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Not all children hate math. Really. There are children out there who happily settle down to work on their multiplication tables, or geometry, or algebra homework. There are no tears, no fighting, no distress. If you can’t imagine this to be true, it may be that your child is struggling with a very specific type of learning difficulty.
Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability or difficulty involving difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics. Dyscalculia (maths) does not have to be apparent at a young age, due to the fact that brain injury may be a cause. It is believed to be related to dyslexia (reading) and developmental dyspraxia (language), but it is heard off less by the public.
People with dyscalculia often have struggles with measurement, time, and spatial reasoning. They do not necessarily have a low or high IQ, rather, it is distributed across the whole IQ spectrum. Some symptoms include: common difficulties with arithmetic, for example, trouble distinguishing the signs: +, -, ÷ and ×, poor sense of direction, struggles with times-tables, and excessively depends on using their fingers to count. These students generally do not have difficulties in subjects that involve logic such as geometry or science, but when it involves formulae, they begin to struggle.
People with dyscalculia are usually incapable of understanding or remembering mathematical concepts, rules, and sequences. They have difficulty keeping score during games, managing complex activities requiring sequential processing, experience trouble in the physical arena (such as dance steps) and in comprehending abstract ideas (reading, and writing), They also have difficulty filtering unnecessary information or impressions.
Dyscalculia is diagnosed by a psychologist with extensive assessment experience who will also consult others such as parents, teachers, and other community professionals in order to ensure a complete ‘snapshot’ of the client. Therapy can improve people with dyscalculia to a certain degree; however individuals who suffer from this learning disorder are not ‘cured.’ The process of intervention actually works to help a person identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop effective interventions or ‘tools’ to overcome the inherent difficulties they experience in a learning environment and in life.