I can remember it was like yesterday the day my grade ten math teacher saying she was so proud of me for getting perfect on a math quiz. I was so happy because I struggled in math and till that point I never got perfect on a math test.
I know you are thinking what's the big deal. Hey a win is a win an I will celebrate it.
Although math is not my strongest subject in school for many other individuals doing simple calculations, mental math is a big hurdle for them. Often the discussion on learning disability (LD) centres around literacy skills, few people are aware that there are leading disabilities that impact math skills.
Dyscalculia, is the a learning disability that impacts and individuals ability to do math calculations. Characterize by the difficulties of making sense of numbers and math concepts.
What are the signs and symptoms of dyscalculia or a learning disability in math?
A person with a math learning disability may show the following signs:
Difficulty in learning to count.
May still use fingers to out although other methods and approaches have been taught
Trouble understanding math concepts ex. Greater than or less than
Difficulty in comprehending charts and graphs
Problems transferring math skills to real life situations
Avoids games that involve numbers
The signs and symptoms will vary from person to person. Also it is important to note that the presence of any of these signs does not automatically indicate a person has dyscalculia. It you suspect someone you love may have a learning disability and need help, contact a professional on the next steps.
How can you help support someone with a dyscalculia?
Always be a positive support: There can be a lot of frustration in learning to over come learning challenges with a learning disability. It is important that individuals with a LD have a safe space to express their frustration, fears and any emotions that arise during the journey. Sometimes all we need is an ear to listen.
Seek professional help and guidance: Because schools are required to implement Individual Education Plans for students with exceptional needs, they are usually the first stop, but do not let it be your last. There are resources and systems of support outside school that will be vital in the journey to an individuals success. This could be, private tutors, specialized professionals, assistive technology etc.
Make a plan and take action: Being proactive is critical for the success of exceptional thinkers. It is not only important to plan for the now but for the future as well. Think about what are the skills and academic milestone the student will be pursuing. Is the student in middle school move to high school? Think about how to prepare them for the demands of high school? How do we prepare for grade 9 math? It is never too early to start planning for the future.
Having a learning disability in math simply means a person processes numbers differently. Regardless it is important to encourage them to push through and keep building their math skills. There are #NoLearningLimits to what a person can achieve.