Understanding and addressing the struggles a student with dyscalculia faces both within and outside of the classroom can be difficult, for both the parent and child! Often, children cannot verbalize the specific support they need and parents without learning disabilities cannot understand what it feels like to be in their child’s shoes. Here are a few tips for working with your child to highlight his or her strengths and navigate daily life more easily with dyscalculia.
1. Help for Dyscalculia Tip #1: Emphasize Strengths Rather Than Focus on Weaknesses
Working hard towards improvement with your child is important, but if you only focus on what they are struggling with, they may feel like they are defined by their struggle. Look for your child’s strengths in other areas; things like, “You did a great job of blending colors to paint the sky, you have a lot of artistic talent” or “I saw you help that little kid on the slide, you have a very kind heart.” Give concrete examples of their strengths; it will help them view themselves as an achiever, not a failure.
2. Help for Dyscalculia Tip #2: Take Breaks When Necessary
Recognize that your child will struggle with things outside of academics—spatial orientation, directions, reading maps and clocks, tying shoes and counting change can be a struggle to get the hang of for children with dyscalculia. If you see them getting frustrated, suggest that you take a 15-minute break to do something fun, like drawing, taking a walk together or throwing the ball around. Sustained frustration will not help them learn or help you assist them, but a positive interaction between you can help foster the feeling that you are working together as a team to tackle their learning disability.
3. Help for Dyscalculia Tip #3: Make the Abstract as Concrete as Possible
Many people with dyscalculia are able to better function and understand concepts when they are concrete and tangible. It can be helpful to use counting aids like cubes and rods or coins, draw out concepts whenever possible so that your child can see them on paper or go on trail walks and ask them to count things around them, like certain types of plants or animal tracks. You can provide an interactive, real-world way to better grasp quantity, counting and numbers while having fun with it.
Working with your child’s strengths and understanding areas that need improvement can help them feel more secure and supported as they navigate the world with dyscalculia. Both inside and outside of the classroom, your support and guidance will set them up for success.
If your child struggles with learning or has been diagnosed with a Learning Disorder, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.