It’s important to take signs of dyscalculia seriously. At the beginning of school, all children experience occasional difficulties with math. If these problems fail to dissipate with supported homework sessions or additional hours of practice, however, parents and teachers should be on alert for potential dyscalculia.
The following signs can indicate the presence of dyscalculia:
…has anxiety about going to school
…has anxiety about taking tests
…has a negative perception of their own intelligence
…expects to fail
…displays frustration and a reluctance to try (maths) in other subjects
Are you wondering why your child struggles with numbers and finds it difficult to solve the seemingly simple tasks?
Dyscalculia is usually perceived as a specific learning difference for mathematics, or, more appropriately, arithmetic. In isolated dyscalculia, there are no deficits in reading or writing. Dyscalculia is classified under WHO ICD-10, a classification system for diseases and mental disorders, as:
Developmental dyscalculia can be either genetic or environmental, even interaction of the two and is present from birth. It is a specific learning difference that affects the acquisition of arithmetic skills. It is equally common in boys and girls and impacts 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.
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.
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.
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 number 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.
At first glance the Numberphile website seems both charming and a tad overwhelming. The site is dedicated to numbers and explanations of math problems and math research by means of short videos. The videos are linked to via illustrations which are engaging but don’t give a casual visitor many clues as to where they are navigating. It is great for exploring though: click around and see which page you land on and then watch the video to learn something new about math.
According to sources listed on both Understood.org and AboutDyscalculia.org, there is no universal consensus on the causes of dyscalculia. However, there have been studies on what happens in the brains of dyscalculics while solving math problems. To understand this let’s first have a look at how children develop mathematic abilities in general.
By the time they are just three months old, babies are able to differentiate between large and small quantities. When they get to preschool, children learn number words to enable them to describe these quantities. In elementary school, they learn Arabic numerals, which will not make any sense without those number words from the previous stage. Finally, children develop a mental conception of numbers – an internal number line – which automates such judgments as large vs. small, and estimations.
Dyscalculia receives less press than dyslexia. Parents and teachers may not even be aware that dyscalculia exists, much less recognise what could be signs of the learning difference. We’ve put together a list of things to watch out for if you think your child may have dyscalculia. Read more →