Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is Dyscalculia?

Parents, Home Educators, and Teachers,

Does your child have trouble with math? I mean, very basic math?

And, you know there is nothing wrong because your child has trouble mainly with just this one subject? Your child might be five, fifteen, or twenty-five, and just doesn't get basic math concepts. They have difficulty telling time, counting money, figuring out multiplication tables, and you can just forget algebra. They can't understand written directions, read maps, and often can't recall the steps of how to do something just minutes after you have show them.

In fact, their short term memory in general is pretty bad.

You can't figure it out. Your child is not "dumb". In fact, they are ahead of everyone else in language arts. They actually achieve high scores in most things...just not math. Maybe they need to apply themselves more? Maybe they're just not paying attention?

Maybe this doesn't describe your child, but it describes YOU.

I need to tell you that your child may have an insidious learning disability that is actually more common than Dyslexia. It is insidious because it affects their ability to visually process numbers only, so your child excels in most other subjects, causing frustration and wonder. Your child's IQ is actually normal or higher. They are likely creative, poetic, and good with second languages.

They may have Dyscalculia, a learning disability that affects the visual processing of numbers and is recognized in the DSM-IV manual as the numerical cousin of Dyslexia, but Dyscalculia has not received nearly the same amount of attention and publicity.

4-6% of the world's population has Dyscalulia. Scientists are only now learning to effectively identify this learning disability.

They know it is likely caused by a malformation in the parietal lobes of the cerebral cortex. In other words, unless you have suffered head trauma, you are simply born this way.

As a Dyscalculic, I am deeply anguished when I meet teachers who are completely unaware that this learning disability exists. No one should have to spend years and years as I did, feeling stupid, until one day, well into college, a math professor expressed that a numerical learning disability might be a factor. If you think that anything I said here applies to one of your children or to yourself, then please take a moment to explore some of these links and educate yourself about Dyscalculia. The more you know, the better you can find learning startegies that will help your child.

One minute video about Dyscalculia:

How a Dyscalculic sees numbers:

I believe homeschooling in particular offers a unique advantage in identifying and working with learning disabilities. All that is needed is an awareness.

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