This is a guest article from Special Education Teacher Monise Seward, you can find out more about her work on her website – http://www.moniseseward.com/
For the last 8 months, my IG and Twitter posts have focused on two main goals; find (a) Dyscalculia and Dyslexia training; and (b) Math Apps and/or curriculum designed with my students’ needs in mind. Both proved to be challenging and time-consuming endeavours, eventually I found one.
Dyscalculia is the Learning Disability you’ve probably never heard of, despite the fact that 5-10% of the population has it. Based on the challenges non-identified students experience, I believe there are more kids (and adults) with Dyscalculia. We simply characterize their struggles as ‘Math anxiety’; at least, in this country. Based on conversations had with U.S. teachers, few are aware of the existence of Dyscalculia. They are unable to identify the characteristics exhibited by students who may have it. Compounded by a lack of training on Dyscalculia, many teachers adhere to a pacing guide that does not allow time for remediation or accommodations.
Dyscalculia is a specific developmental disorder defined as difficulty acquiring basic arithmetic skills that is not explained by low intelligence or inadequate schooling. Unsurprisingly, many people with this disorder struggle to manage their finances well enough to build wealth. Seniors with dyscalculia face particular challenges. Dyscalculia does not improve without treatment, and seniors were most likely educated without the awareness of development disorders that has begun to penetrate into the school system in the last few decades. Moreover, these days, financial management often requires the use of technology. Seniors are often less familiar with the technological tools needed and dyscalculia makes it difficult to learn. Here are some tips on financial management when living with dyscalculia.
Stress Management Tips for Seniors with Dyslexia or Dyscalculia
When people talk about dyslexia and dyscalculia, they are usually concerned about how they affect people who are in the developmental stages of life, such as children and adolescents. However, these disabilities can also occur in elderly people. Dyslexia and dyscalculia can make it significantly more difficult for seniors to perform certain activities and live a normal life, resulting in considerable stress and frustration. Here is some useful information on stress management with dyslexia or dyscalculia.
Most children find mathematics interesting and to encourage their interest is simpler than you think, as mathematics is a big part of everyday life. In this article we are offering you some ideas, how to create a playful link between mathematics and daily routine.
Multi-sensory learning helps students approach a subject like spelling or maths through the use of different senses. When playing the Colour Game in Orthograph, Dybuster’s software for children with dyslexia, students associate letters with colours and also with sound. This activates new learning channels in the brain and helps children to map spoken sound to written letters, something that is difficult for dyslexics.
The video below shows the game in action and provides a voice-over guide. You can test the game yourself for free by visiting the Orthograph Trial page. No download is necessary; you can access the program in your browser.
It’s a vicious cycle. When faced with a number problem you are gripped by anxiety or panic. Clearly, these feelings are no good so you go out of your way to avoid number problems as much as possible. This leads to your becoming less and less “good at math” and the feelings of anxiety increase. Round and round you go until your math anxiety has become a fact of life for you.
Research is currently delving into possible causes of and intervention for math anxiety. One article from youcubed at Stanford University reports that timed tests may be responsible for math anxiety in some cases. Other research at the University of Chicago conducted by psychologist Sian Beilock found that math-anxious parents can pass on this anxiety to their children. A first-person account from a New York Times reporter confirmed this, and mentioned as well the enormous effect of teachers can have on a student’s math anxiety. Still, other factors such as stereotype threat can severely and adversely affect students’ performance on math exams. And of course, math learning disabilities such as dyscalculia can result in a child feeling intense anxiety when asked to deal with numbers.
What possibilities exist for breaking out of the cycle of anxiety-avoidance-poor performance? A recent experiment at Stanford University found that one-on-one tutoring alleviated math anxiety in students by using techniques based on exposure therapy. Students faced their fears of math in a supportive environment and gradually those fears lessened. Breathing techniques for older students at university have also been found to be effective. In the case of a learning disability then early intervention can be key in lessening anxiety caused by numbers.
Are you familiar with math anxiety? Can you trace the anxiety to specific causes? What’s your story?