Students who have a specific learning disability in math (known as dyscalculia) can struggle with both simple and complex math topics. What can help students with dyscalculia? Here are some ways teachers can make learning easier.
Introducing new concepts/lessons
- Review what the student already learned before teaching new skills.
- Teach students to “self-talk” through solving problems.
- Let the student write out charts or draw sketches to solve problems.
- Use graph paper to help line up numbers and problems.
- Give the student a list of the math formulas taught in the class.
- Use like coins, blocks, and puzzles to teach math ideas.
- Use attention-getting phrases like, “This is important to know because….”
- Use concrete examples that connect math to real life.
- Check in frequently to make sure the student understands the work.
- Use graphic organizers to organize information or help break down math problems into steps.
Giving instructions and assignments
- Create separate worksheets for word problems and number problems.
- Highlight or circle key words and numbers on word problems.
- Allow extra time on tests.
- Give step-by-step instructions and have the student repeat them.
- Provide charts of math facts or multiplication tables.
- Use visual aids or manipulatives when solving problems.
- Let the student use a calculator when computation isn’t what’s being assessed
- Give a rubric that describes the elements of an assignment.
- Use an extra piece of paper to cover up most of what’s on a math sheet or test to make it easier to focus on one problem at a time.
- Give more space to write problems and solutions.
- Break down worksheets into sections.
Do you have a student who you think has dyscalculia? Explore a day in the life of a child with dyscalculia.
Do you think your child needs extra support in math? Explore questions to ask about math instruction.
About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.