# Math Strategies for Kids With Learning Disabilities

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Children with learning disabilities may have trouble in math for different reasons. They may struggle with the language, organization, computation or visual spatial relationships. Given the proper tools and resources, children can learn strategies to succeed. Find out which approaches work and stick with them. The important thing to remember is to get creative and maintain a positive learning environment.

## Mnemonics

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Mnemonics can be used for all educational subjects from English grammar to scientific formulas. The key to mnemonics is repetition and the ability to create pictures of math lessons with the mind. In math, mnemonics can help students remember different math facts, such as subtraction borrowing: “Bigger bottom better borrow” or labels: “King Hector Died Miserable Death Died Measles” (the metric system).

Stories and songs can also help children relate math to life experiences. It may be easier for students with learning disabilities to recall a math problem such as 3 times X equals 24 when there is a story attached. Likewise, a rhyming song or poem will enable children to sing or hum each step until they find the answers.

## Fact Charts and Flash Cards

Fact charts and flash cards work best for visual learners. A fact chart is used for each multiplication reference. On the X and Y axes, list numbers 1 through 10 (12 for older students). Fill in the appropriate answers inside the grid. Students will be able to use their finger or tracking device to find the answers. Fact charts can be carried in student folders or pockets. Memorized facts should be redacted to stimulate memory recall. Flash cards provide good practice at home. Instruct students to place any cards whose answers are not familiar in a separate pile. Quiz students until all facts are memorized.

## Abacus and Objects

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Some children with learning disabilities do better with tangible objects rather than written problems. An abacus will help children physically count numbers as they move spheres from one side to the other. Objects can be used in geometry for students to observe and measure the actual dimensions of shapes. Objects can also be used for word problems; for example, if a word problem uses oranges as an example, students use objects to represent the oranges. Children arrange, add and remove the objects as they follow each step. If objects are not available, have students draw shapes and pictures on paper and cross off or add them accordingly.