Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dyscalculia: Curriculum Modifications

Peer Tutoring: One of the best ways to help children with dyscalculia.

      Students with dyscalculia are usually enrolled in regular classrooms composed of more or less regular students.  This is because children with specific learning disability such as dyscalculia have more or less the same intelligence as with regular students. And like any other students enrolled in regular classroom setting, they follow the the usual curriculum implemented in schools. Therefore, a dyscalculic student's specialized curriculum  will be in respect with the imposed national curriculum together with its goals and objectives. Curriculum modification will rather be initiated to address her special needs.

      To avoid ambiguity, the term curriculum modification means modifying the contents, instructions, and/or learning outcomes for diverse student needs (National Center on Accessing General Curriculum, 2004). This may be in a form of accommodation, adaptation, parallel curriculum and overlapping curricula. Specifically, to meet the goals and competencies required by RBEC, accommodation and adaptation are the primary modifications made in Julie Ann’s curriculum. Accommodation means modification to the delivery of instruction or method of student performance and does not change the content or conceptual difficulty of the curriculum (King-Sears, 2001). Accommodation is a modification of instructional methods intended to meet individual student’s needs of acquiring necessary input from lessons. The information that students receive remains the same. However, an accommodation to curriculum modifies the way that students acquire and/or respond to the information (National Center on Accessing General Curriculum, 2004). Adaptation on the other hand, is a modification to the delivery of instructional methods and intended goals of student performance that does not change the content but does slightly change the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum (King-Sears, 2001). Adaptation is a goal-driven process: in order to decide on an adaptation to curriculum, intended goals for individual students must first be specified.

Accommodations and Adaptations

Part of programs and interventions essential to address the needs of a dyscalculic child is modifying the usual curriculum given to a regular class. These considerations are made to address the drawbacks and hindrances brought about the condition as well as to provide the best learning possible.

Accommodation and adaptation are the key modifications made for this condition. In accommodation, the content and the difficulty presented by the curriculum remains the same. What is being modified is the delivery of instruction or method of student performance that modifies the way that students acquire and/or respond to the information Adaptation is much likely the same with accommodation but does slightly change the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum (King-Sears, 2001). Specifying the objectives is one of the primary tasks involved. 

The following are some of the accommodations and adaptations that will/can be implemented in Math instruction and evaluation:

a.    Using concrete manipulatives to demonstrate and practice problems before moving to symbolic.
b.    Highlighting key words for steps, directions or operations in questions given to her.
c.    Using visual cues (e.g. stop signs or red dots) on the paper when changing operations. And then giving cues like raising hand in order that necessary instructions will be provided to go on.
d.    Using color coding (e.g. green for addition, red for subtraction, etc.).
e.    Ensuring of a  a clear understanding of the math vocabulary being used (e.g. use of mnemonic devices)
f.      Using modeling frequently (by the teacher or a tutor).
g.    Teaching strategies for checking math work (e.g. quotient x divisor = dividend)


a.    Providing extra-large symbols next to questions in order that the symbols will be more likely to observed
b.    Providing practice in math by using a computer software program that gives the student immediate feedback (if available).
c.    Using large colored arrows to indicate where to begin working on a math problem.
d.    Reducing the number of questions given, but not the level of difficulty.
e.    Having a math reference sheet, cue cards, open book/notes that demonstrate the steps to solving a particular type of question.
f.      Having worked with a classroom peer.

Educational Assessment

a.    Evaluating on daily or weekly basis rather than on lengthy tests or exams.
b.    If lengthy tests are required, not mixing of concepts at one time.
c.    Allowing the use of tables or charts.
d.    Providing a visual model with test questions to demonstrate what is being asked.
e.    Providing graphing paper for lining up numbers when working math problems.
f.      Using personal experiences when designing math problems.
g.    Having oral testing for word problems.
h.    Providing a quiet place to work.
i.      Allowing extra time to complete tests.
j.      Highlighting operational signs so that the signs are very much obvious before beginning an operation.
k.    Highlighting key words on a test so that words will surely be noticeable before answering the question.


Bilbao, P., et. Al(2009). Curriculum development. Manila: Lorimar Publishing
Butterworth, B. (2005). “Developmental dyscalculia," in Handbook of Mathematical Cognition, J. Campbell, Ed. New York: Psychology Press.
Corpuz, B. and Salandanan G.(2009). Principles of teaching 1. Manila: Lorimar Publishing
Corpuz, B., Rigor, D., and Salandanan G.(2009). Principles of teaching 2. Manila:Lorimar Publishing
Department of Education, Bureau of Elementary Education (2010). Lesson guide in elementary mathematics. Manila:  Book Media Press Inc.
Dimalanta, F. X. (2009). Understanding dyscalculia. Retrieved from
Emerson, J. and Babtie, P (2010). The dyscalculia assessment. United Kingdom: Continuum Internationall Publishing Inc.
Holdbrook, M.D. (2007). Standard based IEP examples. Alexandria: National Association of State Directors of Special Education
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