Dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysgraphia, … there are so many terms floating around! How do you know if your child could have it? And what can one do if they do have it?
What is Dyscalculia?
Let’s start with the definition, first. So, in simple terms, Dyscalculia is a condition that makes it hard to do math and tasks that involve math. While dyslexia relates to problems with reading and writing, dyscalculia is related to math and problems in understanding numbers. According to a study, around 3 to 7 percent of children and adults have dyscalculia. Though the introduction of match concepts early in their lives can help them improve math skills and manage the challenges, it’s advisable to look out for the signs. Here are a few signs that might help you to spot dyscalculia in your child and look for solutions to help them!
Grasping basic maths concepts is difficult for them
Do your children find it out to carry out basic math operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? If their understanding of these basic operators is not up to the mark and they aren’t able to perform basic arithmetic calculations, it is an early sign of having dyscalculia. If children use their fingers for the calculation of the simplest of problems, it is time for you to look into it and assess the issue. Dyscalculia is as common as dyslexia but it is not very easy to understand problem signs of the former. That’s because people with dyscalculia have trouble with maths in different ways. Signs vary from person to person.
Recognizing numbers is troublesome
Children may find it difficult to recognize numbers and number patterns. For example, if you ask them to hand over 3 lego blocks and they hand you a handful without counting them, then this could be a sign of dyscalculia. Also, if they use visual aids like fingers to count numbers when most children of the same age do so without any aids, it’s time for you to look for solutions that can help them overcome their problem with numbers.
They find it difficult to understand maths phrases
Another sign you can look out for is if children find it difficult to comprehend maths phrases. Do you notice them getting muddled between common phrases like ‘greater than’, ‘less than’ or ‘equal to’? This could be another sign of them being ‘dyscalculic’. If they frequently end up putting in the wrong operators or have problems in understanding math phrases, you should try to figure out why the problem is a recurring one.
Explaining math processes is a problem for them!
Do you notice children having trouble explaining the steps in a maths problem? Does it happen even for the simplest of math problems? It’s not unusual for children to have a hard time doing maths. But if they have problems with numbers and find it difficult to explain the most basic steps involved in solving a question, then this could be yet another sign of them having dyscalculia. If children find it hard to hold numbers in their head while doing even simple math problems,it might be time to dig deeper!
Problems in reconciling verbal or written cues and their math symbols
A very rare occurrence, but children might find it hard to reconcile a verbal or written cue (like the word ‘one’) and their respective math symbol ‘1’ in this case. They may find it difficult to interpret a verbal cue simply because their brain can’t find a relation between the cues and symbols. If it’s a perpetual habit they have while doing math, well, by now you know what the reason could be! A good example of this particular issue could be Ishan’s character from the movie ‘Taare Zameen Par.’!
Dyscalculia could be genetic too. Though there’s no definite cure for dyscalculia, it’s advisable to consult a learning specialist who can help your child with learning difficulties. Another way to help children is by speaking to your child’s teachers and getting them involved – to look for ways and means to overcome the problem. With repeated practice and review of maths concepts and getting familiar with numbers, parents can surely help their children overcome the problem.