The Dyscalculator: An App That Helps Dyscalculics Calculate

A guest article from Elisheva Seeman the creator of the Dyscalculator.

I first became aware of Dyscalculia when I noticed that my friend couldn’t read numbers. I couldn’t understand why she would always ask the people around her to tell her what number was written down, or why she would repeatedly ask what time someone said they were picking her up. When I realised how much Dyscalculia affected her on a daily basis, and how much it caused her to struggle in so many areas, I decided to find her an app or website to do the calculations for her. I figured that she was not the only one with this issue – surely someone must have developed a program to help with that.


I was wrong – all the apps I found when searching were geared towards teaching math, as opposed to offering tools to help people. So, I decided to create an app specifically to help her with numbers – and she loved it! She used it every day in different ways, and it really built up her confidence and helped her become less reliant on other people.

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Awareness of Dyscalculia through CPD work


Written by Natalie Kerslake B.A (Hons), MA Ed SEND
KS2 Teaching Assistant


Photo by Crissy Jarvis on Unsplash

A bit about me

My name is Natalie Kerslake B.A (Hons), MA Ed SEND, and I am a primary school teaching assistant, currently teaching in Year 6, with a particular interest in supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities. In January 2016, I graduated with my MA Education with specialism in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at the University of Derby,

I became motivated to complete my MA Ed research on dyscalculia after supporting a child with this in my first teaching assistant post. I did not know anything about dyscalculia myself at the time and not much was available to support teachers and children in this area. I wanted to investigate the current situation as to supporting children with dyscalculia in one particular primary school and see whether this was the case in another school.

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Dyscalculia in the Workplace

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

If your dyscalculia was undiagnosed until adulthood or perhaps you’re still undiagnosed, it is possible that you have gravitated towards a career that doesn’t involve maths. But no matter how often you need to do equations or handle numbers on a daily basis, simple accommodations can help you to perform your job to the best of your ability.

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Hands Up! Why We Should Promote Visual Arithmetic

Photo by bady qb on Unsplash

It is well known that schools tend to put mental arithmetic skills above the visual ones, as something like counting with your fingers is seen as a weakness in one’s calculation abilities. Educators and scientists have been tackling this obsolete cliché with research and scientific reports that seem to prove that visual aids are more than just helpful in the learning process.

Indeed, visual aids, such as the use of fingers, have a key role in children’s understanding of mathematics. This form of visualisation gives the abstract world of numbers a real side and establishes a connection to something tangible. This results in the creation connections from the prefrontal cortex (main memory / data centre) to the visual and motor cortex. Thus, when visual aid is used, thinking becomes outsourced to other brain areas generating a more efficient use the brain’s capacity.

However, these findings do not mean that you child will forever use their fingers to count. Over time a mental image of the fingers will become connected to the mental processes of counting, making the physical counting unnecessary. This is proven by numerous studies with primary school children that measured increased activity in the visual cortex while children were solving complex math tasks, even when they did not use their hands.

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Dyscalculia Resources For Those Going To High School

Now I’m sure every parent goes through the stressful shift from primary school to high school and the fears of this change being to much for their child, but there is extra pressure for those with children that have learning difficulties. This is because there will always be a difference between the support your child received at primary school and what’s available at the high school. So we have prepared a list of recommended resources that are suitable for this transition period and for supporting your child throughout their time in high school.


  1. ‘TES’ is always a good place to look for any resource you may need, but this collection is also especially for those with dyscalculia. These are not just for teachers; they are useful for those homeschooling or even just that little bit of extra after school or weekend boost for your child.


  2. ‘Helping With Math’ is another good site for all your mathematical resources, this site is especially great because of the huge collection of exercises available for free, and while the resources may not be the most beautiful, they are extremely useful.


  3. ‘Dybuster Calcularis’ learning software lays a secure foundation for mathematics and is suitable for use at home and school. It represents a unique way of assisting the brain in essential learning and maturation processes and helps tackle mathematical anxieties and dyscalculia, best of all you can try it out for free here.


  4. ‘Overcoming Difficulties with Number: Supporting Dyscalculia and Students Who Struggle with Maths’This little maths book with CD is highly recommended and seems to be just the ticket for anyone interested in homeschooling, even though it is not free.


  5. ‘Dyscalculia Screener and Guidance, Helping you Identify Pupils with Dyscalculic Tendencies’ This for the professionals out there: teachers, assessment coordinators and SENCOs. It is an ideal tool used for screening an entire year group and comes with a handbook full of practical tips and guidance.


  6. ‘IPSEA’ (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) is full of resources of all kinds to help families get the right education for their children and it’s the perfect place to get advice whether you have problems with schools or disability discrimination.

Dyscalculia: After The Diagnosis

If you or your child have just been diagnosed with dyscalculia, the first question you might ask is: “So now what?”

We’ve put together a list of online resources that can help guide you through the post-diagnosis phase. Ready?

Let’s start the journey:


Quick overview

If you need some quick guidance on what to expect and what steps to take, have a look this resource from Understood: My Child Was Just Diagnosed With Dyscalculia Now What?

The article takes the reader through nine steps on what do after a child has been diagnosed with dyscalculia. From exploring therapies to liaising with schools, to how to talk to the child itself, the article provides concrete tips on these and more issues.

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Top 10 Best Back to School Resources for Teachers

Photo by Megan Soule on Unsplash

School is here and its not just the students who need to prepare for their return its also the teachers! So Dybuster has compiled a helpful list of the top ten online resources for all you educators out there enabling you and your students to have a great start to the year.

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Beat the Back to School Anxiety!

Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

So school begins again for a lot of children around the world and we would like to help them be prepared and gain confidence in their abilities before school starts! This article is mainly targeted for those that have difficulties with maths, but I’m sure everyone will find it useful to warm up those brains.

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Back To School: Numberphile

Now we have written about Numberphile before and its page on dyscalculia with Professor Brian Butterworth of University College London discussing how dyscalculia manifests itself, the signs of dyscalculia, and current research on the topic. It’s a great introduction to and overview of dyscalculia, so take a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

Today we are going to introduce you to a few videos which can get your children prepared and their brains warmed up for going back to school!

The first of the videos is perhaps more suitable for a person at high school level as it involves some algebra, but in saying that the video is very fun and entertaining with some animations helping to describe the maths and theory making it clear and interesting for younger ages.

  1. Catching Money (Reaction Times)

 

The second video is a series of fun magic tricks, which is a great activity you can try at home using a strip of paper, two rubber bands and two paper clips. Certainly a great way to show off to your friends and educational!

2. Perplexing Paperclips

 

In at number three, save time on your school mornings by learning this little mathematical trick to tying your shoelaces ultra quick!

3. Super-fast way to tie Shoelaces

Dyscalculia & Maths Resources For Adults

It can be difficult to find much about or for adults on the subject of dyscalculia, previously we had a guest post from educator Sarah Jarvis covering the topic of Helping Adults with Mathematical Learning Difficulties, which is a great introduction to the subject if you have not read it yet.

We have decided to dig deeper on the subject and find more resources and more ways of overcoming this difficulty with maths and here it is:

Firstly its good to get yourself mentally prepared for the task of challenging your mathematical difficulties so please keep in mind these four things:

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