How often did you hear adults say: “I always struggled with math in school” or even worse “I am just not a math person” basically accepting that it will always be hard for somebody to do things such as keeping a checkbook and other important math related activities?
Were you one of those kids struggling and giving up on math? You could well have dyscalculia or Math LD yourself.
Do you like to prevent your child from struggling with math in the same way? Read on: Recent research shows that learners can be confident and successful in Math with an individualized approach from early on! Even love it!! Much like we know that children with dyslexia benefit from special dyslexia instruction using sequential structured phonics lessons and can become good readers and even love to read!
What does the word dyscalculia mean?
The word dyscalculia has Greek and Latin roots: dys (the Greek part) means badly and calculia (the Latin part) comes from calculare: making calculations, so dyscalculia is ‘badly calculating’ or having trouble with making calculations, or ‘dyslexia with numbers’. Compare dyslexia ‘badly reading’.
Dyscalculia is a Specific Learning Difference or Disability (Sp LD) involving all sorts of numerical tasks. It is listed in the DSM IV.
Dyscalculia in children often involves struggling with one or more of the following:
- simple mathematics memorizing and applying math facts: addition and multiplication
- the order of operations
- the ability to visualize a small or large quantity
- to mentally connect a number with a size or quantity (number sense)
- learning to tell time
Dyscalculia in adults often involves one or more of the following difficulties:
- uncomfortable with all sorts of number related activities
- mistakes in copying and memorizing numbers trouble with everyday calculations like estimating shopping total or change given
- difficulty keeping a checkbook and managing a bank account getting directions and using a map is often confusing
- time related issues
The brain of a person with dyscalculia is wired slightly differently and a mathematical stimulus is processed differently. This is pictured with functional MRI: when a child or adult with dyscalculia does a math problem the areas in the brain that are best equipped for numerical tasks are bypassed and other less efficient areas are used instead. We also know that that the brain can be trained to unleash that previously hidden capacity.
Watch a ten minute youtube video by one of the leading experts in dyscalculia, Prof Brian Butterworth