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Dyscalculia

Read on to know more about the symptoms and the possible causes of dyscalculia...
The word 'Dyscalculia' is a combination of the Greek 'dys' which means 'badly' and the Latin verb 'calculere' which means 'to count'.

Dyscalculia is a condition where a person has difficulty in comprehending mathematics. It is a fundamental inability to understand numbers as abstract concepts of comparative quantities. It is also explained to be the non-understanding of what is known as the 'number sense'.

This disability occurs in people across all IQ ranges and is also referred to as 'Arithmetic Difficulties' or 'AD'. The patients who suffer from Dyscalculia often also have trouble with measurement of time and spatial reasoning.

Dyscalculia can be diagnosed at a young age. The measures taken to ease the problems include a different style of teaching mathematics to these students.

The symptoms of Dyscalculia are:
  • Difficulties understanding the mathematical operators such as the plus, minus, multiplication and division symbols.
  • Confusing S with 5 or inability to distinguish between an O and a zero (0).
  • Difficulty in telling which of two given integers is larger from the other.
  • Difficulty in checking change, balancing checkbooks, budgeting and mental arithmetic.
  • Difficulty in reading analog clocks.
  • Difficulty in conceptualizing time and inability to judge the passing of time.
  • Problems with 'left' and 'right' and inability to judge directions such as 'north', 'south', 'east' and 'west' even with the help of a compass. This may cause difficulty in reading and understanding maps.
  • Inability to keep score during games.
  • Rotating numbers. For example, 36 may become 63.
  • Difficulty in athletic coordination such as in dance steps, or aerobic exercises.
The probable causes of Dyscalculia are:

Although a lot of research has been conducted to find out the reasons for this disorder, no cause has been identified for Dyscalculia. However, the research does point out that Dyscalculia has its origins in lesions to the area between the junction of the temporal and parietal lobes of the cerebral cortex. There have also been indications that this may be a congenital or a hereditary disease, but there is no concrete evidence to support these indications.

Whatever the cause of this disorder, it is most certainly something that the patient can learn to handle. With the right kind of teaching, the person suffering from Dyscalculia can learn how to cope with the problem and tackle these basic tasks efficiently and effectively.
By Madhavi Ghare
Last Updated: 10/15/2011
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