Inclusive design for students with Specific Learning Disorders
There is currently a global underachievement in Mathematics as students tend to view this subject as one of the most difficult. In secondary school, mathematics lessons become more and more abstract, which leads to a loss of interest and engagement among the pupils. In the project “The Art of Maths”, we develop a cross-curricular approach linking mathematics and visual arts, music, cinematography, literature, and theatre, in order to help re-contextualize math in their historical context and in its practical applications through the use of hands-on exercises.
However, many students are facing more difficulties when it comes to mathematics due to the presence of one or more Specific Learning Disorder(s). Mathematics is not only a challenge for students with dyscalculia, as it is often believed. As a matter of fact, most math problems and tasks are often presented with complex written guidelines in which students must spot the information they need to solve them. This can create additional obstacles for students with learning disorder affecting their reading and writing skills, such as dyslexia.
As we are experts on ‘Dys’ disorders, we have tried to provide some advice to create tools that will cater to all students’ specific needs, thus reaching a far larger number of underachievers in math. We shared some general adaptations to implement in all the created tools of the project, in order to produce inclusive tools with the aim to reach and engage all students.
Here is an infographic presenting some of the adaptations we recommend:
These minor changes in the design of the students’ worksheets can help those with ‘Dys’ disorders. Among other things, they will help students who have difficulties in reading to directly spot the information they need, students with difficulties in math to better grasp the concepts to learn by discovering them step by step, and students with fine motor skills to avoid getting lost in long texts such as guidelines and definitions.
At Logopsycom, we truly believe that implementing these minor changes, along with format adaptations recommended in other projects such as in , can help improve the overall inclusiveness of learning materials. This does not require teachers to do double work, as they apply these recommendations with all students to help them better understand and enjoy their math lessons.