Dyscalculia exists in a number of different varieties, each involving a specific difficulty in solving mathematical tasks. It corresponds with mathematical performance to dyslexia in the area of reading. The majority of children and adults who are subject to dyscalculia have the ability to read and the ability to understand what is read unimpaired, although about 20–30 % of those who are subject to dyscalculia are characterized by having difficulties  reading and with mathematics. They often require extensive mental strain to carry out even simple arithmetic tasks. They count using their fingers as a visual aid far into the upper grades. Difficulties of this sort are categorized as automatisation difficulties.

 

Children and adults subject to dyscalculia never-theless tend  to be of normal intelligence, but often present an uneven picture in their results on intelligence tests. Their problems reflect not emotional issues but difficulties in mentally connecting with specific types of thought processes.

 

Not only automatisation difficulties but also linguistic difficulties may be involved with dyscalculia. The latter may manifest as difficulties in understanding numbers as a concept. Although possibly being of high intelligence, such a child may have only a limited understanding of either numbers as such or numerical symbols. Another form of dyscalculia involves planning difficulties that lead to the child’s failure to carry out computations effectively. The child has difficulties with following a clear strategy in solving arithmetic problems, losing track of his/hers mental position among the fundamental mechanics of the mathematical problem, sticks to strategies that are dysfunctional, or gives up on strategies that are correct and becoming passive. Dyscalculia may also be based on problems with visual perception that lead to difficulties with tasks involving logical thinking as well as in carrying out computations. This is often encountered in children who have difficulties with learning to read an ordinary clock and understanding how the position of the hands is to be interpreted.

 

Difficulties with mathematics generally are associated with the child having general problems with learning, in the area of mathematics as well as others, learning tending to take longer than normal. A child of this category is usually best helped by being allowed to work at a slow pace and by being given simplified learning material. On intelligence or aptitude tests such children tend to score on the low side but the results are all at about the same normalised level. There is thus a kind of consistency in their level of performance, also on a day-to-day basis. General consensus agrees that these children simply need a bit longer to learn.

 

 

By Dr Bjorn Adler

Neuropsychologist/psychologist/psychotherapist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Webbsite in swedish: www.dyskalkyli.nu

 

 

What is Dyscalculia?

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