Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts.
Individuals with dyscalculia may struggle with basic arithmetic, understanding time, using money, or even playing games that involve numbers.
As we always reiterate, it is not a reflection of a child’s overall intelligence but rather a specific area in which they need additional support.
As parents and caregivers, understanding and addressing the challenges faced by a child with dyscalculia at home is crucial for their development and confidence.
In this guide, we will share advice, based on our extensive experience, on how to help a child with dyscalculia at home.
Understanding The Difficulties Your Child Is Facing
Firstly, it is essential to understand what dyscalculia is and how it can affect your child.
This is especially important if you have no experience of the condition yourself.
Unlike a general difficulty with mathematics, dyscalculia is a brain-based condition that makes it hard to make sense of numbers and math concepts.
Some liken it to the math equivalent of dyslexia.
It’s important not to confuse a child’s difficulty with math with laziness or a lack of effort; dyscalculia is a recognised learning difficulty.
If you’d like to learn more about the signs and symptoms, we’ve developed a dyscalculia guide here to help you know what to look out for.
Our Top Tips On How To Help A Child With Dyscalculia At Home
Below, we’ll share advice on supporting your child with dyscalculia at home.
One of the key steps in helping a child with dyscalculia is to create a supportive environment at home.
This includes being patient and understanding of their challenges. Avoid expressing frustration or disappointment in their difficulties with numbers.
Instead, focus on their efforts and progress, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can significantly improve a child’s confidence and willingness to engage with numbers and math.
Further reading: How To Teach Math To A Child With Dyscalculia
Practical Strategies To Support A Child With Dyscalculia
In terms of practical strategies, there are several effective ways to assist children with dyscalculia – these include:
Using Visual Aids
Children with dyscalculia often benefit from seeing numbers and math concepts in a visual format.
This can include using blocks, counters, or visual representations of problems.
Visual aids make abstract concepts more concrete and understandable.
The tactile component of blocks and counters can also be a big help.
If you don’t have blocks or counters at home, you can use other materials. Buttons, beads and straws can all be used to help visualise math problems.
Incorporating Math Into Your Daily Routine
As parents, we can find ways to incorporate math into everyday life.
This could be through cooking, shopping, or even playing games that require counting or using numbers.
These activities allow children to practice math in a real-world context, making it more relevant and less intimidating.
Often, children don’t even realise they’re working on their maths skills as they’re spending valuable time with the people they love most.
Focusing On Understanding Instead Of Memorising Facts
Children with dyscalculia often struggle with memorising facts like multiplication tables.
To combat this, we can focus on teaching them the underlying concepts and why things work the way they do in math.
This foundational understanding can help build their confidence and ability to tackle math problems.
This can be a powerful tactic for children with dyscalculia.
Try to break down math instructions into smaller, manageable steps. This can help make math problems less overwhelming and easier to understand.
And encourage your child to ask questions and to make sure they understand what you’re getting them to do.
Encouraging A Growth Mindset And Celebrate Successes
We recommend encouraging your child to have a growth mindset – believing that ability can be developed through dedication and hard work.
This perspective encourages a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Celebrate hard work and all successes, no matter how small.
This can boost your child’s confidence and motivate them to keep trying, even when it’s challenging.
Making Use Of Supportive Technology And Apps
There are many educational apps and software designed to help children with dyscalculia.
These tools often use games and interactive activities to teach math concepts in a fun and engaging way.
Some examples of apps you can try include:
- Prodigy Math Game
- Monster Math
- Times Tables / Multiplication
- Elmo Loves 123s
- Moose Math
- Kids Telling Time (Lite)
- Marble Math Junior
Some of these math apps and games are super fun, so it won’t feel like a chore for your child as they work on their skills.
Working Closely With Their School
Collaboration with your child’s school is crucial – we really can’t state this enough.
Ensure that your child’s teacher is aware of your child’s dyscalculia and discuss any special accommodations or support they can provide.
This might include extra time on exams, the use of calculators, or one-on-one tutoring.
Seeking Professional Help If Needed
If you are struggling to help your child, consider seeking advice from a professional.
This could be a special education teacher, a psychologist, or another professional experienced in dealing with learning difficulties.
And remember – there’s no shame in asking for help.
Our Final Word
Helping a child with dyscalculia at home can be a really rewarding journey.
It involves patience, understanding, and employing specific strategies that cater to their unique learning needs.
By creating a supportive environment, using practical tools, and working closely with educators and professionals, parents can play a crucial role in their child’s math learning journey.
Remember, every child’s experience with dyscalculia is different, and what works for one child may not work for another.
The key is to remain patient, persistent, and positive, ensuring that your child feels supported and encouraged every step of the way – you’ve got this!
If you have any questions about arranging a dyscalculia assessment for your child, you can contact us here or call us on 01633 439 220.