Most kid’s least favorite subject growing up is math. I know it was mine! I can recall those long nights at the kitchen table doing math homework. I Struggled to figure out why it was so hard to follow the “simple” step-by-step instructions.
Nothing was straightforward to me about arithmetic. Simple math details I couldn’t recall. And don’t get me started on algebra; just saying the word makes me cringe. With so many children struggling with math due to dyscalculia, as parents and teachers, what do we do?
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What is dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a condition used to explain learning disabilities related to math problems. It’s also called “dyslexia of numbers,” which is a little deceptive. Dyslexia points to reading and writing problems, while dyscalculia is primarily associated with arithmetic.
Based on German primary school pupils’ evidence, one study reports that 3 to 7 percent of adults and children had dyscalculia. Beyond having a hard time understanding math, this learning disorder is much more.
It’s bigger than making errors when you add numbers or reverse digits while writing something down. This article will cover the diagnosis, treatment, symptoms, causes, and medication associated with dyscalculia.
Symptoms of dyscalculia
Depending on the age and developmental level, the signs might appear different. Prevalent symptoms include:
● Mathematical terms such as multiplication, division, fractions, carrying, and borrowing are challenging to comprehend or recall.
● It is difficult to reconcile verbal or written signs (such as the word “four”) and their symbols and identifiers in mathematics (the number 4).
● When asked to complete a mathematical assignment, they face difficulty in presenting or explaining the solution.
● Difficulty explaining the step sequence or recalling the formulas in a mathematical solution.
Causes of dyscalculia
To explain what causes this, we need more studies, but there are some prevalent ideas of why it arises. Few scientists conclude that dyscalculia is the product of a lack of concrete early mathematics training.
Instead of being trained through the hands-on logic behind such guidelines, children who are told that math principles are merely a set of conceptual rules to obey don’t build the neural networks needed to grasp more complex mathematical constructs.
Under this sack of logic, a child who has never been instructed to calculate using an abacus or has never seen multiplication using objects that increase in actual numbers could be more likely to experience dyscalculia.
Dyscalculia can happen on its own or with other developmental disorders and neurological problems, including dyslexia, ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
A genetic factor can also be present in dyscalculia. In families, mathematical aptitude continues to run, same as intellectual difficulties. How much aptitude is inherited and how much the family background is impossible to determine.
For starters, if you grow up with a mother who frequently said she was only “useless” at math and couldn’t help you learn math, as a result, odds are you’re going to struggle with math, too. Further study is needed to explain how genetic factors play a role in learning disorders.
Diagnosis & treatment
Dyscalculia is diagnosed in multiple stages. Firstly, the doctor may gather personal and family history records. Such concerns are designed to rule out other potential diagnoses and ensure no immediate physical problem needs to be resolved.
Children should be referred to a team of academic experts, including psychologists and experts in special education. To find out how a diagnosis of dyscalculia makes sense, they will conduct more tests.
Proper medications and therapy can treat dyscalculia. Dyscalculia in adults, if left unchecked, will lead to complications at work and difficulty handling finances. Fortunately, kids have solutions open.
Special education instructors may offer treatment options to be used in school and at home with your child. This may include:
● Repeated application of core principles of arithmetic, such as counting and adding
● Segmentation of topic matter into smaller units to make it easier to ingest data
● Usage of other children’s small groups for math teaching and in hands-on, tangible presentations, repeated analysis of fundamental math concepts can be practical.
A 2012 review of the dyscalculia therapy literature acknowledged that the efficacy rates of the techniques prescribed for dyscalculia treatment are not well known. The right care strategy will take individual strengths, needs, and desires into consideration.
Parenting & schooling kids with dyscalculia
I know it can be tough to raise and teach a child with dyscalculia, but I wish people learned these things about how to make the process a lot easier:
Simple math can be a problem. Math that can sound easy may be very complicated for kids with dyscalculia. That’s why they require more time for analysis. To have fewer questions on each page, they need teachers to customize assessments.
It also helps to use graph paper to line up numbers.
It can be challenging to say the time, too. These children typically do not wear a watch because they fail to tell the time reliably. I recall when a middle school teacher asked a kid in front of the class what time it was for them to complete their community tasks.
When he was unable to answer rapidly, the whole class chuckled at him. That day was a rough one.
A real problem is being lost. These kids struggle with navigation. It can be challenging for them to keep track of directions, either with a compass or a tablet. It can be a struggle even to find out which direction is left or right.
(To check the correct left hand, one of their favorite tricks is to render a letter “L” with both hands.)
For sports, we have to be imaginative. They refuse some sport or activity that involves mental math. For example, popular board games such as Monopoly and Danger can be challenging.
Dyscalculia can be treated, and early diagnosis can significantly differ in how studying mathematics is viewed by the person who has it. Learning math principles can be more difficult for individuals, but it is by no means impossible.
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About the author
Erika is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant working in an elementary school setting. She wanted to create a blog and podcast that shows all sides of school-based learning. Her #1 focus is on providing parents of children with learning disabilities with relevant information in hopes of making each day a little more functional. So if you are interested in more content like this, please sign up below.