Maths problems - Dyscalculia

March 13th, 2012 by Sara

What is Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia comes from Greek and Latin which means: "counting badly". The Greek prefix "dys" means "badly" and the Latin word Calculia comes from "calculare" which means "to count".

Dyscalculia is considered to be a learning disability involving the inability to understand maths. Although maths disabilities can be a consequence of brain injury, (acalculia) the vast majority of children diagnosed with dyscalculia are known to be of genetic or developmental origin.

Statistics suggest that between 3 and 6% of the population suffer with Dyscalculia in the UK without suffering from any other learning disability (i.e. dyslexia)

Below are a few symptoms that may indicate that your child could possibly suffer from this disability.

  • Your child finds it hard to read an analogue clock.
  • You child reverses numbers: 54 for 45 or 124 for 421.
  • Difficulty with addition, subtraction and multiplication.
  • Confusion between left and right.
  • Inability to visualize mentally.
  • Difficulty keeping scores during games.
  • Your child has exceptional writing abilities but struggles with numbers in general.
  • Your child finds it hard to memorize mathematical concepts, rules or sequences.
  • Lack of concentration with intensive tasks.
  • Confusion over mathematical symbols: +, ÷, x for example.
  • Extreme phobia to maths and mathematical devices.

What help does a child with dyscalculia need?

Multi-sensory teaching methods.

Providing your child with additional supplies such as graph paper and coloured pencils can help your child tackle their maths problems. Using visual aids such as drawing pictures, providing coloured beads, coins or other small objects can also help your child with simple problem solving tasks such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Extra time.

Dyscalculia tends to be associated with a negative self-image as a learner of maths, so anything that builds confidence and self-esteem is likely to be helpful. A child with dyscalculia will not simply catch up on their own - they need extra help as soon as possible.

Most children that suffer with dyscalculia or any other learning difficulty will benefit from one to one private tuition. A tutor can analyse specific issues that your child encounters when tackling problem solving tasks and adapt the learning techniques accordingly. If you are looking for a tutor specialized in learning difficulties, choose our "special needs" field as subject to find a tutor in your local area.