REVIEWED BY NUMBERDYSLEXIA’S EXPERT PANEL ON AUG. 10, 2020
Often left undiagnosed behind dyslexia, Dyscalculia is the math’s and mathematical operations’ learning difficulty. This difficulty can stay with person throughout life. A dyscalculic person finds it difficult to recognize and count numbers; also, they cannot do mental math or judge distance or height, or deal with currency bills. This learning disorder has nothing to do with intelligence quotient of a person. Dyscalculics may have different ways of dealing with mathematics; it is just that their brains do not recognize numbers or retain math concepts like that of normal people.
Important types of Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia is not restricted only to difficulty of doing numerical operations in head. As the person is exposed to more situations while growing up, the other kinds of difficulties start surfacing. Here are a few typical types of Dyscalculia that have been reported in people:
- Verbal Dyscalculia: The person affected by this disorder finds it difficult to write the numbers or equations when dictated to him/her. They are okay with writing numbers by copying from some source, but when they are instructed verbally, the results do not come out as expected. They also cannot name the operational signs or numbers.
- Ideognostical Dyscalculia: One session of learning math numbers and operations goes fine; but when asked to repeat what happened in the previous session, they are not able to recollect. The retention of calculation concepts in mind is close to nil.
- Lexical Dyscalculia: This is exactly opposite to verbal dyscalculia. When asked to write the number or do operations by copying the numbers or signs through visual medium, a lexically dyscalculic person just gives up. However, they are capable of doing the operations instructed verbally to them.
- Operational Dyscalculia: Numbers are no problem, but the mathematical symbols and operations are. They cannot understand operational symbols and their corresponding functions when written or spoken to them . Operationally dyscalculic person can differentiate between bigger and smaller numbers, but they can’t manipulate and perform mathematical operations like +,-, x and others.
- Graphical Dyscalculia: Performing the calculations mentally is possible to do for a person with graphical dyscalculia. However, they find it difficult to identify or complete the mathematical operations when presented in written form to them. They cannot read or write or identify/perform mathematical operations symbols and formulae.
- Practognostic Dyscalculia: This dyscalculia refers to inability to differentiate between quantity and values of things they come across in daily life.
Mentioned above are the Kosc’s classification of Dyscalculia that resulted from a study conducted in Czechoslovakia. Many of these types are not identified clearly in one go. By observing subjects over time, the researchers find about the difficulties which may or may not be present in people having signature symptoms of this disorder.
Common types of Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia is referred to Number Dyslexia or Math Dyslexia to simplify its meaning for a layman. The common difficulties pertaining to math learning disorder are:
- Mathematical computation disorder – It is same as quantitative dyscalculia where students cannot understand and learn numbers and their operations.
- Mathematical reasoning disorder – It is a broader term and includes all the typical types of Dyscalculia mentioned above. The other types that comprise mathematical reasoning disorder are:
- Sequential Dyscalculia: It refers to counting numbers in a sequence. Common activities like time-keeping, determining orientation and measuring things become difficult to understand when someone has sequential dyscalculia.
- Acalculia: Loss or absence of number intelligence caused due to brain injury or stroke. It can develop in very later stages of the life as well when the mental capacity of a person drains out due to old age. Such people cannot do any kind of mathematical operations and interpretations.
To sum up,
Dyscalculia is different from dyslexia. There is a huge list of symptoms that can help you locate a dyscalculic person. Some very common symptoms to quote are:
- Using fingers even in grade IV and above to count and add
- Difficulty with mental math
- Conspicuous and more profound math scare
- Difficulty keeping time or score
- Difficulty judging weight and size
Avoiding maths to an extent that the student starts feeling suffocated in a math class is something that goes beyond scare. A little diagnosis and patient approach are a must to ensure that dyscalculia does not remain hidden behind other characteristic symptoms, and pose problems in life at a later stage.
Khing, Bweyhunle (2016, December). Dyscalculia: Its Types, Symptoms, Causal Factors,
and Remedial Programmes. Retrieved from http://ndpublisher.in/admin/issues/LCV7N3b.pdf