While most people are familiar with the term ‘dyslexia’, the term ‘dyscalculia’ is used less frequently. Dyscalculia describes a disorder in math. Specifically, it involves difficulty doing calculation, understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers and learning facts in mathematics. Another name for dyscalculia is a Specific Learning Disorder – Mathematics.
Last week, we shared some of the early signs of dyslexia. This week, we share some questions you can ask when trying to work out if your primary school-aged child is at risk of dyscalculia.
1. Difficulty Counting – Can your child count in their head? Do they go slowly or skip numbers when counting aloud? What happens when they are counting on their fingers? When counting objects, can they ‘count on’, from a known number, or do they start from scratch? (e.g. if adding 5 + 3, do they go “5 . . . 6, 7, 8” or do they start at 1 and go “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . 6, 7, 8.”)?
2. Difficulty sorting and organizing – How tricky does your child find it to sort and match shapes? What about telling left from right? Can your child tell time and judge accurately the passage of time?
3. Difficulty with number recall from print – Can your child associate a quantity with a standard form digit? For example, if they count five dots on a domino aloud, can they point to a written digit 5 or write it themselves?
4. Difficulty with understanding numbers as quantities - Does your child understand that bigger numbers are made up of smaller numbers. For example, do they understanding that 10 is made up of six and four. Can they grasp place value and visualize numbers evenly on a mental number line?
5. Severe anxiety in relation to math – Is your child showing anxiety or lacking confidence in their ability in math? Do they appear reluctant to take part in games and activities if they involve math based skills? Are real world activities involving money anxiety-provoking for your child? (e.g. giving the right money to make a purchase in a shop.)
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s math ability after reading through these questions, have a chat to your child’s teacher. If you are still concerned, feel free to contact us for more information or to inquire about an assessment.
With thanks for these ideas from Chelsea Buchanan and Chrisy Clapp, from C & C Educational Solutions.