What is dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a specific difficulty in understanding numbers that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Students with dyscalculia may have difficulties with number sense, understanding and using mathematical concepts, language and symbols, and memorising and applying number facts and procedures. According to the British Dyslexia Association, students may also:
- Have difficulty when counting backwards.
- Have a poor sense of number and estimation.
- Have difficulty in remembering ‘basic’ facts, despite many hours of practice/rote learning.
- Have no strategies to compensate for lack of recall, other than to use counting.
- Have difficulty in understanding place value and the role of zero.
- Have no sense of whether any answers that are obtained are right or nearly right.
- Be slower to perform calculations.
- Forget mathematical procedures, especially as they become more complex, for example ‘long’ division. Addition is often the default operation. The other operations are usually very poorly executed (or avoided altogether).
- Avoid tasks that are perceived as difficult and likely to result in a wrong answer.
- Have weak mental arithmetic skills.
- Have high levels of mathematics anxiety.
What strategies do Forging Roots Education use to help tutor dyscalculic students?
At Forging Roots Education, we thoroughly assess for gaps in your child’s knowledge then carefully plan structured, cumulative steps to address these gaps. We use explicit instruction to teach procedures and strategies and use small numbers when introducing new concepts. We also teach the language of mathematics. We work on patterns, sequencing, and grouping to help counting and understand place value.
Although dyscalculia presents differently in every individual, many are likely to have anxiety and low self esteem around maths. At Forging Roots Education we use multi-sensory teaching strategies that increase motivation and engagement in order to build confidence and decrease frustration levels. We link maths to situations that are familiar and relevant to students and use concrete materials, diagrams, number lines and tracks to reinforce learning. We only remove these concrete materials when your child is secure in their understanding. We allow time for practise, application, consolidation and generalisation.