We address math difficulties on a very individual basis. This is probably because math research lags behind reading and writing research and thus there are scant “programs” available for teaching math to students with learning disabilities. There are a number of important facts that research has taught us, however, that we apply on a case-bycase basis.
Sometimes students who are day-dreamy and who process information slowly have trouble with rapid access to math facts like multiplication tables, but they may have excellent conceptual abilities. For these students we work slowly on building rapid access to math facts, bolstering their confidence in themselves as math students. We teach them to use a calculator for math facts and we teach them that knowing 8 x 7 = 56 is not as important as understanding how to solve an algebraic equation.
Sometimes students have difficulty learning and executing sequences and this affects them when they learn math techniques with multistep procedures such as long division or adding mixed numbers with uncommon denominators (e.g., 3 ½ + 4 ¾). We teach these students through a multi-sensory approach of talking through the procedure, using movement to help describe the procedure, and doing problems the same way every time. Structure and repetition is critical. For example, always make fractions a vertical exercise, never solve them horizontally.