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Math Help for Students with Learning Disabilities

Mar 7, 2008
Many struggling math students have been diagnosed with a specific learning disability. Some of them share this diagnosis with their math tutors and math teachers in a matter-of-fact way and others believe that tried and true methods will better "reach" them in their disabled state.

Although there are various schools of thought on this issue, as well as whole schools devoted to working with students based on a physiologically or emotionally based diagnosis, it is often best to deal with students in a multisensory environment.

Multisensory learning enables students of diverse strengths and weaknesses to experience a powerful tool. Traditional classroom learning requires that students be quiet and not move while learning large bodies of patterns such as multiplication tables. Children learn geometric shapes and conceptual patterns and spatial relationships almost entirely without movement. Using manipulative tools is not uniform and it is often limited to non-instructional time.

Although much time and money has been spent researching learning disabilities in the area of language, little conclusive research is available in the area of general math skills. Math tests require a variety of conceptual and cognitive skills and no single test can pinpoint a deficit which can be alleviated through a specific intervention or technique.

Often, using diagnoses to approach working with a person who has difficulty in math is counterproductive. Mathematics is a rubric which covers many diverse skills and abilities, form language to organization to sequencing to classification and beyond. Some students hope that when they divulge their diagnosis, a math teacher or math tutor will know exactly how to help them. However, even with established research in other areas of diagnosed disabilities there is much which can only be learned in the practical here-and-now of working with the individual student.

The vast majority of students with learning problems are those who find it hard to remember patterns. This impedes their ability to learn the algorithms of multiplication and division. These students often find it hard to recall multiplication tables. Some of them are so motivated that they devise their own methods of remembering these factoids and patterns.

There is help for many students with difficulties in math - also called "dyscalculia," a vague but clinical-sounding name for difficulties in the general area of mathematical skills. It's important to keep in mind that diagnosis implies a scientific approach to problems. It often is not. Sometimes the solution lies in rolling up one's sleeves and doing what intuitively feels right.
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Math Made Easy provides Math help for Algebra help, Geometry help, math homework help using math online tutorial services and math tutorial cd so you can watch your math scores soar.
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