When children struggle with math, they may feel that they are not smart. This feeling of intellectual inferiority can take down your children’s self-esteem. It is therefore crucial as parents to find out how your children are doing with their math subjects and determine whether or not they will need maths tutoring.
Why do some children have trouble with math?
A 2005 survey showed that school children consider Math as the hardest subject. Why do children find math difficult? Is it a matter of genetics? In the 2015 TIMSS results, Australia ranked 28th out of 49 participating countries. TIMSS results further showed that only 9% of Australian students achieved the Advanced international benchmark, while 70% of Australian students could reach only the intermediate international benchmark. Results also showed that 30% of Australian students could reach only below the international benchmark for mathematics.
Although there are a lot of students that fail in math because of poor study habits and laziness, some students may find their difficulties being caused by a more profound brain disorder known as Dyscalculia.
What is Dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a learning disability much similar to dyslexia but is more focused on mathematical abilities rather than letters. Dyscalculia impairs students’ abilities to process numbers and recall mathematical concepts. Children with Dyscalculia have a different way of thinking. This thinking difference will make it hard for them to understand math concepts even if they work and study very hard for the subject.
Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that has a deep physiological root cause and must not be mistaken for math anxiety. Math anxiety is also a learning disability in math but is more of a psychological and emotional nature. Math anxiety makes students less confident in their abilities to answer math problems even if they have the intellectual capabilities to answer them correctly.
How Do You Determine If Your Child Has Problems with Math?
It is not easy identifying which children are suffering from Dyscalculia and math anxiety since there may be math topics that even healthy children may find hard to understand. However, children suffering either from dyscalculia or math anxiety will struggle a lot more when compared to other kids of the same age. Here are some signs that your children may be suffering from math learning disabilities:
During Preschool. Children who are too behind in the competencies of counting and arranging numbers even after other children could already master them. Children who cannot connect the name of the number with the correct number symbol.
During Grade School. Children who are having trouble recalling basic mathematical facts and still use fingers to count instead of using mental math.
During Middle School and High School. Students who struggle in understanding math concepts, such as commutative and inverse properties. Students who are having trouble budgeting money, reading charts, and graphs.
What Should You Do?
Children with math anxiety may share the same signs of difficulty with children with Dyscalculia. It is also possible for a child to have both dyscalculia and math anxiety. It is therefore vital to detect these signs early so that you can respond in the best way possible. If you see your little one struggling with math, it is best to dig deeper to the root of his or her difficulties. Using maths tutoring services will enable your child to understand math better in the privacy of your own home. It will help lessen, if not eliminate, the math anxiety of your child as his or her confidence in solving math problems increases.
On the other hand, a maths tutoring expert may be able to discern if your child has Dyscalculia rather than math anxiety and may suggest different ways of responding to your child’s math difficulty.