Dyscalculia: finding the right support for your child
July 06, 2015
The world of learning difficulties can be a minefield for parents. We know that you are desperate to help your child in any way that you can, but that you are also very busy. It can be hard to know where to go for a quick source of reliable information. To make your lives a little easier, Explore Horizons has written a guide to dyscalculia, and how, as parents, you can help your child.
Dyscalculia can be identified as a difficulty in the reception, production or comprehension of number facts or spatial information. Put simply, it is a difficulty understanding basic number facts and manipulating numbers. Children with dyscalculic tendencies can often display great frustration and anxiety when faced with mathematical problems.
Learning difficulties such as dyscalculia have no ‘quick fix’ but they can be overcome. Here are six tips that can help make math more accessible to your child:
Boost confidence by giving lots of praise and reward for the effort your child is putting in. Showing your child that their input is just as important as the outcome can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety created when trying to get the answer right first time.
Make math relevant by exposing them to real life situations. Make dinnertime fun by giving them a handful of coins and ‘charge’ them for dinner as if you were in a restaurant, or challenge them to guess how many minutes it will take to complete simple everyday tasks.
Work at the right pace by using individualized support programs that only move on once a topic has been mastered. A good support plan will move at a pace that your child is comfortable with, ensuring they have retained the basic facts before advancing to more complex activities.
Boost enthusiasm by making learning fun. Playing puzzles and jigsaws as a family can improve your child’s spatial awareness, while the use of technology such as computers can make a tricky subject become more accessible and engaging.
Break tasks down into smaller chunks as children with dyscalculia can struggle to follow tasks with lots of instructions. Showing them just one step at a time can make the whole task seem much less daunting. You should also try writing instructions down for them, rather than just speaking them out loud. This means that if they forget what they have been asked to do, they will have something to refer back to.
Repetition and practice are crucial and doing extra-curricular activities that reiterate the work that has been done in the classroom can really help your child to keep up.
In our experience of working with children with dyscalculia, with the right support and encouragement, every child can make progress in math and regain their confidence in the classroom.
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