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My Experience of Teaching Children With Math Disability or Dyscalculia

My Experience of Teaching Children With Math Disability or Dyscalculia

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Published by Frank Ho
A few years back, I started to teach some children as young as 4 or 5 years old and I noticed that some of them seem to have tremendous difficulties in doing math when compared to their similar age group of children. I started to do some research and then found out some of them having the signs of dyscalculia. I compared the problems they encountered to the reported symptoms described in the research papers and found the descriptions in most of the research papers published so far were not detailed enough and also no remediation worksheets were suggested. I had headaches in teaching these dyscalculia children, so I started to document their problems and how I tackled their problems because I was interested in finding a way to help these struggling children and their frustrated parents. I made progresses and also have gained many insights in teaching these children and also produced a workbook based on my teaching experiences with those dyscalculia children to help pre-k and kindergarten children to overcome their math learning problems.
A few years back, I started to teach some children as young as 4 or 5 years old and I noticed that some of them seem to have tremendous difficulties in doing math when compared to their similar age group of children. I started to do some research and then found out some of them having the signs of dyscalculia. I compared the problems they encountered to the reported symptoms described in the research papers and found the descriptions in most of the research papers published so far were not detailed enough and also no remediation worksheets were suggested. I had headaches in teaching these dyscalculia children, so I started to document their problems and how I tackled their problems because I was interested in finding a way to help these struggling children and their frustrated parents. I made progresses and also have gained many insights in teaching these children and also produced a workbook based on my teaching experiences with those dyscalculia children to help pre-k and kindergarten children to overcome their math learning problems.

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Published by: Frank Ho on Mar 05, 2013
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My experience of teaching childrenwith math disability or dyscalculia
Frank Ho
HoMath Chess
Learning CentreVancouver, Canadawww.mathandchess.comJanuary, 2013
A few years back, I started to teach some children as young as 4or 5 years old and then I noticed that some of the seem to havetremendous difficulties in doing math when compared to theirsimilar age group of children. I started to do some researchesand then found out some of them having the signs of dyscalculia.I compared the problems they encountered to the reportedsymptoms described in the research papers and found thedescriptions in most of the research papers published so far werenot detailed enough and also no remediation worksheets weresuggested. I had headaches in teaching these dyscalculiachildren, so I started to document their problems and how Itacked their problems and also then I was interested in finding away to help these struggling children and their frustratedparents. I made progresses and also have gained many insights inteaching these children and also produced a workbook based onmy teaching experiences with those dyscalculia children to helppre-k and kindergarten children to overcome their math learningproblems.This article is to summarize all of the last 4 years of teachingexperience of dyscalculia children by reporting my observationsand also offer some suggestions on how to help them. To helpparents or educators understand dyscalculia, I feel we must
 
understand what is dyscalculia and what sings might tell us if achild has dyscalculia, and the most important is .what we can doabout it.
What is dyscalculia?
There are many different views on how dyscalculia shall bedefined. A neuroscientist might define it from the scanning result
of a child’s brain, a psychologist might define it from the result
of psychometric test, and a math educator might define it as aresult of a math ability test. Most parents would think theproblem of not meeting an expected level is not a problembecause their children are too young.As a math educator, my interest is to observe and to find outwhat I can do about it.
When can dyscalculia happen?
Some children may experience dyscalculia as young as 4 or 5 years old or even younger. They had experienced tremendousdifficulties in learning meth and it was a challenge for me also toteach them. Dyscalculia could also persist to older children likegrade 7 and after this, the symptoms start to appearunnoticeable to parents since they are allowed to use calculatorsbut could be detected by very experienced math tutors bywatching and examining their calculation steps, the most troublearea is when they have to do calculations backward such asfinding factors or square root when a calculator is not allowed.Another sign is they never seem to be able to keep or get Aregardless how much effort the math tutor has put in. This groupof children has more trouble in solving word problems althoughtheir computational skills may be alright.
 
Symptoms of dyscalculia
Some signs of dyscalculia or math disabilities are as follows:1. WritingSome dyscalculia children have problems in writing correctnumbers and counting numbers so right from the start theyalready experience difficulties before getting into computationssuch as simple additions or subtractions.They cannot distinguish curve and straight lines when writingnumbers. For example some children are confused about 2 and 3because they are not sure if 2 has one half circle or two halves ofa circle.2. Reciting and Counting.They cannot recite numbers fluently forward and can only recitefrom number 1. They cannot count backwards from 10 to 1correctly or correctly saying the correct words.Even they can do 1 + 1 is 2 and all the sudden a few minutes later,they might give the incorrect answer 1 + 1 = 1. They onlyunderstand when objects are used when doing additions and whenthe objects are removed then they may have problems to getcorrect answers. So by observing them, I feel that it is veryimportant we train them in reasoning and try to get them tounderstand the reasons behind all answers.

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