3 Ways a Parent Can Support a Child With Dyscalculia

Posted on: 2 June 2017

Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that may affect as many as six percent of elementary school students. This disorder causes those affected to struggle with math and numbers. The condition is believed to be caused by an impairment in the brain's parietal lobe. If your child is diagnosed with dyscalculia, the school can make accommodations for them, like allowing them extra time on tests and allowing them to use calculators, charts of math facts, manipulatives, and other tools during classroom learning. However, there are also important things that you can do at home to support your child's math skills.

Homework Help

All children need help with their homework now and then, but children with dyscalculia may need extra attention when doing math homework. Problems with multiple steps can be particularly difficult – plan to spend some time showing your child how to break these problems down into individual steps.

Children with dyscalculia can also become confused by pages of homework that mix word problems and number problems. If the teacher doesn't separate these, it can help if you copy them onto separate sheets of paper for your child. Make sure to talk to your child's teacher about the strategies you're using to help your child at home, as well as what's working for the teacher in the classroom. You may be able to use a strategy that works well in class at home as well, or the teacher may be able to incorporate a strategy that's worked for you at home in the classroom.

Everyday Math

Your child may have difficulty understanding how math relates to everyday life. The more abstract the subject is, the more difficult it will seem. Help your child relate to their math assignments by pointing out examples of real-life math.

Keep a running total of the items in your cart when you grocery shop with your child, and show them how to calculate how much change you'll get back at the register. Have your child use the measuring cups and spoons when you cook and bake together, and experiment with doubling or halving recipes to make larger or smaller amounts. The more chances your child has to experience using math out in the world, the better they'll grasp it.

Fun Math

Another way to help is to incorporate math into your child's play. Playing games that require the players to use math skills can help give your child the extra practice and repetition they need to strengthen their skills without making them feel like they have to do math all the time.

Board games often require some math – young children have to count and do simple math to play games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, while older children can play Monopoly to practice working with bigger numbers. Card games often involve some math. And there are plenty of fun math-based games online or available as apps, for children who enjoy using computers and mobile devices.

It's important to remember that your child isn't being lazy or disobedient – their struggles with numbers are beyond their control. However, with support in the classroom and at home, children with dyscalculia can learn the math skills they need to succeed.