For parents whose children struggle with math or dislike the subject, may not pay much heed as they assume it is normal for young students to not be fond of the subject as arduous as math. However, sometimes it is not only about disliking a subject, there might be an underline condition. Your child may be undergoing a learning disability called Dyscalculia and parents must immediately bring it to the notice of the educator and seek help of a doctor.
What is Dyscalculia
If you are hearing this term for the first time then let us break it down for you. Dyscalculia is a condition where your child deals with specific learning disabilities. These disabilities affect the child in such a manner that he isn’t able to learn or understand math and number-related operations, in particular. Dyscalculia is a challenge that persists all through the individual’s life. Even basic math operations like addition and subtraction are difficult to learn and can pose as a great challenge to the learners. So, if your child is struggling to cope up with math, don’t just neglect it by thinking he could be an average child or a lazy learner.
How to Identify Dyscalculia
You can identify this by noticing how your child reacts to numbers, if they face difficulty in solving problems then it can be Dyscalculia. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of this learning disorder:
- Have difficulty in recognizing numbers
- Lose track while counting
- Finding it tedious to place numbers or objects in order
- Not being able to correspond digits to words (ex: 5 and Five)
- Struggling with math tests and homework assignments
- Unable to read graphs and charts 7) Having trouble in estimating length, distance, and time
Though Dyscalculia is extremely common between 5 to 7% of elementary school-aged children, it has been known to occur equally in both genders. Having Dyscalculia doesn’t affect the child’s performance in other subjects. The child could be good at English, Geography, and Sciences, but have weak performance only in Math.
Sometimes, it may be so that the child may not be suffering from the Dyscalculia learning disability but may be facing some other condition. Your child may be dealing with other learning problems like:
- Dyslexia: A disability that affects reading and language skills of the person
- Dysgraphia: Having problems with writing, associated with poor motor skills
- ADHD: Excessive Hyperactivity and unable to pay attention or control behavior
- Dyspraxia: Unclear speech, disturbed movement & poor coordination
Helping Kids with Dyscalculia
Once the child knows that he/she is not able to cope with the subject math and is performing poorly as compared to other peers in class, the child may develop insecurities. He may get frustrated if proper guidance and help is not received in time. Alternatively, parents may put pressure on the children, which could affect their mental health further.
If you notice that your child is facing such problems then the first thing is, to take them to a doctor. The doctor will do certain tests and address medical issues if there are any. However, there are no medicines to cure Dyscalculia. You need to also check with the teachers and understand your child’s behavior in math classes.
The most important part is to support your child throughout his journey. Tell them that they shouldn’t compare themselves with others in their class. Try to understand your child’s condition by evaluating their performances in other subjects too. Are they able to learn easily? Can they grasp the study material properly?
Some tips to support your child if he is facing Dyscalculia are:
- Inform the School and ask them to arrange for a special educator. A special educator will work with the child individually after school hours and guide him, give extra practice and channelize the child’s abilities to be better at math. Many IB Schools in Middle East, including GCC Countries, have made provisions to hire a full-time Special Educator on boards, to create an inclusive environment in school and give equal opportunities to children suffering from any of the learning disabilities such as Dyscalculia, or ADHD etc.
- Present right tools to the child, to help ease the fear of math. For example: set a timer or alarm through the day so that the child isn’t lost and knows its time for next the task at hand. Give the child extra blank sheets and draw columns for doing rough work to arrive at the answer.
- Extra tutoring always helps. Find a loving, patient, and warm tutor who bonds with the child and increases his confidence for numbers.
- Introduce the learners to Math Apps which aim at teaching the subject in a fun and interesting manner. This will ease out the stress of studies, and instead children will start enjoying solving number problems and undertaking math calculations.
Mathseeds is one such popular Math App that believes in making learning a fun experience for all the students. Mathseeds teaches kids aged 3-9 the core math problems and problem-solving skills that are needed to perform well at school. It also gives rewards to the students who do well. It brings highly structured lessons and motivational elements together; this goes a long way in helping children perform better, and create a positive feel-good factor for children with Dyscalculia. This App is available for download across the world, including Dubai and all over UAE.
And finally, don’t be too hard on your kids. We are aware about the story of the famous – Albert Einstein and how he suffered in early childhood years for being a slow learner and unable to speak. But that did not deter his spirits and he went on to achieving great feats in life.