Last week we were in Manchester at Improving Lives: Autism and Learning Difficulties, a conference by Open Forum Events. It was a true eye-opener and gave us a true understanding of current thinking on the topics from a huge list of expert speakers who have an incredible amount of first-hand experience and knowledge. Not only were there many professionals at the event, but people also shared their amazing and inspiring success stories that showed us how it can be made possible and what needs to be done for a better future of neurodiversity. In this article we have highlighted some of the talks from the event, it was difficult to choose, as the day was crammed with incredible presentations.
Recently someone got in touch with us through the blog about how to get a diagnosis of dyscalculia, more specifically for adults. The person who contacted us as with many others has lived their life believing that their difficulties with maths was all their fault, this is largely due to the dyscalculia only being recognised fairly recently and so a lot of people went undiagnosed. Finding out that it is a real learning difficulty is a great relief for them, its also not just a relief but a chance to find a way to challenge dyscalculia because once you know you have it you can treat it.
What is Dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia affects around 5% of children, a smaller proportion than those affected by dyslexia (the rate of occurrence for dyslexia in the United States is approximately 15%). This has resulted in dyscalculia remaining relatively unknown; many people are not even familiar with the term.
What effect could this have on children with dyscalculia? Imagine struggling every day at school with number problems that your peers master far more quickly than you do. Your teacher is beginning to lose patience with you and your parents think you are just not trying hard enough. They don´t understand that you are trying hard every day, but even basic arithmetic concepts make no sense to you. You are called lazy or stupid or both.
This is the reality for many students with dyscalculia. With awareness of this learning disability still low, children may not be diagnosed as dyscalculic and not receive intervention that could help them succeed in the classroom.
All kids who reverse their b’s & d’s or their numbers have dyslexia or dyscalculia.
Failure to read or do maths is often more to do with the nature of teaching rather than the nature of the child. A child will not develop dyslexia or dyscalculia because he has trouble reading.
Multi-sensory exercises can help struggling students to strengthen their brain activity, but this will not cure their dyslexia or dyscalculia.
It is also not a dietary problem. No amount of healthy green juices, or other wholesome foods will reverse the conditions, but that does not mean you can eat unhealthily! In fact a healthy diet can improve your concentration and may help you control the conditions, so keep eating those greens, its and seeds!
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 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. Read more
Does your child constantly struggle with numbers? Perhaps she always needs to count with her fingers, or has difficulty telling time. Or cannot tell the difference between large and small quantities.
These could be symptoms of dyscalculia and if you notice them in your child or student it may be worthwhile to follow up with tests for math learning disabilities and perhaps a diagnosis.
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 basic 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 do 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. Read more