Written by Natalie Kerslake B.A (Hons), MA Ed SEND KS2 Teaching Assistant
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We have dipped into the blog archives to find our content on dyscalculia that has proved most useful to our readers. We’d like to share these articles here as the ones that, going by popularity and response in the comments, resonate the most with our audience. Thank you for reading!
Our top post is a guest post from educator Sarah Jarvis and she covers a topic on which it can be difficult to find in-depth information: adult math learning difficulties. The post lists reasons why adults may be struggling with maths such as poor schooling, maths anxiety and visual stress difficulties, how dyscalculia could remain undiagnosed in many adults and what you can do to help yourself or someone with dyscalculia/maths difficulties.
In at number two: The Famous, The Successful, The Inspiring. Well-known dyscalculics, leading us to think that there is a need for spotlighting dyscalculic role models. Singer Cher and actress Mary Tyler Moore make the list of famous people with dyscalculia.
There is plenty of information on famous dyslexics available but much less on dyscalculics. We try to share examples of success achieved by dyscalculics not only in this post but also in our weekly round-ups. Read more.
This post looks more deeply into the struggles dyscalculics face. A special focus is given to those difficulties caused when a child is dyscalculic but the condition goes unrecognised or misunderstood at home and school. This can lead to deep feelings of anxiety and a lack of confidence in a dyscalculic child. Hopefully as dyscalculia becomes better understood, support and intervention will also increase. Read more.
The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, who is known to have suffered from dyscalculia. The traditional numeral product codes used in most business seemed like a unending nightmare to him. To avoid the challenging typing of numbers in the computer system, he decided to name his products using names! This example shows that dyscalculia does not have to automatically be a hinderance and that the experience of having a disability can also shape innovative approaches to common situations and lead to extraordinary careers. Read More here.
While some dyscalculics receive the support and intervention they need from their teachers and therapists, others struggle with their schools’ lack of resources or awareness. In the latter case, parents of dyscalculic children may consider homeschooling if this is a legal option where they live. This post covers it all read more.