Is Abacus Maths Helpful for Dyslexic/Dyscalculic Kids?
It is easy to assume that children with dyslexia will excel at maths, but this is not always the case. The fact that the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein had dyslexia often gives people the impression that all those with the learning difficulty find maths easy. Generally, those with dyslexia do have that unerring ability to see how things connect to create complex systems as well as identifying similarities in numerous things. It is these perceived strengths that are significant when it comes to specific fields such as science and mathematics, in which visual representations are vital.
However, according to the British Dyslexia Association, around sixty per cent of dyslexic people have significant difficulty with maths. Some dyslexic children also suffer from dyscalculia, which is a learning disability that affects numbers and maths. Those who do suffer from dyscalculia have problems understanding the concepts of numbers, facts, and procedures.
What must be mentioned here though is that not all dyslexic children who experience difficulty with maths have dyscalculia. The difficulty for those who do not have dyscalculia is usually language-based, rather than concept-based. Fortunately, there is maths help for dyslexic kids and it comes in the form of abacus maths.
What is Abacus Maths?
The difficulties facing dyslexic children when it comes to learning maths lies in the fact that they have trouble learning and recollecting words, numbers, and formulas. They often find that a problem with multiple steps becomes overwhelming and they will struggle to follow a set of instructions.
It can be difficult for dyslexic kids to process a maths problem quickly enough. This then has the effect that as he or she becomes aware of the length of time being taken, he/she might try to speed up, worrying about falling behind. This could then cause accuracy to suffer and the child possibly being affected by a lack of confidence and self-belief.
Using an abacus has now become instrumental in terms of maths help for dyslexic kids. Here at the British Youth IT College (BYITC) we use a physical abacus tool, finger theory, and mental theory to help make the process of learning maths easier for those with dyslexia.
Most people have seen an abacus and many of them might have actually played with one in primary school, but the use of mental maths has somewhat clouded the fact of how powerful an abacus can actually be. Nevertheless, in terms of maths help for dyslexic kids, the abacus is becoming increasingly popular.
In our case, the abacus is a brain training tool that can help those children with dyslexia to learn how to calculate. It assists in the development of logic and understanding skills while the use of the physical tool helps children solve problems slowly and skilfully. With this ability to approach maths problems with confidence, dyslexic kids become more accurate and quicker, thus improving their own self-belief.
Finger theory is considered the first step in learning how to use the physical abacus tool. Finger theory mimics an abacus and is more than just learning how to count using the ten fingers. With this system, children can learn how to solve complex calculations.
Once dyslexic/dyscalculic children have mastered the use of both the abacus and finger theory, they can then move on to mental maths, which is often the most difficult stage. Nonetheless, visualising the physical abacus in their mind will help them solve maths calculations without any tools.
Giving Dyslexic / Dyscalculic Children the Opportunity to Improve
Abacus maths is a fantastic resource for children with dyslexia or dyscalculia. Not only does it help them to learn how to do maths calculations, but it can also improve their motor skills and memory, giving them the opportunity to generally improve their learning and development.