Dyscalculia is a term referring to learning disabilities involving math. It is sometimes called, “math dyslexia”, although dyscalculia and dyslexia are not the same thing. Experts estimate that three to six percent of the population suffers from some form of dyscalculia. This may seem like a small percentage, however that is 210,000,000 people who have a learning disability that impairs their ability to learn math.
Children with dyscalculia struggle learning many parts of math. Generally, they don’t understand quantities or concepts like smallest and biggest. They often have a hard time understanding the concept of number sense. For example, they do not understand that, “7” is the same as “seven”. They also have trouble with recalling math facts, understanding the logic behind math, but not how to execute solving problems. For example, they may have a hard time keeping numbers in their minds while doing math problems with multiple steps.
General Symptoms Of Dyscalculia:
If you see one of your students (if you’re a teacher), or your child (as a parent) exhibiting these symptoms, they may have dyscalculia and need another approach to learning math.
- Using their fingers to count out answers to math problems.
- Having trouble recalling basic math facts.
- Having difficulty linking numbers and symbols to amounts and directions.
- Struggling with making sense of money.
- Inability to tell time.
- Inability telling left from right.
- Difficulty with recognizing patterns and sequencing numbers.
Dyscalculia looks different at different ages. It often becomes more apparent as kids get older. Here’s what to look for in different age stages:
- Preschool: If they have trouble with counting, that’s the first sign. They exhibit signs of dyscalculia when they skip over numbers long after kids their own age, when they struggle to recognize patterns and number symbols, and don’t understand the meaning of counting.
- Elementary: In elementary school, a student shows signs of dyscalculia when they struggle identifying plus and minus signs, have difficulty identifying, learning, and remembering basic math facts, have trouble understanding words related to math (“greater than” vs. “less than”), and cannot recognize visual-spatial representations of numbers.
- Middle School: In middle school, a child may be struggling with dyscalculia when they have a difficult time understanding place value, cannot write numerals clearly or put them in the correct place, have trouble with fractions and measuring, and cannot keep score in sports.
- High School: In high school, students struggling with dyscalculia will have a hard time applying math concepts to money, have difficulty grasping information in graphs or charts, and have trouble finding different approaches to the same math problem.
Dyscalculia is not a phase, it’s not something that can be cured or treated with medication. This is how your child’s, or any child who struggles, processes math concepts. Often by the time a child is diagnosed with dyscalculia, their math foundation is extremely shaky. Reinforce part of their math foundation with My Multiplication Magic. When you take steps to approach math differently for your student or child, you’ll discover the magic of empowerment and success for them.