Dyscalculia and the extra struggle with maths
A small but significant proportion of the population struggle with a condition called dyscalculia, or Specific Learning Disorder in Mathematics, which negatively affects their ability to learn maths. Recent research has shown the condition to be massively underdiagnosed among children.
Researchers studied the performance of primary school children over a number of years and found that children were far more likely to have been diagnosed with dyslexia than with dyscalculia, even though the conditions are thought to be equally common. The researchers identified 112 children who they thought might have dyscalculia, but only one had an official dyscalculia diagnosis.
What can we do about dyscalculia?
Identifying a learning difficulty like dyscalculia means first ruling out other things that could be causing problems with mathematics, including attention disorders or maths anxiety.
Some of the specific symptoms of dyscalculia include a delay in being able to count and problems with mental maths - you can find a full list of possible symptoms here.
As with dyslexia, research suggests that with the right intervention it’s possible to help kids with dyscalculia develop their own strategies for numeracy success.
Children with dyscalculia may be supported by:
- Using physical objects when counting to help link numbers to quantity
- Reducing the need for them to memorise things initially
- Going at the child’s pace so that they can achieve success (not always being compared to peers)
- Making learning as active and fun as possible.
For support visit www.aboutdyscalculia.org
Children’s brains are particularly malleable, which means that even with a disorder like dyscalculia, the function of the brain can adapt so that with early and appropriate intervention, kids with the condition can get the best possible outcome for them.
Here are some more online dyscalculia resources:
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