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Dyscalculia

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  • About

    • Dyscalculia is a brain-based condition
    • It will affect the child’s ability of understanding mathematics, or more appropriately, arithmetic.

     

    • Dyscalculia is a brain-based condition
    • It will affect the child’s ability of understanding mathematics, or more appropriately, arithmetic.

    Prevalence

    • A rough estimate shows 6 to 8 percent of elementary school children may have dyscalculia.
    • It has been observed that nearly half of children with a reading disorder also have dyscalculia.
    • Nearly  half of children with dyscalculia also have dyslexia.

    Symptoms

    Whom to approach if you see the signs

    As per the availability of the professional, parent can approach a school counselor who after screening the child will guide them to either a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist for diagnosis. In case of counselor not being available in school, parents can approach a counselor outside the school setting for screening and guidance.


    Early Signs and Symptoms Warning Signs in Preschool or Kindergarten

    • Has trouble learning to count, especially when it comes to assigning each object in a group a number
    • Has trouble recognizing number symbols, such as making the connection between 7 and the word seven
    • Struggles to connect a number to a real-life situation, such as knowing that “3” can apply to any group that has three things in it—3 pens, 3 cars, 3 kids, etc.
    • Has trouble remembering numbers, and skips numbers long after children of same age can count numbers and remember them in the right order
    • Finds it hard to recognize patterns and sort items by size, shape or color
    • May have difficulty when counting backwards Warning Signs in Grade School or Middle School
    • Has trouble recognizing numbers and symbols
    • May have problem in doing 4 arithmetic operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)
    • Struggles to identify similar-looking mathematical signs: + and ×; –, ÷ and = ; < and > and use them correctly
    • May still use fingers to count instead of using more sophisticated strategies · may not grasp that the words 'difference', 'reduction' and 'minus' all suggest 'subtraction'
    • May understand the term 'adding', yet be confused if asked to 'find the total' · may reverse numbers, and read or write 17 for 71
    • May transpose numbers i.e., 752 for 572 · Struggles to understand words related to math, such as greater than and less than
    • Has trouble writing numerals clearly or putting them in the correct column
    • Has trouble coming up with a plan to solve a math problem · Has trouble telling his left from his right, and has a poor sense of direction
    • Has difficulty remembering phone numbers and game scores
    • Has trouble with telling the time or managing money Warning Signs in High School
    • Struggles to apply math concepts to everyday life, including money matters such as estimating the total cost, making exact change and figuring out a tip
    • Has trouble measuring things, like ingredients in a simple recipe
    • Struggles with finding his way around and worries about getting lost · Has hard time grasping information shown on graphs or charts
    • Has trouble finding different approaches to the same math problem
    • Lacks confidence in activities that require estimating speed and distance, such as playing sports and learning to drive difficulty in remembering

    Causes

    • Genes and heredity: Studies of dyscalculia show it’s more common in some families.
    • Brain development: Slow brain maturation could also be one of the causes.
    • Environment: Dyscalculia has been linked to exposure to alcohol in the womb. Prematurity and low birth weight may also play a role in dyscalculia. · 
    • Brain injury: Studies show that injury to certain parts of the brain can result in what researchers call “acquired dyscalculia.”

    Prevention

    As the causes of the Dyscalculia are neurological in nature we cannot pinpoint the exact cause but giving them ample social, language and math stimulation may contribute to lessening its impact

    Diagnosis

    Coexisting conditions

    Dyslexia

    • Children are often diagnosed with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Researchers have found that 43–65 percent of children with dyscalculia also have dyslexia.
    • Children are often diagnosed with dyscalculia and ADHD. But some math errors can be explained by inattention to detail and other characteristics of ADHD. So some experts recommend reevaluating math skills after getting ADHD symptoms under control.
    • Math anxiety: Children with math anxiety are so worried about the prospect of doing math that their fear and nervousness can lead to poor performance on math tests. Some kids may have both math anxiety and dyscalculia.

    Treatment

    Conventional Treatment

    Dyscalculia intervention will involve teaching of math concepts by breaking the arithmetic procedures into small manageable parts. The parts have to be introduced via personalized and concrete hands on method. The sequence to teach the concepts must be systematic and structured.

    Early Intervention

    It is important for family members and the person with dyslexia to remember that dyscalculia is not a disease. Early Intervention reduces the struggle and frustration and helps the student to catch up with age and grade appropriate performance. The pace and the extent of improvement depend on various factors.

    There is currently no "cure" for dyscalculia. There is, however, a range of well targeted interventions that can help children and adults improve their math skills

    Success stories

    Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein are all said to have had problems doing math. In the entertainment industry, actors Henry Franklin Winkler and Mary Tyler Moore and famous actor and singer Cher were all diagnosed with dyscalculia.

     

    Reference

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