Dyscalculia: even the term sounds unfamiliar. Many people with dyscalculia may not know the condition exists. Instead they might just think they have difficulty with math, or that anything with numbers is a struggle for them. Those familiar with dyslexia and dysgraphia may never have heard of dyscalculia.
It’s a vicious cycle. When faced with a number problem you are gripped by anxiety or panic. Clearly these feelings are no good so you go out of your way to avoid number problems as much as possible. This leads to your becoming less and less “good at math” and the feelings of anxiety increase.
Dyscalculia Blog was founded to raise awareness of dyscalculia and other math learning difficulties. The blog offers information and resources to empower dyscalculics, parents, teachers, students, therapists, and anyone struggling with numbers.
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.
The 11th British Dyslexia Association’s International Conference (IC) and EXPO is a leading conference on Dyslexia/Specific Learning difficulties across the age ranges, for the latest in research and practice, exciting developments and inspiration.
The BDA have announced Professor Susan Gathercole (Cambridge University) as IC 2018 Chair and the International Conference committee as we build a great event. The conference theme of Evidence to Practice and Back Again will link research through to good practice and this Flagship event will present speakers, experts from across the world and professional practitioners.
New at the BDA conference is a demo zone where you can get even more hands on with practical opportunities. There will be our largest ever EXPO exhibition space featuring useful exciting materials and technologies, utilising the fantastic facilities available at the Telford International Centre.
Dyscalculia is a specific developmental disorder defined as difficulty acquiring basic arithmetic skills that is not explained by low intelligence or inadequate schooling. Unsurprisingly, many people with this disorder struggle to manage their finances well enough to build wealth. Seniors with dyscalculia face particular challenges. Dyscalculia does not improve without treatment, and seniors were most likely educated without the awareness of development disorders that has begun to penetrate into the school system in the last few decades. Moreover, these days, financial management often requires the use of technology. Seniors are often less familiar with the technological tools needed and dyscalculia makes it difficult to learn. Here are some tips on financial management when living with dyscalculia.
Now I’m sure every parent goes through the stressful shift from primary school to high school and the fears of this change being to much for their child, but there is extra pressure for those with children that have learning difficulties. This is because there will always be a difference between the support your child received at primary school and what’s available at the high school. So we have prepared a list of recommended resources that are suitable for this transition period and for supporting your child throughout their time in high school.
‘TES’ is always a good place to look for any resource you may need, but this collection is also especially for those with dyscalculia. These are not just for teachers; they are useful for those homeschooling or even just that little bit of extra after school or weekend boost for your child.
‘Helping With Math’is another good site for all your mathematical resources, this site is especially great because of the huge collection of exercises available for free, and while the resources may not be the most beautiful, they are extremely useful.
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.
This week we have a guest post from the Ruskin Mill Trust a brilliant organisation who provide specialised bespoke teaching with a focus on practical skills as a form of therapeutic education. This form of education can be beneficial for those with a learning difficulty and certainly will help any student gain the self-confidence to find their place in the world.
‘The measure of success for a student at one of our Ruskin Mill Trust colleges is as wide and diverse as the range of issues and conditions experienced by the young people themselves.’
This is how Aonghus Gordon, the Founder and Executive Chair of Ruskin Mill Trust (RMT), introduced a recent talk about the Vision and Method of RMT, Practical Skills Therapeutic Education.
Mr. Gordon described three short case studies to show something of the diverse range of outcomes achieved by students at RMT colleges. The first, a student who experiences elective mutism and who continues not to talk who has now learned to express herself confidently through various alternative means of communication. The second, related to a story of a young man who, before attending a RMT college, had been through a series of placement breakdowns and had been a serial non-attender. The student progressed to attending college daily and engaging well with his Study Programme despite always struggling to start the day on time. For the final case study, Mr. Gordon spoke about a student who began his course at a RMT college with no qualifications who has recently graduated from university.
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.