How Can We Best Support a Child With Dyscalculia? 

How can we best support a child with dyscalculia? 

1. Don’t call attention to their struggle. 

Just be kind, patient, understanding and encouraging with them. 

2. Address math anxiety. 

Students with dyscalculia aren’t the only ones to have math anxiety. Talking openly about this, is a good way to normalize it for every child. If you see a child becoming overwhelmed or flustered, take a quick break to do some stretches or take some deep breaths together as a class.  

3. Use visuals. 

Use manipulatives to represent numbers. You don’t need anything fancy – you can even use paper clips or poker chips. Mix it up occasionally with small treats. 

4. Incorporate number lines. 

The number line is a great visual tool to help all children see relations between and among numbers. Graph paper helps students keep their number lines straight, neat and organized.  

5. Practice in short sessions. 

Practicing in short bursts with the child throughout the day. Even thirty seconds or a minute of quick one-on-one practice a few times a day helps students become more comfortable exploring math concepts.  

6. Allow helpful tools. 

Have items available that make math less intimidating, such as graph paper, pencils, erasers, and calculators. Provide the student with a quiet place to work or allow noise-canceling headphones.  

7. Make it playful. 

Give students time to play board games with dice, dominos and play with coins together. Playing games allows students to practice math skills without realizing it, taking away a lot of anxiety. 

8. Focus on logic and language. 

It is difficult for students with dyscalculia to memorize multiplication tables and recognize numerals. Focus on areas they might be stronger in, such as logic or vocabulary to explain math topics instead of expecting memorization to suddenly just click. Demonstrate real-world applications whenever possible. 

9. Use technology. 

Allow the student to record lectures to watch or listen to again. Email copies of your notes. Encourage students to play math apps and games. 

10. Offer extra support. 

Allowing extra time for tests, use of a calculator or other tools, or shortened homework assignments. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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