What is common to inventor Thomas Edison, singer-actress Cher, author Hans Christian Anderson and Albert Einstein? All of them were dyscalculics. That is, their ability to grasp mathematical skills was severely impaired. The term is derived from the Greek word ‘dys’ - meaning ‘bad’, and the Latin word ‘calculia’ - meaning ‘calculations’. Dyscalculia is a lesser known disorder even though 4 to 6 per cent of the people the world over are afflicted by it. A dyscalculic child may possess normal IQ levels and have no difficulty in speaking, reading and writing, but s/he cannot process fundamental arithmetical functions like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. It becomes difficult for the sufferer to grasp mathematical skills and s/he ends up making ‘silly mistakes’ by mixing up the numbers.The inability to visually process signs and symbols makes it impossible for a dyscalculic to sequence or organize information. No wonder, then, that applying mathematical principles would be nothing short of a herculean task for them.
Dyscalculia can be recognized in your child if s/he repeatedly fares poorly in mathematics given her/his intelligence, age and education. It does not imply that your child is mentally retarded. It only means that the conventional way of teaching and learning math is not suitable for her/him. Hence, you need to adopt a different approach in teaching mathematical skills to your child. Dyscalculia can make people, especially children, feel extremely inferior because they have trouble doing the smallest of things like telling the time, reading maps, writing a phone number, etc. It is essential to identify the symptoms of dyscalculia early. Though the exact cause is still not known, it is believed that genetic and environmental factors have a role in causing this disorder. Timely intervention helps prevent a permanent dent on the child’s self-esteem. For this, you should first understand the behavior symptomatic to this learning disability. Read on to know more on the symptoms of dyscalculia.
Signs & Symptoms Of Dyscalculia
- If your child is around five to seven years of age and is still unable to count correctly to 10, it is a tell-tale sign of dyscalculia.
- Your child will be confused while reading clocks. Her/his time and direction sense will be muddled.
- S/he may have a tough time associating numbers with quantity.
- A dyscalculic child can also get confused with the scores in games like cards or board games.
- There may be spatial trouble which may make it difficult for her/him to align numbers in proper columns.
- The child may have trouble with her/his sense of left-right orientation. They are quite prone to breaking the sequence of numbers and often carry out mathematical operations backwards.
- Dyscalculics usually demonstrate a flair for language skills. They can easily write and read the printed word. They are even good in areas of science and geometry where mathematical skills are not excessively required.
- Their poor athletic coordination makes it difficult for them to perform well in aerobics, dance and exercises. They have problems in remembering the sequence of the dance steps.