This story tells us of a child with dyscalculia, that’s familiar to thousands of children and their parents. It is not aimed to hurt or stigmatise anyone. One could write about dyslexia in almost the same way as dyscalculia is explained to you here.
Alexander looks forward to school
Alexander is a cheerful, bright child. After two years of nursery school, he is happy to be able to go to the first lesson together with his classmates. At school, he learns quickly. He likes gymnastics, reading and doing small experiments. Only calculating seems hard to him. Somehow the numbers just don‘t get in Alexander’s head. It does not seem logical to him that you have to write “23” and not “twenty-three”.
We’ve been happy to publish articles from both educators and researchers on this blog and hope with these to raise awareness of dyscalculia and provide support to teachers and parents. But what about information for kids?
We have been fortunate to run several extremely informative guest posts here on the Dyscalculia Blog from educators and researchers on their work with dyscalculia. Today we would like to share a TEDx Talk we discovered on YouTube given by someone who is actually dyscalculic.
Line Rothman, a graduate of the creative business and design school Kaospilot in Aarhus, Denmark, takes her listeners on a tour of her “world without numbers” in a manner that is charming, touching, and enlightening all at once.
This week’s guest post from educator Sarah Jarvis covers a topic on which it can be difficult to find in-depth information: adult math learning differences. We are very pleased to feature Jarvis’s informative article on the Dyscalculia Blog!
I have worked at Bracknell and Wokingham College in the Learning Support Department for 8 years, supporting those aged over 16 who have maths learning differences. I also taught GCSE and Functional Skills adult maths classes for a number of years.
The reasons that learners leave school at 16 or older without the requisite ‘C’ grade in maths can be numerous. It is only by understanding the roots of what makes them struggle, as well as the person’s strengths, that it is possible to assist them to overcome these challenges. Assessment is, therefore, an extremely important part of my job.
We are very pleased to feature a guest post from PD Dr Karin Kucian, associate professor at the Centre for MR Research of the University Children’s Hospital of Zurich. In her article for the Dyscalculia Blog, Dr Kucian explores changes in brain function and brain anatomy and how these relate to developmental dyscalculia.
Evidence is growing that Developmental Dyscalculia (DD) is associated with various alterations in brain function and brain structure. Recent work in the field of DD has used brain-imaging techniques to study the brains of people performing a number of tasks. These techniques have allowed researchers to generate high-resolution images of participants’ brains, making it possible to observe brain activation patterns during number processing.
While some dyscalculics receive the support and intervention they need from their teachers and therapists, others struggle with their schools’ lack of resources or awareness. In the latter case, parents of dyscalculic children may consider homeschooling if this is a legal option where they live.
Homeschooling is a challenge and a commitment, but for some families, it offers an alternative way to educate their children when more traditional schooling methods are failing. The main drive for homeschooling parents across the board remains to offer their children the best learning experience they can provide.
We are an English-language blog but we are aware that we have readers from all over the world. We would like to put together a list of dyscalculia resources to meet other linguistic needs. We’ve found a few resources in various languages but we invite readers to submit their own suggestions in the comments! Together we can collect resources to help readers across the globe.
Please note: the inclusion of a website in the below list does not represent an endorsement but rather a starting point for readers to explore new possible resources.
For a quick overview of the symptoms of dyscalculia in French, visit the Dyscalculie section of the Fédération française des Dys. The page is quite short but a nice feature is optional audio that makes the text more accessible to visitors with dyslexia.
The site DYS Positif gives a more detailed look at dyscalculia under Dyscalculie. You’ll find information not just on symptoms but on treatment and diagnosis options.
This week the Dyscalculia Blog interviewed Natalie Kerslake, a teaching assistant who conducted her master’s degree research around dyscalculia. Natalie shared her thoughts on the importance of increasing school resources for dyscalculics and their teachers.
Please introduce yourself to the blog and tell us what motivated you to focus on dyscalculia.
My name is Natalie Kerslake B.A (Hons), MA Ed and I am a primary school teaching assistant, with a particular interest in supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities.
I became motivated to complete my MA Ed research on dyscalculia after supporting a child with this in my first teaching assistant post. I did not know anything about dyscalculia myself at the time and not much was available to support teachers and children in this area. I wanted to investigate the current situation as to supporting children with dyscalculia in one particular primary school, and see whether this was the case in another school.
Does your child constantly struggle with numbers? Perhaps they always need to count with their fingers or have difficulty telling time. Or cannot tell the difference between large and small quantities.
These could be signs of dyscalculia and if you notice them in your child or student it may be worthwhile to follow up with tests for math learning difficulties and perhaps a full diagnosis.
So, how do you go about getting your child tested for and, if necessary, diagnosed with dyscalculia?
The word “dyscalculia” is a tad unwieldy. It’s difficult to pronounce and plenty of people have never come across the term and don’t really know what it means.
But plenty of people have come across dyscalculia itself; they just know it under a different name. For our first time readers, dyscalculia is a learning difference that affects the ability to do math functions. (Learn more by reading What is dyscalculia? on our blog.)
What are the words we use to refer to dyscalculia? Well, some people know dyscalculia as “dyslexia with numbers” or “math dyslexia”. They know that it’s not just a matter of being “bad at math”. Dyscalculics process numbers differently than people without dyscalculia. As most children develop number skills they automate certain math tasks so that they can focus on more advanced ones. Dyscalculics don’t do this, which slows down any problems they need to solve that involve numbers.
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