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 redo 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
5 Pinkerton Rd
NARACOORTE SA 5271