Clinton has never been formally diagnosed with Dyscalculia, but it has been something that has been talked about over the years and pondered. What makes it hard to disagnose is the fact that Clinton has overlapping challenges in the forms of Dyslexia and Dysgraphia and it would make sense that he could possibly have Dyscalculia. I chose to not put him through further intense testing because he is getting adequate supports in math and most likely the results would be borderline because of his other challenges.

“Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.” —William Paul Thurst

Dyscalculia is a condition that makes it hard to do math and tasks that involve math. It’s not as well known or as understood as dyslexia. But some experts believe it’s just as common. That means an estimated 5 to 10 percent of people might have dyscalculia. It’s not clear whether dyscalculia is as common in girls as in boys. Most experts think there’s no difference. (It’s also a myth that boys are better at math than girls.)

People don’t outgrow dyscalculia. Kids who have a hard time with math may continue to struggle with it as adults. But there are strategies that can help them improve math skills and manage the challenges. Difficulty with math happens at all levels. It can be as hard to learn addition as it is to learn algebra. Basic concepts like quantities can also be a challenge.

Common signs of dyscalculia include trouble:

  1. Number sense, counting, and numbers
    • Starting to count at a later age than siblings/classmates
    • Taking more time to memorize and learn to write the numerals
    • Counting on fingers instead of using math facts from memory
    • Using a number line is difficult, no representation in their memory
    • Larger numbers are often copied in the wrong order by children with dyscalculia
  2. Operations and procedures
    • Confusion over math concepts
    • Difficulty memorizing math facts, in particular multiplication tables
    • Repeated mistakes with Math vocabulary
    • ‘Misreading’ a number sentence: add instead of multiply etc.
    • Difficulty selecting essential information and choosing the operation in a word problem
  3. Measurement
    • Difficulty selecting the larger of two small quantities without counting
    • Issues with perception of shapes and relative sizes
    • Difficulty with changing to another unit (days – weeks, pints – gallons)
    • Confusion over telling time on a digital and an analog clock
    • Children with dyscalculia have difficulty making a rough guesstimate
  4. Behavioral characteristics
    • Uncomfortable with activities involving counting or numbers
    • Making wild guesses or just jotting down random numbers
    • Working slowly and inconsistently
    • Seems to ‘get it’ one day, ‘forgets’ it the next
    • Deliberately avoiding math tasks, while being OK with other subjects

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes dyscalculia. But they believe it’s at least partly due to differences in how the brain is structured and how it functions.

Here are two possible causes of dyscalculia:

Genes and heredity: Dyscalculia tends to run in families. Research shows that genetics may also play a part in problems with math.

Brain development: Brain imaging studies have shown some differences between people with and without dyscalculia. The differences have to do with how the brain is structured and how it functions in areas that are linked to learning skills. Researchers aren’t just looking into what causes dyscalculia. They’re also trying to learn if there are strategies that can help “rewire” the brain to make math easier. 

Accomodations for Dyscalculia in School:

  • Allow extra time on tests
  • Provide frequent checks during classwork
  • Keep sample problems on the board
  • Give students individual dry-erase boards to use at their desks
  • Use plenty of brightly colored, uncluttered reference charts and diagrams
  • Reduce the number of assigned problems
  • Whenever possible, allow calculator use
  • List the steps for multi-step problems and algorithms
  • www.ixl.com – this is perhaps the most helpful math website we have been given the gift of being set up with. It not only reads the questions and answers but provides pictures and illustrations with both the questions and answers. It provides a completely customizable curriculum for students in grades K-12, provides suggestions based on current performance and sends results to the teacher.

Accomodations for Dyscalculia in the Home:

  • Point out math wherever you can
  • Play math games
  • Work with your child on managing time
  • Help with homework
  • Be understanding
  • Post tables and charts prominently
  • Make use of planning technology

These are suggestions and some, all or none may work for you, but I can only speak on my experience and what has help myself and my son. The more knowledge we have the more we can help our children and students who need it. Math is everywhere there is no escaping it and that can be very overwhelming for those who struggle with Dyscalculia. The best tip I can offer is to be understanding and to be patient, pressure and criticism only increases anxiety and can make the symptoms worse. There is no cure, no magic solution but I have included some links which I hope you find helpful.

Resources