If your dyscalculia was undiagnosed until adulthood or perhaps you’re still undiagnosed, it is possible that you have gravitated towards a career that doesn’t involve maths. But no matter how often you need to do equations or handle numbers on a daily basis, simple accommodations can help you to perform your job to the best of your ability.
Developmental dyscalculia can be either genetic or environmental and even interaction of the two. It is a specific learning disability that affects the normal acquisition of arithmetic skills. It is equally common in boys and girls and impacts on 5-6% of the population.
Genetic causes include known genetic disorders such as Turner’s syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Velocardiofacial syndrome, Williams syndrome. In addition studies suggest that there are genes present in the general population which increase the risk of dyscalculia.
It is well known that schools tend to put mental arithmetic skills above the visual ones, as something like counting with your fingers is seen as a weakness in one’s calculation abilities. Educators and scientists have been tackling this obsolete cliché with research and scientific reports that seem to prove that visual aids are more than just helpful in the learning process.
Indeed, visual aids, such as the use of fingers, have a key role in children’s understanding of mathematics. This form of visualisation gives the abstract world of numbers a real side and establishes a connection to something tangible. This results in the creation connections from the prefrontal cortex (main memory / data centre) to the visual and motor cortex. Thus, when visual aid is used, thinking becomes outsourced to other brain areas generating a more efficient use the brain’s capacity.
However, these findings do not mean that you child will forever use their fingers to count. Over time a mental image of the fingers will become connected to the mental processes of counting, making the physical counting unnecessary. This is proven by numerous studies with primary school children that measured increased activity in the visual cortex while children were solving complex math tasks, even when they did not use their hands.
If you are not online, you can forget about keeping in touch with your grandchildren. That is just the reality we are living in. However, for seniors living with dyscalculia or dyslexia, using the internet can be incredibly stressful and even dangerous. To help you with this necessary form of communication, we have put together a comprehensive guide to make the experience less stressful and more fun.
How Dyscalculia and Dyslexia Affects People Later in Life
Most of the media attention on dyscalculia and dyslexia is focused on how these maladies affect youngsters. Yet, older adults also have trouble living a normal life and performing specific activities when they are afflicted by these disabilities. In turn, this can cause undue frustration and stress.
Seniors who acquire dyslexia and dyscalculia later in life often do so through trauma, dementia, stroke, or brain injury. For dementia and stroke, stress is typically a contributing factor. When stress is the source of dyslexia or dyscalculia, a dangerous cycle develops.
As dyscalculics and dyslexics put in extra effort to deal with numbers, math, and reading, they get frustrated and mentally-exhausted. This added stress can lead to other health issues or worsen the condition. Unfortunately, trying to use the internet is one of the more stressful experiences for seniors, especially with all of the scammers out there trying to prey on your inexperience. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to stay safe on the internet and avoid the added stress.
This week we have searched high and low for the five best videos on dyscalculia and here they are!
1. My world without numbers – Line Rothmann
At number one we have the fantastic Tedx Talk from Line Rothmann. She has dyscalculia and tells us of what is like and what quirky systems she developed to get on in a world that is largely based on numbers.
The article takes the reader through nine steps on what do after a child has been diagnosed with dyscalculia. From exploring therapies to liaising with schools, to how to talk to the child itself, the article provides concrete tips on these and more issues.
A few weeks back we were asked through Dyscalculia Blog about online support groups for adults with dyscalculia. I found a great group on Facebook that could possibly help, but this was not its main focus. So we decided to set up our own Facebook group, where we can support each other, ask questions, post helpful resources and talk all things dyscalculia whether it is about your child or yourself!
Dyscalculia can affect anyone and this is a great starting point as a lot of people are discovering that they have dyscalculia late in life and they realise all the struggles it caused them. They are unsure how to tackle these difficulties and it can be hard to find useful information, but now we can help each other using this Dyscalculia Support Group as a tool.
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.
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.