Margot Connop’s artwork on dyscalculia popped up on our Instagram feed and we loved it so much we thought it would be great to get some insight into arts place in the world relating to dyscalculia, so without any further ado here’s the interview with Margot –
About a decade ago, a groundbreaking study found that eye pupils detect more than just light. New research by the School of Psychology of the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Universities of Pisa and Florence has revealed that eye pupils can also detect quantity and perceive the number of objects in a person’s field of vision.
It’s the 1980s. I am sitting at a desk in primary school. It’s senior infants. Although I was an easy-going kid, I would get frustrated that I could not do maths and got upset about that.
There were five of us at the desk. The teacher is handing out copybooks. we were doing maths work. She asked us who had finished the and they all put up their hands, and then she asked who had not finished the work, and I put up my hand. The teacher said that they would wait until Mark is finished.
It took me some time to finish the work, and the rest of the class sat there and waited until I was finished. We were all getting ready to go home when one of my classmates turned to me and said, “I know you are not very good at maths Mark, but If I am late for football practice, I won’t forgive you”. I said, “I thought we were friends,” and he replied, “Just because we are classmates doesn’t mean that we are friends”.
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, parents and teachers should be 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 intelligence
…expects to fail
…displays frustration and a reluctance to try (maths) in other subjects
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.
So school begins again for a lot of children around the world and we would like to help them be prepared and gain confidence in their abilities before school starts! This article is mainly targeted for those that have difficulties with maths, but I’m sure everyone will find it useful to warm up those brains.
Today we are going to introduce you to a few videos which can get your children prepared and their brains warmed up for going back to school!
The first of the videos is perhaps more suitable for a person at high school level as it involves some algebra, but in saying that the video is very fun and entertaining with some animations helping to describe the maths and theory making it clear and interesting for younger ages.
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The second video is a series of fun magic tricks, which is a great activity you can try at home using a strip of paper, two rubber bands and two paper clips. Certainly a great way to show off to your friends and educational!
2. Perplexing Paperclips
In at number three, save time on your school mornings by learning this little mathematical trick to tying your shoelaces ultra quick!
Does your child constantly struggle with numbers? Perhaps they always need to count with their fingers or have difficulty telling time. Or cannot tell the difference between large and small quantities.
These could be signs of dyscalculia and if you notice them in your child or student it may be worthwhile to follow up with tests for math learning difficulties and perhaps a full diagnosis.
So, how do you go about getting your child tested for and, if necessary, diagnosed with dyscalculia?
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