Teaching Times Tables to Students with Dyscalculia

Instructor: Pamela Brezenski

Pamela holds a M.S. in Special Education and is ABD EdD Special Education. Pamela has experience in the following settings: 6th LA/SS, 9-10th LD/ED, K-12 and K-5 LD/ED/ID

Multiplication skills open the door to successful upper-level math skills. Students with dyscalculia struggle to memorize the times table, and you can help them by using creative teaching methods.

Teaching Times Tables to Students Diagnosed with Dyscalculia

Simple memorization through flashcards and timed quizzes do not work with every student. Understanding student processing difficulties is a critical element in identifying how to effectively teach the multiplication table. To effectively reach your students, you must first identify their processing needs. Once you know what their needs are, you can then use programs that will quickly remediate their times table fact recognition skills.

Areas of Struggle with Times Table Attainment

Three key weaknesses, identified by Geary (2000), cause limitations for students when solving mathematical problems. Students with dyscalculia may show limitations in counting, problem-solving, and working memory. You may notice students struggling to recall their facts, use their visual timetable facts when solving problems, or being able to follow a process. These three key areas may be areas of concern:


Struggles with counting are a common characteristic of students diagnosed with dyscalculia. Students are often unable to visually or auditorily process the order of numbers. Times tables and multiplication are often difficult if students do not have these skills.

Arithmetical Problems

Number transposition and order may be difficult for students because facts are not visually or auditorily stores into long-term memory. Mental math and problem-solving are difficult for students diagnosed with dyscalculia. Multiplication table memorization and knowledge require both the storage of facts into long-term memory and mental problem-solving.

Working Memory

Some students diagnosed with dyscalculia may know their facts one day, and they can't retrieve them the next. Working memory struggles impact students, because they are unable to remember what they just looked at or just heard. They are unable to process the memory and place it into working memory.

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