A mathematics difficulty can include:
- A problem using understanding, recognising and imaging symbols
- A problem learning maths formulae
- A problem learning multiplication tables
- A problem understanding tables, charts and graphs
- A problem with the concept of number
- A difficulty with maths word problems
- A difficulty with imaging maths concepts
- Maths anxiety
Some groups of students affected by a mathematics difficulty include:
- Dyslexic students
- Students with a non-verbal learning difficulty/disability
- Students with inattentive ADHD (ADD)
- Students with a visual perceptual difficulty
- Students with sequencing problems
- Dyspraxic students
- Anxious students
- Students who have a difficulty rote learning
How can a mathematics difficulty be helped?
Testing for auditory or visual perceptual difficulties may make the reason for the mathematics difficulty clear. Rowena can do this for you. Testing is useful to indicate the primary source of the difficulty.
Physical testing by an Ophthalmologist, or Developmental Optometrist to check on the ability of the eyes to see clearly, converge accurately, and track smoothly is important.
If the eyes see well then a good program stimulating visual perception may help when the maths symbols on the page are not read accurately.
Memory testing may be useful to determine whether the student has difficulties with their Semantic Long-Term Memory for symbols or with their Working Memory.
Memory support and strategies for Working Memory and Semantic Memory are available from Rowena.
There are many good maths remedial programs for Primary-aged students. A non-exhaustive list is given below. It is important to discover the type of difficulty that is creating the maths problem before remediation is begun.
Some programs assist the consolidation of the concept of number, such as Kumon Maths. Some programs focus on remediating maths word programs such as First Aid in Basic Mathematics, by T H MacDonald. Some programs use language to explain and support maths concepts, such as the Jacaranda Maths series. Some programs use pattern recognition to support maths concepts such as: What to Do When You Can’t Learn the Times Tables, by S Chinn, some programs focus on symbol imagery, such as: Seeing Stars by Lindamood/Bell.
If maths anxiety is affecting maths performance then a psychologist with an interest in anxiety may be helpful.