keep in mind that children with number Dyslexia may simply misunderstand words or symbols rather than not understanding the problem. They are often very good at working out harder mathematical concepts, we just need to unlock their ‘Super Einstein Powers’ and watch them sore.