What is Developmental Dyscalculia?

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What is Developmental Dyscalculia?

Developmental dyscalculia can be either genetic or environmental and even an 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

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.

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Hands Up! Why We Should Promote Visual Arithmetic

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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.

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Beat the Back to School Anxiety!

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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.

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Back To School: Numberphile

Now we have written about Numberphile before and its page on dyscalculia with Professor Brian Butterworth of University College London discussing how dyscalculia manifests itself, the signs of dyscalculia, and current research on the topic. It’s a great introduction to and overview of dyscalculia, so take a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

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.

  1. Catching Money (Reaction Times)

 

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!

3. Super-fast way to tie Shoelaces