Every day we are faced with mathematical problems. We need to read clocks, estimate times and do some arithmetic to make sure we are not late to appointments. We need to measure ingredients and estimate sizes. We need to do quick mental arithmetic when shopping, and read charts to make sure we don't speed.
Dyscalculia is more than being a bit slow to pick up mathematical skills. Or being a bit slow with mental arithmetic because you haven't practiced enough, or have used a calculator too much.
Dyscalculia is a life-long learning disability that effects your ability to learn and develop mathematical skills, including those basic skills used in everyday life.
What are the signs?
Some of the signs of dyscalculia as listed by SPELD and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, 2008 include:
- Difficulty learning mathematical terms and concepts
- Difficulty identifying numbers, signs and symbols
- Difficulty with basic functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- Difficulty remembering number facts, times tables and formulae. This can also translate into difficulties remembering scores in sport.
- Difficulty writing down working or an answer to written and numerical maths problems, including reversals, difficulty lining up numbers in correct columns, confusion over directionality and an inability to translate thoughts into symbols.
- Difficulty reading written Maths problems.
- Difficulty with reading time and time management.
As for dysgraphia, dyscalculia is linked to processing difficulties. Visual processing difficulties lead to reversals and confusion over numbers and symbols. Language processing difficulties lead to struggles with the language associated with maths, which in turn effects the child's ability to learn the mathematical concepts. Sequencing difficulties effect the person's ability to follow through with the logical processes involved in Maths.
In the next posts we will look at some ways we can help children who have been diagnosed with dyscalculia and dysgraphia.
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences (2008). Dyscalculia. Retrieved 28/09 from www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/dyscalcula.html
SPELD (2008). What is Dyscalculia. Retrieved 28/09 from www.dyslexia-speld.com/LearningDisabilities/WhatisDyscalculia/tabid/139/language/en-AU/Default.aspx