Dyscalculia 1 Dyscalculia Emilee Segreaves EDSP 210 Mrs. Donna McCune October 3, 2011 Dyscalculia 2 Abstract Little research has been done on the learning disability of Dyscalculia. It is a learning disability in mathematics that affects many children. Difficulties in simple mathematical concepts, such as, counting, making change, keeping track of time, and not understanding word problems, are all symptoms that Dyscalculia might be present in a child. There are two different types of tests that may be used to test a child for this disability: “Piagetian test of conservation of number, classification and seriation”, and the “Rey-Osterrieth’ Complex Figure Test.” Teachers need to learn strategies to help the children with Dyscalculia succeed in mathematics. These strategies include: teaching mathematic vocabulary, using visuals, providing students with sufficient practice, and guiding children in word problems. Vaidya, S. (2004). Understanding Dyscalculia for Teaching. Education, 124(4), 717. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Opinion I thought this article was very interesting. I never knew what dyscalculia was, and this article really gave a good explanation to what it was. I found it interesting how a lot of the signs of dyscalculia are things that most children have difficult times doing at young ages in math. I think that a lot of children have a hard time understanding certain aspects of math and cannot grasp certain aspects, and teacher’s think the child will eventually get it, and this is why many cases of dyscalculia go unnoticed. This article had a good insight of how to diagnose dyscalculia. It also provides a few strategies to use when you have are teaching a child with dyscalculia. I really liked the idea of teaching math as if it was a second language. I plan on using this strategy in my own classroom. I believe that it is important that children understand all of the words used in math, in order to ensure the child understands and comprehends what is being asked. Dyscalculia 3 According to the Learning Disabilities Online, Dyscalculia is defined as, “A severe difficulty in understanding and using symbols or functions needed for success in mathematics.” That is basically saying that the basic concepts of math are found to be difficult in children with dyscalculia and that is a why they have a harder time doing higher-level math. Children who do not understand the basics will have a very hard time moving onto harder math concepts that are built upon the more basic ones. Characteristics: Place values, quantity, number lines, positive and negative numbers, borrowing and carrying are difficult Word problems are hard Following sequences and steps are difficult tasks Making change with money is hard Organization of the problem is difficult (ex. Numbers aren’t lined up) LDA. (2004). Dyscalculia. Retrieved from http://www.ldanatl.org/aboutld/parents/ld_basics/print_dyscalculia.asp Implications for teaching: Students don’t retain information Have to repeat instructions several times Have to repeat how to do the problem several times Students take a lot of time figuring out the answer Students perform poorly on tests because they have a difficult time coming to the answers Teaching methods are geared towards doing more “hands-on” things Implications for learning: Student is given extra time to complete math problems Student is given the tools to help them succeed Student has better understanding through the use of manipulatives, pictures and diagrams Dyscalculia 4 M.I.C.E. Strategies Dyscalculia Management: 1. By providing a child with dyscalculia a peer tutor, a relationship will form. A student often has the ability to explain a concept in a way that a child with dyscalculia can understand. This would help the child not only develop understanding and comprehension of the appropriate math concept, but also create a friendship between the two children (LDA, 2004). Instructional: 1. Using concrete examples will help the child with dyscalculia because it will help them understand more basic concepts before moving on to harder concepts. Using concrete examples that can be related to the “real world” and everyday life can help the child grasp the idea quicker (NCLD, 2006). 2. Drawing pictures and using diagrams is beneficial to a child with dyscalculia because it provides a visual representation of a math problem. Most children with dyscalculia have a difficult time understanding word problems and what they have to do to get the result. Therefore, creating a diagram or picture helps the student see what is being asked (LDA, 2004). 3. The use of colored pencils can be useful to children with dyscalculia because it helps them organize the problem. As a teacher, color coordinating different parts of the problem will provide the student with a better understanding of the problem (LDA, 2004). 4. Repetition of the previous days’ lesson will help strengthen possible weaknesses that the child with dyscalculia might have had the day before. By reiterating previous lessons, students are improving their skills and preparing themselves for the more difficult concepts that are to come in the future (Chandler, 2010). Curricular: 1. Because children with dyscalculia take a longer time figuring out math problems that may be simple, it is necessary to provide these children with extra time on assignments and tests. These children are not “dumb;” they just think in a different manner when it comes to math, and therefore, take a longer time answering questions and computing answers (Roth, 2010). 2. Teach math like it is a second language. Math, like a foreign language, uses a lot of vocabulary. Lack of understanding the vocabulary will result in difficulties in figuring out what is being asked. A cause of difficulties in math with a child with dyscalculia is due to their lack of understanding what is being asked in a particular problem. So, if math is taught like a second language, with a big focus on the vocabulary, children with dyscalculia will not feel confused when it comes to “decoding” word problems (Vaidya, 2004). Dyscalculia 5 Environmental: 1. To ensure optimal learning for a child with dyscalculia, an area that is free from distractions that is equipped with the appropriate tools should be provided. An area free from distractions will help the child focus and learn without the disruptions other students may provide. This area should be fully stocked with graph paper, scrap paper, pencils and erasers, which the student can access if necessary (NCLD, 2006). Dyscalculia 6 Warning Signs of Dyscalculia by Age according to NCLD (2010) Young Children School-Age Children Teenagers & Adults Difficulty learning to count Trouble learning math facts Difficulty estimating costs (+, -, *, \) Trouble recognizing printed Difficulty developing math Difficulty learning math numbers problem-solving skills concepts beyond basic math facts Difficulty tying together the Poor long term memory for Poor ability to idea of a number and how it math functions budget/balance a checkbook exists in the world Poor memory for numbers Not familiar with math Trouble with concepts of vocabulary time (sticking to a schedule/approximating time) Trouble organizing things Difficulty measuring Trouble with mental math in a logical way Avoid games that require Difficulty finding different strategy approaches to one problem NCLD Staff. (2010, December 09). What is dyscalculia?. Retrieved from http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-aamp-language/ld-aamp-math/what-is- dyscalculia? Dyscalculia 7 References Chandler, S. (2010, April 01). Dyscalculia strategies. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/100831-dyscalculia-strategies/ LDA. (2004). Dyscalculia. Retrieved from http://www.ldanatl.org/aboutld/parents/ld_basics/print_dyscalculia.asp NCLD. (2006). Dyscalculia. Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/article/Dyscalculia?theme=print NCLD Staff. (2010, December 09). What is dyscalculia?. Retrieved from http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-aamp-language/ld-aamp-math/what-is- dyscalculia? Roth, E. (2010, September 02). Strategies to help children with dyscalculia. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/219244-strategies-to-help-children-with- dyscalculia/ Vaidya, S. (2004). Understanding dyscalculia for teaching. Education, 124(4), 717. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Woodward, J., & Montague, M. (2002). Meeting the challenge of mathematics reform for students with ld. The Journal of Special Education, 36(2), 89-101. DOI: 10.1177/00224669020360020401.
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