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  • Honora Wall

The Top 5 IEP Items for Dyscalculia

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

It’s time for IEP and 504 meetings again… are you ready? Here are the top 5 IEP items for students with dyscalculia (and for other learning issues, too!):

5. Extended Time. Pretty much everyone gets extended time as the first accommodation for any barrier to learning. Make sure you keep it, and use it, or

you won’t be able to request for later high-stakes tests like the SAT, ACT, or college placement exams. Check this blog for ideas on how to use extended time wisely.

Extended time is important because it lets students reflect on problems and double check their work. It works best for students with dyscalculia when they have the right support systems for dyscalculia: a reference sheet, or times table list, or calculator, or a study guide with a list of procedures and formulas.

4. Advance Notice of Assessments. Advance notice of tests and quizzes lets students know exactly what to prepare for and make notes for. Assessments should be predictable and students should know exactly what they will be expected to do, know, and apply.

Having a plan reduces anxiety. It lets students focus their studying on the right information. These are key issues for dyscalculics because part of the disorder is losing math information over time. Also, anxiety blocks learning and remembering. Oh-- and no pop quizzes, ever.

3. Appropriate Math Tools. Dyscalculia makes the brain forget math, especially basic facts. Even when a student masters steps and procedures, like how to add fractions, they can get the final answer wrong because they struggle with adding or multiplying. Using a calculator or a list of times tables allows students to show their math abilities without being held back by their learning disability.

Tools offer support, not answers. Other appropriate tools include a list of steps or worked examples, a vocabulary sheet, or a formula sheet. The Teacher’s Dyscalculia Toolbox includes all this and more!

2. Peer or Teacher Notes. Taking notes in class is a very complex process: listening to the teacher (auditory), looking at the board (visual), writing the notes (tactile), understanding the material (cognitive), and blocking out everything else!

Having a copy of notes from the teacher, or from another student, erases everything except understanding the material. Ask if the student can use their phone to take a picture of the board. Maybe the teacher can take a picture of the board and upload it to the class website, or photocopy peer notes.

1. Intervention or Outreach. This can take many forms: an aide in class, extra tutoring, having math class with a specialist or interventionist, or anything else the school has to offer. If you’re looking for help, this can be a great option. If you have a tutor you already feel is meeting your needs, you might not want this option. It’s a personal choice.

...and one to be cautious about: Reduced Number of Problems. Technically, having a reduced amount of work or fewer standards to meet is a modification, not an accommodation. Modifications are appropriate for developmental or intellectual disabilities, but not usually for Specific Learning Disorders. When students with dyscalculia have the right support, they can complete the same amount of work as other students. When they don’t have the right support, they struggle and can fall behind.

Reach out to EduCalc Learning if you have other questions about IEP and 504 meetings.

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