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Dyscalculia: The Misunderstood Learning Disorder PowerPoint Presentation
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Dyscalculia: The Misunderstood Learning Disorder

Dyscalculia: The Misunderstood Learning Disorder

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Dyscalculia: The Misunderstood Learning Disorder

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    1. Dyscalculia: The Misunderstood Learning Disorder National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2008 Regional Conference and Exposition Reno, Nevada November 6, 2008

    2. Speaker Information Kay Haralson, Associate Professor/Activity Coordinator, Student Success Specialist, Title III Grant, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN, Dr. Loretta Griffy, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN,

    3. Definitions of Dyscalculia The complexity of numerical processing has made defining what it means to have a specific mathematical learning disability (dyscalculia) difficult. (Butterworth, 2003) No universal definition (a few samples) Difficulties in performing mathematics calculations of certain types ( An unexpected difficulty that some people have in dealing with mathematical problems (Attwood) Having huge problems in math, in spite of being of normal intelligence (

    4. Definitions of Dyscalculia A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetic skills. Dyscalculia learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence. (The Department of Education and Skills, London, 2001) A term referring to a wide range of life-long learning difficulties involving math. There is no single form of math disability, and difficulties vary from person to person and affect people differently in school and throughout life. (

    5. Diagnostic Criteria for Mathematics Disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, American Psychiatric Association) Mathematical ability, as measured by individually administered standardized tests, is substantially below that expected given the persons chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education. The math difficulties significantly interfere with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require mathematical ability. If a sensory deficit is present, the difficulties in mathematics ability are in excess of those usually associated with it.

    6. Skills Impaired in Mathematics Disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, American Psychiatric Association) Linguistic skills: understanding or naming mathematical terms, operations, or concepts, and decoding written problems into mathematical symbols Perceptual skills: recognizing or reading numerical symbols or arithmetic signs and clustering objects into groups Attention skills: copying numbers or figures correctly, remembering to add in carried numbers, and observing operational signs Mathematical skills: following sequences of mathematical steps, counting objects, and learning multiplication tables

    7. Underlying Causes Possible genetic anomaly, there is a strong genetic influence on the development of mathematical skills. ( It is thought that the ability to do math resides in the parietal lobe of the brain. One study in the United Kingdom provides evidence that dyscalculia is caused by malformations in this portion of the brain. (,

    8. Underlying Causes Visual-spatial difficulties-trouble processing what the eye sees. ( Weakness in visual processing of numbers and mathematical situations. ( Auditory processing difficulties - trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears. (

    9. Underlying Causes ( Attention deficits Memory problems Information processing deficits Motor disabilities Problems with sequencing, organizing information Problems with understanding concepts and symbols

    10. Prevalence of Dyscalculia Dyscalculia is just as prevalent as dyslexia and ADHD; around 5% of the population ( 5-8% of school age children (Strauss, 2003) 3-6% of population ( 6-7% of school age children ( 1% of all children ( 1% of all school age children have Mathemtics Disorder (DSM-IV-TR, 2000) 5-6% of all children (Adler, 2001)

    11. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age Young Children (, There may be an impaired sense of number size, affecting the comparison of numbers, etc. Difficulty learning to count Trouble recognizing printed numbers Difficulty with connecting the idea of a number with what it represents in the real world

    12. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age Young Children ( Poor memory for numbers Trouble organizing things in a logical way, sorting by shape, size, color, etc. Trouble recognizing groups and patterns Trouble comparing and contrasting, smaller/larger, taller/shorter

    13. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age School Age Children ( Trouble learning math facts Difficulty developing math problem solving skills Will not notice visual patterns such as 10, 20, 30. Poor long term memory for math functions Not familiar with math vocabulary Difficulty with measuring things

    14. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age School Age Children ( Avoiding games that require strategy Visual-spatial difficulties hinder comprehension of written mathematics Difficulties reading a clock Problems with time perceptions, leads to problems with planning time required to complete a task

    15. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age School Age Children ( Relies on tangible supports such as fingers, tally marks Slowness in given answers to math questions Difficulty with estimation and approximation Difficulty recognizing what arithmetical operation is required in a problem Easily overloaded with pages/worksheets full of figures

    16. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age Teenagers and Adults ( Difficulty estimating cost (shopping, groceries) Difficulty learning math concepts beyond basic math facts Poor ability to budget or balance a check book Trouble with concepts of time, such as going by a schedule or approximating time

    17. Symptoms or Warning Signs by Age Teenagers and Adults ( Trouble with mental math Difficulty finding different approaches to one problem Trouble with visualizing patterns, different parts of a math problem, or identifying critical information needed in problem solving

    18. Dyscalculia: The Misunderstood Learning Disorder Signs That Difficulties With Math are Beyond Normal (,,, Good in verbal skills, but difficulty with math skills Good memory for printed words, but difficulty reading numbers or recalling numbers in sequence Good with general math concepts, but frustrated when specific computation or organization skills need to be used Difficulty with position and spatial organization

    19. Signs That Difficulties With Math are Beyond Normal (,, Trouble with the concept of time: late, doesnt remember schedules, cant approximate how long a task will take, confused on past/future events Poor sense of direction, confusion on left/right orientation Reliance on imitation and rote learning instead of understanding

    20. Signs That Difficulties With Math are Beyond Normal (,, Poor long term memory, will know math facts one day, not remember the next Easily disoriented and easily confused by changes in routine Fails to see big financial picture History of academic failure contributing to the development of learned helplessness in mathematics

    21. Identifying Dyscalculia (, Should include a one-to-one mathematics interview, including the use of manipulatives, i.e. coins, base ten block, geoboards, Cuisenaire rods, tangrams, calculator. The interview should: * focus on how the child does the mathematics * explore the childs ability to compute, make predictions based on understanding patterns, sort in a logical way, organize space with flexibility, and to measure

    22. Identifying Dyscalculia (, * note strengths and weaknesses * note whether child talks to herself, draws a picture to help understand a situation, asks for problem to be repeated * see if child has the capacity to estimate before doing computations

    23. Identifying Dyscalculia (, There are no universally accepted tests for diagnosing dyscalculia, however some tests have been developed: Dyscalculia Screener, developed by Prof. Brian Butterworth in London, is a computer-based assessment that indicates dyscalculia tendencies by measuring pupils response time as well as the accuracy of their answers. ( On-line diagnosis: The diagnosis does not carry official status, but you can obtain a letter of diagnosis, cost of $625.

    24. Identifying Dyscalculia (, The Dyscalculia Centre provides a list of various diagnostic tools to evaluation students for dyscalculia at the following website including: Quick test: A list of 24 points to look for Comparative test: Provided in the book Tests of Dyscalculia by Tony Attwood. Computer test: Dyscalculia Screener Educational psychologist test: Test done by a private psychologist

    25. Strategies to Help Students with Dyscalculia (,, First step must be to identify a students strengths and weaknesses, understand how a student learns best Use tutoring outside the classroom, with a one-on-one instructor Provide a distraction free place to work Encourage repeated reinforcement and specific practice

    26. Strategies to Help Students with Dyscalculia (,, Use graph paper to organize work and ideas Use different approaches to memorizing math facts, formulas, rules, etc. Practice estimating as a first step to solve a problem Encourage students to work hard to visualize math problems, draw pictures, look at diagrams, etc.

    27. Strategies to Help Students with Dyscalculia (,, Encourage verbalizing while problem solving, this uses auditory skills which may be a strength Try to relate problems to real life experiences Provide uncluttered worksheets, preferably lined Use rhythm or music to help memorize math facts, etc.

    28. Strategies to Help Students with Dyscalculia (,, If possible, let student take tests one-on-one in the instructors presence. Allow extra time to complete work if needed Be aware if students become panicky, provide reassurance Monitor student progress on a frequent basis

    29. Strategies to Help Students with Dyscalculia (,, Teach important concepts to mastery If needed, allow calculator use for basic operations to allow focus on problem solving BE PATIENT- Math can be a traumatic experience and is highly emotional because of past failures.

    30. References Adler, Bjorn. What is Dyscalculia?, 2001, Attwood, Tony. Dyscalculia and Dyslexia, Two different issues, or part of the same problem, First and Best in Education, Ltd., The British Dyslexia Association, Butterworth, Brian., Yeo, D. Dyscalculia Guidance, nferNelson, London, 2004. Chinn, Steve. Dealing with Dyscalculia, Sum Hope2, Souvenir Press, London, England, 2007.

    31. References Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC, 2000. The Dyscalculia Centre, Geary, David C. Mathematics Disabilities, What We Know and Dont Know,

    32. References Mercer, Cecil D. and Susan P. Miller, Educational Aspects of Mathematics Disabilities, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol 30, No. 1, pp 47-56, Jan/Feb 1997, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Strauss, Valerie. Trying to Figure Out Why Math is So Hard for Some, Theories Abound: Genetics, Gender, How Its Taught, Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2003,

    33. References West Virginia University, Wright, C. Christina. Learning Disabilities in Mathematics, Dyscalculia more common than dyslexia study Provides information about ordering testing materials. On dyslexia, dyscalculia and language impairments

    34. References Information about testing Math Learning Disability Resource United Kingdom Dyscalculia website Info from Cognitive Centre Sweden Provides information about Dyscalculia Screener Study is breakthrough for dyscalculia sufferers

    35. References Interview with Brian Butterworth on The Mathematical Brain. March 2000. Strategies for Changing Behavior website Dyscalculia: Numbers, numbers everywhere . . . Born Good at maths?

    36. To obtain a copy of this power point presentation go to: and click on Dyscalculia Presentation or email Kay at Thank you for your attention!