Dyscalculia

What is dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a broad term for severe difficulties in math. It includes all types of math problems ranging from inability to understand the meaning of numbers to inability to apply math principles to solve problems. Students with Dyscalculia cannot understand basic operations of addition and subtraction. They may not understand complex problems such as multiplication, division, and more abstract problems. Because they do not understand math concepts, they do not remember and cannot build on them to master more complex problems.

    • Following is a list of symptoms of dyscalculia:

      • Poor mental math abilities
      • Inconsistencies with basic computation of addition, multiplication, division, and subtraction
      • Difficulty understanding money and credit concepts
      • May use number additions, substitutions, transpositions, and reversals (this is similar to dyslexia that we are all familiar with except it is with numbers)
      • Almost always unaware of mistakes
      • May do well in book work but fails math tests
      • May do well with reading, writing and other subjects but cannot seem to understand mathematical concepts
      • Difficulties with spatial problems and alignment of numbers,
      • Trouble with sequencing, including left/right orientation
      • Difficulty understanding time and direction concepts.
      • Inability to grasp, retain and retrieve rules, formulas, order of operations
      • May be able to do the mathematical operation one day but draw a complete blank the next day.
      • Difficulty grasping musical concepts or learning music eg the fingering required to play an instrument
      • Difficult with rapidly changing physical directions as in aerobics, dance and exercise classes.
      • Difficulty with keeping scores in sport or demonstrates limited strategic planning for games eg chess
      • May use number additions, substitutions, transpositions, and reversals (this is similar to dyslexia that we are all familiar with except it is with numbers)
      • Almost always unaware of mistakes
      • May do well in book work but fails math tests
      • May do well with reading, writing and other subjects but cannot seem to understand mathematical concepts
      • Difficulties with spatial problems and alignment of numbers,
      • Trouble with sequencing, including left/right orientation
      • Difficulty understanding time and direction concepts.
      • Inability to grasp, retain and retrieve rules, formulas, order of operations
      • May be able to do the mathematical operation one but draw a complete blank the next day.
      • Difficulty grasping musical concepts or learning music eg the fingering required to play an instrument
      • Difficult with rapidly changing physical directions as in aerobics, dance and exercise classes.
      • Difficulty with keeping scores in sport or demonstrates limited strategic planning for games eg chess

    By now you may have a general idea that you or your child might be suffering from dyscalculia. It is often more frustrating than any other learning disability, because usually these kids do so well in other subjects. “Just try harder,” parents lament. Or, parents will bring out the trusty old flash cards and force the child to go over them time and again. By the next day it is new information to the child, and the frustration goes on. Parents are convinced that the child is just being lazy and trying to not do math, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    After the immense pressure of performing well in math and trying hard, these kids really do develop a math anxiety on top of dyscalculia. They do have processing disorders. One of the most prominent is a weakness in visual processing. To be successful in mathematics, one needs to be able to visualize numbers and mathematics situations. Students with dyscalculia have a very difficult time visualizing numbers and often mentally mix up the numbers, resulting in what appear to be “stupid mistakes.” Another problem is with sequencing. Students who have difficulty sequencing or organizing detailed information often have difficulty remembering specific facts and formulas for completing their mathematical calculations.

      Remediation Strategies

      • Provide visual clues eg charts, pictures, graphs
      • Use the child’s auditory skills – get them to read aloud and listen carefully
      • Provide examples and real situations so that there is a connection to what they are doing
      • Use graph paper to keep order and structure
      • Keep worksheets uncluttered and simple – especially in tests.
      • Allow extra time to complete activity
      • Repetition is critical
      • Use rhythm or music to help memorisation
      • Need some one on one tutoring to fully grasp certain concepts
      • Consider allowing the child to do an exam one on one in the presence of a teacher
      • Keep in mind that the child will want to re-do the problem when it is “wrong” – their mistake is often a result of “seeing” the problem incorrectly
      • Write down each step of a mathematical calculation – they have a good command of language and this helps them grasp what is required

        Be Patient

        They want to learn and retain the information. Pity will not help, but patience and individual attention will.

        Depending on the assessment KL3 may recommend the following

        About Us

        Our aim is to provide quality educational assistance to students in a rural situation in the South East of South Australia

        Contact Us

        08 8762 3789

        carol@kl3.com.au

        PO Box 1176

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        NARACOORTE SA 5271