Remediation of Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia remains a mysterious disability that affects millions of people worldwide. Though it sounds more like a rare disease than a learning disability, the inability to understand and retain basic mathematical concepts can lead to lifelong struggles. Children may show signs as early as kindergarten, marked by difficulty grasping quantities or simple number patterns like 1, 2, 3, 4. Later in life, dyscalculia can create problems unrelated to math, such as the inability to place a face with a name, difficulty grasping abstract time-related concepts, and financial struggles, since balancing a checkbook and maintaining a budget are too challenging.

  1. What You Can Do for Your Child

    • Teachers and parents must play a critical role in the early diagnosis of dyscalculia. It is crucial to recognize that each child has her distinct set of learning styles and abilities, and those who show signs of dyscalculia must be treated as such. Though the effects of this disability can and most likely will carry on into adulthood, all is not lost if it is remediated at a young age by using a few simple techniques.

    How to Remediate Dyscalculia

    • It must be stressed that every child will benefit differently from each of these methods, and after an initial assessment, some techniques may be emphasized while others may be discarded. It is important to be flexible with how the child learns math. Allow her to count on her fingers and use scratch paper as opposed to figuring it out in her head. Often even the most basic concepts, such as adding and subtracting, do not come easily. Another technique that may help in retaining certain mathematical concepts is the use of colored pencils. For example, any time addition is practiced, use a green colored pencil, and whenever subtraction is practiced, use a red one. This allows the child to visualize the problem. You can also use manipulatives, or objects, that the child can touch and move, such as pattern blocks, base-10 blocks and color tiles. Word problems also pose a hurdle, but simple illustrations help create something the student can understand.

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