Mathematics, the mention of this word can surely make many of us feel jittery. Some might even develop a math phobia. However, one must never confuse the fear of maths with a math learning disability. In medical terminology, math learning disability is referred to as dyscalculia. This condition is somewhat similar to dyslexia. While dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a person's ability to read, dyscalculia affects one's ability to understand mathematical concepts and recognize mathematical symbols. People suffering from this learning disability find it very difficult to understand simple mathematical problems. To them, mathematical symbols or numbers seem to be completely incomprehensible. What causes dyscalculia? How can this math learning disability be treated? Let's find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of dyscalculia.
Causes and Symptoms of Dyscalculia
Though many of us would consider mathematics to be a difficult subject, not being able to excel at mathematics due to a dislike or a lack of interest in the subject is completely incomparable to dyscalculia. Mathematical reasoning or clarity of mathematical concepts can be acquired through practice, but how will one practice or solve mathematical problems when one cannot visualize the mathematical symbols? Wondering what causes this inability to visually process symbols or numbers? Well, the exact causes of dyscalculia are still unknown. It is believed that dyscalculia might be a congenital defect. It might be linked to abnormal functioning of certain areas of the brain. The underlying cause might be traced to genetics.
One of the most common symptoms exhibited by people suffering from this disability is an inability to visualize arithmetic symbols and numbers. Their understanding of the subject is deeply affected as they find it hard to learn and recall number facts or arithmetic rules. They find it hard to sequence or navigate back and forth between numbers. They might struggle while solving simple problems that require addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, transposition or substitution. Such people might have trouble reading analog clocks or using calculators. They might not be able to comprehend the concepts related to distance, speed, direction and time. In case of adults, an inability to mentally visualize numbers or perform simple calculations, creates a great fear, especially when it comes to making cash transactions. The level and type of difficulties will vary from person to person. Wondering whether these difficulties can be overcome? Let's find out about dyscalculia treatment options.
Treatment of Dyscalculia
An early diagnosis can be of great help in successful management of this special learning disability. If a child is having a very difficult time understanding arithmetic concepts and is often making mistakes, one must seek professional advice. If the child seems to be exhibiting symptoms of dyscalculia, efforts must be made to identify the problem areas. There is a need to look for ways to simplify the concepts with the help of different strategies. Both the parents and teachers must try to help such a child. One must be more patient with such children. Since they find it hard to visualize symbols and mathematical situations, one must use examples from real life situations so that such children can make a connection with symbols. Using charts, pictures or objects is a good idea, but make sure that you don't use it overtly. Too much visual information can confuse them even more. Treatment for dyscalculia might also involve the use of certain devices. Educational CDs or DVDs can be used for helping them memorize. It would be a good if such children receive guidance under an individualized education plan. Wondering how to treat adults with learning disabilities such as dyscalculia? Well, as far as dyscalculia treatment for adults is concerned, one can make use of special feature calculators. Both children and adults can make progress by following instructions used in multi-sensory brain training programs.
Children suffering from dyscalculia can surely overcome their fear of maths if they receive proper guidance and motivation. If both parents and teachers religiously follow the treatment guidelines and provide them with support, the symptoms can be managed to a great extent.