Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Feb 2003
"Why students with special needs have difficulty learning mathematics and what teachers can do to help" pg. 308
For the past two decades, US public schools have been blamed for students' poor performance in mathematics. As a response to our nation's low ranking in recent international comparisons, there has been an increase in number and difficulty of mathematics course requirements for graduation, as well as assessments given to high school seniors to ensure they learn material sufficiently before graduation. The increase in graduation standards has led many educators to set high curriculum standards requiring a multitude of concepts for students, to acquire and master. Although many secondary students are disadvantaged by this approach to curriculum, students with disabilities are placed at an even greater disadvantage because of difficulties they experience in acquiring and retaining knowledge.
This particular article focuses on the issues faced by children suffering from learning disabilities. However, it does not limit its information to just strategies on helping; it also includes detailed descriptions of different learning disabilities. Understanding what a child is suffering from is a key tool in helping them overcome their boundaries because no two learning disabilities are alike. Students with attention problems either "miss" important information as it is presented during instruction, or they do not attend in a meaningful way to essential cues when problem solving. Whereas, students with cognitive-processing problems may have adequate vision and hearing, they may still have difficulty "interpreting" what they see or hear. I appreciate the fact that this article took the time to differentiate different disabilities because oftentimes, people are quick to label students and end up not addressing the real problem.
Further, this article explores the idea of making mathematic activities relevant helps students with...