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:
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, 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.
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.
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.