Dyscalculia Strategies

Dyscalculia Strategies for Students: A Guide


Tackling a subject that we find confusing is even difficult for an adult. For a child, that problem is only exacerbated, especially thanks to added pressure in school. To make matters even worse, children can suffer from learning disabilities like dyscalculia.

Up to 7% of students suffer from dyscalculia. The disability makes mathematics an almost impossible subject to tackle.

For parents and teachers of dyscalculia sufferers, there are more and more solutions. Going forward we will examine dyscalculia strategies. Hopefully, they can alleviate the math-induced headache for students.

Understanding the Disability

The first and most important step is to take time to understand the problem. So often in cases with younger students, living with dyscalculia is a hard hit to their self-esteem.

It must be clear that the inability to comprehend the concepts and numbers is not an inditement on their intelligence. Approach the issue with this understanding. It lets the student understand there are still options.

Now we can move on to the dyscalculia teaching strategies.

Reframing the Problem

One of the most effective ways of circumventing the disability is to reframe the problem. This can take the form of writing it down or speaking about it with a teacher or peer.

Even the simple act of discussing the problem can offer clarity for the sufferer. A conversation will often help to translate the problem into something far less abstract.

Moving away from a rigid approach will give the student the confidence to experiment. So often in cases of dyscalculia, the fear of failure or being incorrect will impede their ability to focus.

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Also, expand on the idea of making the problem less confusing. Attempt to translate the math problem into something physical. A real-world concept is far easier to understand than a series of numbers.

Breaking Problems Apart

Deconstructing the problem and separating it into smaller steps is effective. This is true even for students not suffering from dyscalculia. A reduction of moving parts in a complicated problem affords the student far sharper focus.

Even something as simple as only being able to see one specific part of a math problem can help. Blocking out the other numbers will help to reduce the ‘white noise’ experienced by the student.

Allow Usage of Calculators

Put aside any preconceptions about the usage of calculators. A student is already working around an enormous obstacle learning math with dyscalculia.

A calculator will often be the edge that the student needs to make the difference. Problems dealing in complex series of numbers such as factoring pose some of the biggest challenges. These benefit most from a calculator.

Consider something like a factoring calculator for these situations. They will help to boost the student’s confidence and understanding.

Use Dyscalculia Strategies Gently

Above all, remember not to attempt to force the student. Education should enjoyable, regardless of disabilities. Frustration will simply make the process take longer and the dyscalculia strategies more difficult.

For other education strategies that might help, read more of our blog! There are all kinds of tips in our different sections!

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