Understanding dyscalculia and what it’s like to live with it

What is the news?

Dyscalculia is a well-established Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) and about 6% of school-age children might be affected. But it doesn’t get diagnosed easily.

What is Dyscalculia?

It is a learning disability in math. People with this disease have trouble with math at many levels. They often struggle with key concepts like bigger vs. smaller.

Causes: The causes include, Genetic and heredity reasons, challenges in brain development, etc.

Signs and symptoms: The common signs include facing challenges in grasping the meaning of quantities or concepts like biggest vs. smallest, challenges in remembering math facts in school, like times tables and challenges in calculating money or money-product exchange. 

Impact of the disease: An estimated 5 to 10% of people in the world might have dyscalculia. However, it’s not clear whether dyscalculia is as common in girls as in boys.

In India, About 6% of school-age kids may have dyscalculia, but even many teachers are unaware of the condition.

What are the associated difficulties of Dyscalculia?

It is more than just difficulty with math. Many times, dyscalculia comes with other learning disorders, such as dyslexia or dysgraphia.

Note: Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. It causes problems with reading, writing and spelling. Dysgraphia is a term that refers to trouble with writing.

With Dyscalculia, there may be problems with working memory, making it hard to keep track of multiple instructions such as those in a cooking video. Often there are spatial and visual orientation deficits, for instance, imagining different perspectives or following directions.

How one can treat Dyscalculia?

The only way to get a diagnosis is through an evaluation. This can happen at any age. Evaluators use different tests for adults than for kids.

Individualised Education Programme: In this programme, a special educator will work with Dyscalculia affected persons using audio and visual teaching aids to explain the math concepts at his own pace.

The school might also give accommodations (permitting calculators) to make learning math easier.

Source: This post is based on the article “Understanding dyscalculia and what it’s like to live with it” published in the Indian Express on 26th October 2021.

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