7 Learning Media for Children with Dyscalculia

One of the compulsory subjects in school is mathematics. Wherever children go to school, these subjects will always be there and cannot be avoided. The purpose of compulsory mathematics lessons is that students will be able to count and apply them in life when they grow up. In general, mathematics consists of the concepts of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication which will get more complicated with the level of education. Not everyone is lucky enough to learn math easily, especially if they don't understand the theory. However, problems in learning mathematics can also be triggered by a disorder that makes it difficult for someone to learn mathematics, known as dyscalculia.

The word dyscalculia comes from the Greek word Dyscalculis which means 'unable to count'. Dyscalculia is also known as "math difficulty" which is a disorder in mathematical calculation skills, which is divided into difficulty in counting and calculating. Children usually show difficulty in understanding mathematical processes, characterized by difficulty learning and doing tasks related to numbers or mathematical symbols. According to Lerner (1998) there is a link between numeracy disorders and the central nervous system. Children will show difficulty in understanding concepts or a series of mathematical processes.

Causes of Dyscalculia

It is estimated that people with dyscalculia make up about 3 to 6 percent of the world with varying levels of IQ. There are several opinions that often associate dyscalculia with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), referring to research that results in a quarter of the dyscalculia sufferers studied also have ADHD. Until now the only explanation why dyscalculia can be experienced by 3 to 6 people out of 100 people is due to genetic factors. Some of the factors that cause dyscalculia that come from within the child are:

The presence of abnormalities in the brain, especially in the junction between the parietal and temporal in the brain.

There is a weakness in the visual process or visualization abilities and spatial disturbances or disturbances in the ability to understand spatial shapes so that children find it difficult to focus on lessons, especially mathematics. Also know the characteristics of dyslexia and the characteristics of children who lack concentration.

Characteristics of dyscalculia

In general, people with dyscalculia are children, but this type of learning disorder in children is not specific for a certain age. Children can be known to have dyscalculia or not when they reach school age, they also usually have a normal IQ, even high enough to exceed the average. Children can follow other lessons that require logic and memorization, can also interact normally. Children with dyscalculia can show various characteristics of children with dyscalculia, such as the following:

  • Difficulty in working on mathematical processes that can be seen from the difficulty of doing tasks with numbers or mathematical symbols.
  • It is difficult to use time concepts such as 'now', 'yesterday', 'was', and so on, difficult to sort past and present. Sometimes disoriented in time and direction, unable to read maps or directions.
  • Lack of understanding the value of units, tens, hundreds and so on.
  • Difficulty focusing on math but able to speak normally, write, read, or verbally, and is able to remember previously read written sentences with good visual memory.
  • Difficulty playing or doing sports related to the scoring system.
  • Always give inconsistent answers when asked questions related to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Having difficulty counting daily transactions when shopping including counting change, being afraid to hold money, avoiding transaction activities or any activities that involve the use of money.
  • It is difficult to understand the number notes in music lessons so it is difficult to understand the notation, the sequence of notes and how to play a musical instrument as well.
  • It is difficult to carry out various mathematical processes such as adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying and it is also difficult to understand the concept of counting numbers or the concept of sequence.
  • Having trouble distinguishing two numbers that are almost the same shape and difficult to use a calculator.
  • Often experience obstacles in calculating numbers, such as performing the substitution process, repeating the reverse, filling in arithmetic series and filling in geometric series.

Learning Media to Overcome Dyscalculia

To overcome the problem of dyscalculia in children is usually done with psychological therapy, but besides that there are various learning media for children with dyscalculia that can be used as follows.

1. Graph Paper

Using graph paper for dyscalculia children is difficult to organize their ideas on paper, because children's creativity is strongly influenced by their imagination skills. Inviting children to express their ideas on graphic paper will make it easier for children to conceptualize what is in their minds. Also know the psychological factors in learning difficulties and the role of psychology in overcoming learning difficulties.

2. Marbles

Using various objects to help solve children's counting problems, for example marbles as learning media for children with dyscalculia. Use marbles to represent numbers and teach children the concepts of division, subtraction, addition and multiplication.

Learning mathematics is often not an easy thing for some children. Parents also often immediately label children who are not good at math as stupid, even though there may be certain disorders that underlie children's difficulties in learning mathematics. By using learning media for children with dyscalculia, children can be helped to learn mathematics in an easy and fun way, which will not make them feel traumatized by mathematics lessons and do not consider themselves low because they are called stupid by others. Because, actually there is no child who can not learn something. All children must have the ability to develop, only it must be realized through the right approach and way and gradually.

Give a variety of concrete examples to the most abstract examples. Learning media for dyscalculia children that can be used for counting methods is fingers. Using fingers to teach children to count has become the most basic and most practical way of learning.

4. Card

Using cards can also be a learning medium for dyscalculia children. Prepare a pack of number cards and use only the numbers one through five. Shuffle and place the five cards face down, and the rest of the cards are placed face down in the lower right corner. Take two cards that add up to the number 6 and say it out loud. Fill the two empty card holders with new cards from the top row and continue until the child has finished the cards that are still face down in the correct order.

5. Games

In several articles it is stated that the most suitable learning media for dyscalculia children is in the form of game applications. The concept of this game was developed by inviting children to recognize letters and numbers and how to distinguish them. Children will also be invited to memorize certain letters and numbers that become their difficulties, answer questions and also count by being given basic math problems. This game application was developed using an analytical methodology for dyscalculia and dyslexic children, looking for concepts that are suitable to be used in making game designs and backgrounds.

6. Color Paper

Colored paper can be a learning medium for dyscalculia children who have difficulty recognizing basic spatial shapes such as circles, triangles, squares and rectangles. The shape of the space can be described on color paper and cut out to introduce the terms in the shape such as center line, distance, length, diagonal. In this way, the concept of 'half' or 'quarter' can also be introduced to children.

7. Math Tables

Multiplication, division, addition or subtraction tables can also be a learning medium for dyscalculia children that will help children visualize numbers and their numbers. Children will find it easier to imagine concrete numbers by looking at these tables and entering them into logical thinking.

Strategies for Educating Children with Dyscalculia

In addition to using learning media for dyscalculia children, it is also necessary to know several new strategies that have been developed to help children learn. Ways that can be done to teach children with dyscalculia include:

  • Provide more concrete examples to ensure a solid understanding of the child before moving on to more abstract material. This will help children with dyscalculia disorders to be able to visualize concepts. Likewise, when giving story questions, use tools that can help children visualize concepts, shapes or patterns.
  • Build a positive self attitude that children can definitely learn math. Avoid sayings that suggest that children really can't learn math because they are descended from father and mother, because actually everyone can learn math to some degree, as well as teach children how to make children understand failure.
  • Visualize each mathematical symbol with simple everyday life examples. For example, equating the minus symbol with the word 'lost' or 'go' so that the number decreases and the plus symbol with 'come' so that the number increases.
  • Inviting children to learn while playing so that they do not feel that math is a scary and difficult subject. A fun way of learning will prevent children from avoiding learning mathematics.
  • Using attractive colors for learning media for dyscalculia children. For example, using different colored pencils to write different mathematical signs or symbols so that children do not get confused in recognizing these symbols.
  • Make the learning atmosphere fun and without coercion to make children feel positive experiences from learning mathematics and not feel bored.

Learning mathematics is often not an easy thing for some children. Parents also often immediately label children who are not good at math as stupid, even though there may be certain disorders that underlie children's difficulties in learning mathematics. By using learning media for children with dyscalculia, children can be helped to learn mathematics in an easy and fun way, which will not make them feel traumatized by mathematics lessons and do not consider themselves low because they are called stupid by others. Because, actually there is no child who can not learn something. All children must have the ability to develop, only it must be realized through the right approach and way and gradually.

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