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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6 Ways to Show Faith in Your Child

Accept Your Child’s Emotions

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There isn’t a single piece of research that shows that rejecting, ignoring, dismissing, invalidating, resisting, ridiculing, punishing or attempting to shut down children’s emotions is good for them or for the parent-child relationship. There is, however, decades of research showing just the opposite: that when we accept our children’s feelings and help them organize their emotions by offering our presence, connection, nurturance, understanding, and guidance, they develop into more secure, confident, and socially and academically competent adults who tend to be able to better regulate their emotions and respond with sensitivity to others’ emotions. 

For both kids and adults, having our emotions rejected or dismissed usually leads to the amplification of the intensity of emotion. In kids, “meltdowns” and “tantrums” (emotional dysregulation, stress, and overwhelm) are likely to be more intense and occur for longer when their emotions are rejected rather than accepted. Accepting your child’s emotion and responding with sensitivity, with presence, empathy, and nurturance, can help to soothe and contain your child’s emotion, and help them organize their emotional experience; this process is called ‘coregulation’ and is the foundation required for children to gradually learn to regulate their own emotions. 

‘Oh, but what about when they are engaging in undesirable behavior?’, I hear you say. ‘Should I set limits when they are expressing their emotion in bad behaviors?’ Children can’t effectively or consistently regulate their behavior before they have learnt to effectively regulate their emotion…and let’s be real here, many adults haven’t mastered this skill. Your child is much more likely to be able to regulate their behavior (engage in healthy, adaptive behavior) when they can effectively regulate their emotions, and, for them to be able to regulate their emotions, they need to have their emotions accepted and supported by their caregivers— on this the research is clear. 

Easy Ways to Boost Our Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

We use critical skills every single day to make good decisions, understand consequences of our actions, and solve problems. Now that technology has infiltrated our children’s lives, critical thinking skills are harder to achieve. However, our children still need to be able to think critically even with all the gadgets that they can rely on. If our children can’t think for themselves, how will they function in this complex world? We are all in big trouble if our children lose the ability to think critically. 

It’s up to us to help them develop a critical mindset throughout their childhood. By instilling critical thinking skills from an early age, we will teach our kids how to effectively analyze the world around them. Here are some ways that you can enhance your children’s critical thinking skills at home. 

🔹 Read books for fun 

You can shift this pattern by reading with your children daily and discussing the material with them in ways that will challenge them to think critically. See if they can make connections between the story and their own life. Ask them to use what they have read so far to predict what will happen next. All this practice with fun stories will help them analyze more challenging pieces of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, as they get older. 

🔹 Explore science 

Science experiments and other related activities are fantastic ways to teach children how to think critically because they need to make predictions, evaluate data, and then interpret the scientific facts and findings to relate them to the world around them. 

🔹 Show them how to answer their own questions and evaluate information 

Take advantage of their curiosity to teach them how to look for answers to their questions in a critical way. Provide opportunities for them to speak to people who can provide them direct answers. For example, if they want to know what a fireman does, schedule a trip to the local fire station so your child can learn firsthand how everything works. When your children are doing research online, sit with them and help them find reliable sources.  

Show them the difference between evidence-based information and opinions. Our goal is to give our children the critical thinking skills so that they can spot unreliable sources on their own. It is very important that they know how to question what they read and to evaluate its validity. 

🔹 Build problem-solving skills 

When dealing with conflicts, our children need to use critical thinking skills to understand the problem at hand and to come up with possible solutions. Use games, puzzles, riddles, mystery novels, physical challenges, and other activities to teach them problem solving skills. 

🔹 Force them to memorize basic information 

 In order to exercise your kid’s memory muscle, you can go a bit retro on them. Make sure they know some basic facts by heart like their address and important phone numbers. As they get older, continue to add more facts to this list like relatives’ birthdays, math equations, and state capitals. Also, see if they can give directions from home to school and other places you frequent. 

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

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