By: Ariana Richard
Some people struggle with writing, others struggle with math. There appears to be no in-between. For me, I struggle with math. I have struggled with math my entire life, and almost every summer since the 2nd grade, I would have to retake the same math course over again. I would go through countless tutors, go to office hours with my teacher, and still, nothing seemed to help. I began to realize early on that this was a problem that could not easily be fixed by tutors. This was a problem that was persistent and needed to be addressed a different way. In the summer of 2016, I was diagnosed with Dyscalculia. I had been diagnosed with ADHD a few years before, and my parents and I soon found out that Dyscalculia is linked to ADHD. The Google definition of dyscalculia is, “having severe difficulty in making arithmetical calculations, as a result of a brain disorder.”
There are a few ways that one can overcome the struggles of dyscalculia. According to Brain Balance, the five ways are:
1. Talk or Write out a Problem
A lot of people who have ADHD, and/or dyscalculia, find that visual learning is a lot easier than verbal learning. It appears best for the student to talk or write out a mathematical problem for them to better understand it.
2. Draw the Problem
When someone who has a learning disorder writes/draws out a mathematical problem, they are more likely to understand how to go about it a lot easier, than figuring it all out in their head.
3. Break Tasks Down into Subsets
It is difficult for someone with dyscalculia to finish a mathematical problem without breaking it down first. For somebody who has a hard time with numbers, more often than not, they end up getting the wrong answer. This is why it is important to break down the problem into separate parts, so that one can more easily understand the path to getting the answer correct.
4. Use “Real-Life” Cues and Physical Objects
Using props such as measuring cups, rulers, or even toys can help ease the stress of a dyscalculic student. Using these types of objects can help one’s mind grasp information much easier than trying to think the numbers out in one’s head.
5. Review Often
Math can be a very difficult subject for some. It requires, in some cases, insight, practice and time to fully understand the mathematical concepts of a problem. For a dyscalculic student, it generally requires a lot more time than the average student. It is necessary for dyscalculic students to try and review mathematical problems every day, and try not to fall behind in general.
It is important for students with dyscalculia to learn how to tackle math in ways that work for them. With dedicated time, help, and courage, dyscalculic students can learn to function when it comes to doing well in their math classes, as well as mastering math in the future.
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