## Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a disability that seems to involve only the student’s abilities in mathematics, where abilities in other areas are normal. It is thought to be caused by a difference in brain function in the area that involves calculation, (the intra-parietal sulcus). Developmental Dyscalculia describes the form of this condition that exists with a child from birth. Another version, Acquired Dyscalculia, may be caused by a brain injury. Those with brain injuries that involve the parietal region at the top of the brain, may develop Acquired Dyscalculia. It is estimated that about 5-6% of people have Dyscalculia, which would mean about one person in each class of 15-25 students. There does not appear to be a difference in the rates between boys and girls.

Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, William’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, Velocardial Facial Syndrome, or who were born before full term may be more likely to show signs of dyscalculia. Dyscalculia also often occurs in combination with ADHD, Language Impairments, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia.

- Academics – poor performance

· Anxiety – particularly related to math

· Behaviour – problems may develop as a result of frustration

· Direction – difficulty with a sense of direction

· Math – delay or difficulty with counting

· Math – trouble with sorting by size, colour, shape, etc.

· Math – difficulty comparing different numbers, understanding quantity

· Math – difficulty memorizing math facts

· Math – difficulty measuring things

· Math – difficulty understanding place value, the distributive property, imagining math shapes or number lines.

· Math – trouble interpreting “twelve” as “12”, or delay in making the translation

· Math – mixes up terms like “smaller than” and “equal to”

· Math – difficulty estimating or rounding numbers up or down

· Memory – difficulty memorizing times tables, addition tables, phone numbers, etc.

· Money – may have trouble using money, counting, giving change

· Problem solving – difficulty with strategy based games like chess

· Problem solving – difficulty with multi-step procedures

· Routines – may be disoriented by change in routine or schedule

· Time – may have difficulty with time management or following a schedule

· Vision – may not notice visual patterns such as: 13, 23, 33, 43, 53, etc.

· Vision – may invert numbers, ie. 26, 62

· Vision – difficulty assessing symmetry, rotating shapes mentally as with tessellations and geometry.

About Dyscalculia. Org

http://aboutdyscalculia.org/index.html

Perles, Karen. Bright Hub –

http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/59400.aspx

National Center for Learning Disabilities – Dyscalculia

http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-aamp-language/ld-aamp-math/dyscalculia

NLD Ontario -

http://www.nldontario.org/articles/dyscalculia.html

Teaching Expertise.com –

http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/responding-needs-pupils-dyscalculia-370

Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, William’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, Velocardial Facial Syndrome, or who were born before full term may be more likely to show signs of dyscalculia. Dyscalculia also often occurs in combination with ADHD, Language Impairments, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia.

**Symptoms/Indicators ·**- Academics – poor performance

· Anxiety – particularly related to math

· Behaviour – problems may develop as a result of frustration

· Direction – difficulty with a sense of direction

· Math – delay or difficulty with counting

· Math – trouble with sorting by size, colour, shape, etc.

· Math – difficulty comparing different numbers, understanding quantity

· Math – difficulty memorizing math facts

· Math – difficulty measuring things

· Math – difficulty understanding place value, the distributive property, imagining math shapes or number lines.

· Math – trouble interpreting “twelve” as “12”, or delay in making the translation

· Math – mixes up terms like “smaller than” and “equal to”

· Math – difficulty estimating or rounding numbers up or down

· Memory – difficulty memorizing times tables, addition tables, phone numbers, etc.

· Money – may have trouble using money, counting, giving change

· Problem solving – difficulty with strategy based games like chess

· Problem solving – difficulty with multi-step procedures

· Routines – may be disoriented by change in routine or schedule

· Time – may have difficulty with time management or following a schedule

· Vision – may not notice visual patterns such as: 13, 23, 33, 43, 53, etc.

· Vision – may invert numbers, ie. 26, 62

· Vision – difficulty assessing symmetry, rotating shapes mentally as with tessellations and geometry.

**Accommodations/Interventions**- If you notice any of these patterns of indicators, notify the parent(s) in order to discuss a referral for assessment.
- Consult with your student support team about the situation.
- You may find that you will need to provide this student with work adapted to his/ her level, and all work, even the work that the student understands will take longer than you expect. Allow extra time for anything math related.
- Provide written directions or reference cards for any instructions or procedures that the student will need to use. Do not force the student to rely upon memory for this.
- Allow the child to use a calculator.
- Multisensory teaching methods will help. Access visual and tactile learning styles as much as possible.
- Allow the student to draw a diagram of a problem before attempting it with numbers.
- Use manipulatives or concrete materials wherever possible as an introductory step, but be careful to see that the student is able to transfer what he/she does with the manipulatives to similar real world applications. Sometimes a student will do the manipulatives part well without making any transfer to general math concepts or symbols.
- Graph paper may help this student organize columns of numbers, and problem solving steps on paper.
- Make up songs, rhymes, acrostics, or acronyms to help students memorize math facts and procedures. Ie. BEDMAS for order of operations
- Give extra practice time in estimation.
- Direct instruction that connects values and symbols, or that reinforces math facts may be helpful. However, a computer game that applies these concepts will likely be better tolerated than a flashcard kind of approach.
- Direct instruction on the distributive property may be helpful, ie – 15 is like a 10 and a 5 so three 15’s would be the same as three 10’s and three 5’s, or 30 and 15.
- Reinforce any new concepts within 24-48 hours by providing additional time for practice on the concept on the next day or day after.
- Help the student see how this discreet skill learned today is part of the bigger picture that will develop over time.
- Notify the parents of any changes with the student.

**Recommended Resources**About Dyscalculia. Org

http://aboutdyscalculia.org/index.html

Perles, Karen. Bright Hub –

*Classroom Strategies to Help Students with Dyscalculia*http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/59400.aspx

National Center for Learning Disabilities – Dyscalculia

http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-aamp-language/ld-aamp-math/dyscalculia

NLD Ontario -

*Dyscalculia*http://www.nldontario.org/articles/dyscalculia.html

Teaching Expertise.com –

*Responding to the Needs of Pupils with Dyscalculia*http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/responding-needs-pupils-dyscalculia-370