As with dyslexia, this term dyscalculia is not commonly used in public school systems but is rather referred to as a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) in math. The symptoms vary from person to person, may be evident in preschool or not show up until complex math courses emerge, and will look different at different stages of life. Dyscalculia is not the same as math anxiety, but the disorder can produce math anxiety.
Dyscalculia is a math learning disability that makes it difficult to do math or math related tasks, is not a result of a lack of opportunity to learn, and is found in children with average to above average intellect. Children with dyscalculia have trouble with number sense, memorization of math facts, accurate and fluent calculation, and accurate math reasoning.
- Has trouble learning and recalling basic math facts
- Still uses fingers to count instead of using more advanced strategies (like mental math)
- Confuses math signs (-, +, x, >, <)
- Confuses concepts of greater than and less than
- Has trouble with place value, often putting numbers in the wrong column
- Difficulty telling time on an analog clock
- Difficulty distinguishing right from left
- Struggles with math concepts like commutativity (3 + 5 is the same as 5 + 3) and inversion (being able to solve 3 + 26 ‒ 26 without calculating
- Struggles with word problems, math reasoning, understanding math language
- Has a hard time figuring out the total cost of things and keeping track of money (like on a lunch account)
- Avoids situations that require understanding numbers like games that involve math
- Struggles to read charts and graphs
- Has trouble applying math concepts to money, like making exact change and figuring out a tip
- Has trouble measuring things like ingredients in a recipe and easily forgets conversions
- Difficulty with activities that require understanding speed, distance, and directions (may get lost)
- Has trouble finding different approaches to the same math problem, like adding the length and width of a rectangle and doubling the answer to solve for the perimeter (rather than adding all the sides)
- Remembering common numbers (Social Security, phone, license, address & zip code)
- Doing basic math (figuring tips, making change, figuring hourly wages to pay for a service)
- Computing distances when traveling, especially crossing over time zones; may over/underestimate travel times
- slow down, plan ahead to avoid rushing
- manage stress with a calming environment, headset with music, or other personally calming strategies
- compensate by using a phone calculator, carrying a tip card that has all tips prefigured
- use a GPS
- keep all critical numbers recorded somewhere with easy access
7. Teach the language of time. Deliberately talk about the language of time by pointing out vocabulary: second, minute, hour, day, week, weekly, monthly, yearly, annual, annually, decade, century, four score (set of 20 years), fortnight (14 days/2 weeks), century, centuries, first century, and centennial.
8. Teach concepts of time through calculations, planning, planners, calendars, task analysis, & estimation. Make clocks, show times with arms, use visual timers, and clocks, have your child wear a watch (not digital), and practice computing time.
9. Use assistive technology when applicable to support your child’s learning.
10. Implement occupational therapy strategies.
- Dyscalculia https://www.dyscalculia.org/home
- Learning Abled Kids https://learningabledkids.com/
- Attitude https://www.additudemag.com/
- Math curriculum suggested and reviews https://learningabledkids.com/mathematics/mathematics.htm
- More math programs described https://www.dyscalculia.org/math-tools