Students With Dyslexia Solve Math Differently

Students With Dyslexia Solve Math Differently – 4 Strategies That Can Help

Dyslexia may challenge a person’s mathematical abilities, but with the right support, strategies, and a focus on strengths, students with dyslexia can not only learn but excel in mathematics. Teachers, parents, and society as a whole should work to create an inclusive environment that allows individuals with dyslexia to reach their full potential in the field of math. By acknowledging and addressing the challenges while celebrating the strengths, we can build the confidence of these kids so that they will succeed in the world of numbers and problem-solving.  Here are four strategies to help children with dyslexia become successful math learners: 

  • Multisensory Learning: Utilizing a multisensory approach to teaching mathematics can benefit students with dyslexia. This approach involves engaging multiple senses, such as sight, touch, and sound, to enhance learning. Tools like manipulatives that can be held and physically engaged with as well as tactile graphics can make mathematical concepts more engaging  Again, similar to reading instruction for students with dyslexia, explicit and diagnostic teaching tailored to their individual strength and areas of deficit is most beneficial for students with dyslexia.  But that can be challenging to manage in a large classroom setting. 
  • Assistive Technology: Assistive technology tools, including text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, and digital math resources, can help individuals with dyslexia access mathematical content more easily.  These tools will not replace explicit and diagnostic instruction, but they can help students work independently.  
  • Extra Time and Support: Students with dyslexia may benefit from additional time on math assignments and tests. Schools and educators should provide reasonable accommodations to ensure that these students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the material.  And if you are the parent of a child with dyslexia and your child has an IEP, you will want to make sure that accommodations like these are on your child’s IEP so that they get the extra time that they need. 
  • Individualized Instruction: Tailoring math instruction to the specific needs of students with dyslexia is crucial. This may involve breaking down complex problems into smaller, manageable steps and offering frequent feedback and support. Children with dyslexia benefit from 1:1 instruction and working in small groups with teacher supervision.  Independent work can lead to overwhelm if not paired with teacher monitoring.

While dyslexia presents challenges in math, it’s important to acknowledge the unique strengths that children with dyslexia may bring to the subject:

  • Spatial Reasoning: Some individuals with dyslexia have strong spatial reasoning abilities, which can be an asset in geometry and visualizing complex mathematical concepts.  Some children with dyslexia are talented artists and sculptors, both arts that require good spatial reasoning skills.  
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Many people with dyslexia develop excellent problem-solving skills to balance the academic changes they face. These skills can be helpful in solving mathematical problems that require creative thinking.
  • Resilience and Determination: Overcoming dyslexia-related math challenges often builds a strong sense of determination in individuals. These qualities can be a tremendous skill set that is helpful when pursuing advanced math studies and careers.

Strength based learning is vital for students with dyslexia.  They work so hard and school can be a frustrating experience for them.  But, when their explicit and diagnostic instruction is catered to their strengths, they will feel more successful.

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