Helping Students with Dyscalculia Thrive As Mathematicians

Dyscalculia is a learning disability that mirrors dyslexia. Students with dyscalculia struggle to learn basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems via rote memory and traditional teaching methods. Dyscalculia does not mean “dumb at math”.  In fact, I am thinking of one recent student who now enjoys math and consistently earns A’s.

What can help these students make the big leap?

One solution is to teach elementary math equations with narrative and visual aids. To do this, develop a cartoon character with a unique personality for each number, 1 through 10, then develop stories for each of the challenging equations. Make sure that each number’s personality remains consistent  throughout the  equation stories.  Simplify each written story into an illustrated story picture on an index card.  Create a deck and use these with your student. Watch how quickly they learn the troublesome equations and speed up their answer time.


Explore one of the Math The Fun Way kits at .

City Creek is an excellent vendor of math education tools made fun!

If you have questions or comments, please email me to let me know how useful or educational this blog was for you and your family.  Happy Holidays!


Motivational Theory For Our Brain

It appears to be generally accepted that as infants, we absorb vast amounts of stimuli and information, with our brains far more active than they are as adults. Furthermore, it is a common belief that as we grow up our brains begin to edit our perceptual experiences. This appears to be associated with the development of individual identity and the need to concentrate on prioritized tasks. Without this eliminative ability, we would all be overwhelmed by our daily experiences.

Let us assume that the ability to absorb all personal experience and remember it remains with us, but that the brain’s task of editing continues as well. How could a belief in such juxtaposed and fantastic theories help us as lifelong learners?

If we believe that people can absorb all experience and remember it, then we may form a stronger belief in our personal ability to grow in this direction. If we also believe that our brains have worked most of our lives to narrow our awareness and memory – largely for our own sanity – then we may develop an even stronger inspiration for personal growth.

Essentially, instead of asking ourselves, “what mental workout must I do to improve my ability to take in and remember more information?” we now ask, “how do I get my brain editor to relax, so that I may take in more information and remember it?” This question may be much more inviting than one which requires a belief in mental weight-lifting in order to achieve the same goal.

Let me know what you think. Share your own theories.