Is your child always uncomfortable, nervous or develops cold feet when dealing with anything related to numbers? Example basic counting,finding place values of numbers, understanding simple mathematical formulaes and equations, word problems, etc.Though we all know that some children struggle with Arithmetic ,which is understandable but in a situation where this becomes so critical that the child blanks out immediately they see numbers, then we are staring at DYSCALCULIA in the eyes.
WHAT IS DYSCALCULIA?
Dyscalculia is a mathematical learning disorder, where by a child finds it hard to comprehend Mathematics. They lack the basic inherent skills to succeed in numerical related subjects. Some researchers or Educational Psychologists call this disorder Mathematics dyslexia.
SIGNS OF A CHILD WITH DYSCALCULIA:
They find counting of numbers at an early age extremely difficult they tend to skip numbers randomly
Difficulty at telling the time from the face of analogue clock
Problem in knowing the right amount of change to collect when sent on an errand relating to money.
Difficulty in comprehending any kind of mathematical steps or procedures
Simple addition ,subtraction or division of numbers is ardous example 3+5
They barely can comprehend mathematical formulaes or equations
Mathematical word problems are like puzzles from Mars.
Difficulty in understanding mathematical graphs.
Nervousness when the math teacher walks into the classroom.
Child finds solace in non mathematical related subjects eg writing, speech work and other arts related subjects.
A TYPICAL SCENERIO
During the years, I had spent as a teacher, I have seen some parents always move their wards from school to school at the end of every session, hoping to get a school that would permanently “cure their child’s Math related ailment”. Most at times the child’s performance in arithmetic is always so poor at the end of the session compared to other non Math related subjects where the the child does exceptionally well.Parents tend to put the blame on the teachers and the school generally for their child’s poor performance in this subject.
I have a friend who is presently a lawyer,he once confided in me that he chose the career path because he had had phobia for mathematics since childhood. Right from his elementary stage at school all through to High school, that any time he saw his Math teacher,he always developed a High Blood Pressure(H.B.P).He never understood anything,even as simple as Place Value in Maths but the reverse was always the case in other non math related subjects ,which he always had good grades. So many children are going through this phase and many Adults have tasted this same bitter pill with not the slightest awareness of DYSCALCULIA.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF DYSCALCULIA
Experts cannot actually tell the root cause of Dyscalculia, but have some ideas to what might be the factors that might predispose the occurrence of DYSCALCULIA
(i)GENES:For example if a parent struggled with mathematics during his school days,the possibility of parent transferring these genes to their children is high
(ii)BRAIN DAMAGE: Brain injury can also be a major factor of DYSCALCULIA in children
(iii)BRAIN FORMATION/DEVELOPMENT: Children with dyscalculia,have a brain that is a bit different in structure to a normal brain. The area of the brain that does calculation cannot calculate properly or handle numerical problems.
HOW TO HELP CHILDREN FIGHT DYSCALCULIA
We all know the importance of Mathematics in Academic curriculum worldwide and even in our everyday lives. That is why parents always frown, when they find out that their kids are not thriving in this area at school.They tend to look for ways to curb this problem. We are going to look at some ways on how to help children fight dyscalculia;
THE PARENT :
GET A MATH TUTOR FOR YOUR CHILD:You can get a math tutor for child,if you discover the child has dyscalculia.
MEET AND WORK WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER:When you meet and work with your child’s teacher,you tend to get lasting solutions to curb this problem.
HELP CHILD OR SUPERVISE THEIR HOMEWORK:Learn to supervise your child’s math homework at home .
REFRAIN FROM SHOUTING OR SCOLDING WHEN THEY MAKE ERRORS:Always be patient and correct kids with love.
ALWAYS ENCOURAGE AND BE THERE FOR THEM:Make children understand that your always there for them.
DON’T COMPARE THEM WITH OTHER CHILDREN:Dont make them loose their self confidence and self esteem by constantly comparing them with other kids.dysgraphia-in-children
HELP YOUR CHILD IDENTIFY STRENGTHS IN OTHER SUBJECTS AND ENCOURAGE THEM: help child discover his strength in other subjects and help them to develop them.
ALWAYS STAY POSITIVE AND PRAY FOR YOUR KIDS.
THE TEACHER :
MAKE MATH CLASS FUN:For younger children,use mathematics games to help kids overcome their phobia or fear. For grown up kids, games could also be used and other hands on learning activities and projects.
CLASSWORK SHOULD NOT BE TOO VOLUMINOUS: When classwork or home work is too much,it tends to become overwhelming for a child with dyscalculia.Classwork should be broken down into portions
HOME WORK SHOULD ALWAYS BE AN EXTENSION OF WHAT WAS TAUGHT IN CLASS:Maths home work,as much as possible should always be an extension of what was taught during the school hours to aid better understanding
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE,MAKE SURE THESE CHILDREN DON’T LOSE THEIR SELF CONFIDENCE IN CLASS:help kids with dyscalculia build self confidence so that they don’t break down when they feel they are not doing well.
ALWAYS STAY POSITIVE AND PRAY FOR YOUR PUPILS/STUDENTS.