Dyscalculia is a learning difference in one or multiple aspects of mathematics. Diagnosis of dyscalculia involves review of history and current concerns by report, integrated with quantitative data from standardized testing. It is important that the testing includes screening for commonly co-occurring learning differences such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. The testing must also include assessment of the cognitive fundamentals of mathematics including working memory, processing speed, spatial aptitude, and fluid reasoning.
There are two main clinical presentations of dyscalculia, one involving a circumscribed relative weakness for number processing (working memory, mental arithmetic, math fact automaticity, and calculations), and one involving a slightly more complex cognitive profile with relative deficits in spatial reasoning and spatial memory.
Common presenting concerns. Dyscalculia is a learning difference in mathematics that starts in childhood and persists into adulthood. The following is a list of symptoms that may be apparent in both children and adults. People with dyscalculia often report trouble in the following areas:
- Learning the number line
- learning basic math facts to automaticity
- learning math procedures like multiple digit addition/subtraction or long division
- understanding the concepts of fractions and percentages
- Understanding negative numbers concepts
- Reading charts and graphs
- Reading time on an analogue clock
- Completing math tests on time
- Managing money
- Estimating amounts/quantities
- Estimating time/predicting the amount of time something will take
Common underlying cognitive aspects.
- Working memory/mental math
- Processing Speed
- Visual spatial
- Fluid reasoning
- Use of calculator
- Zone of proximal development - start at current point of mastery
- Do not move on to next level skill without mastery of prerequisite skills
- Use manipulatives like blocks
- Number line posted easy visual access
- Teach procedures by errorless repetition
- Extended time
- Visual reference for multiplication tables
Be aware of anxiety than often accompanies dyscalculia and avoid putting the student on the spot for math problems.
Other individualized recommendations can be provided depending on your neurocognitive test score profile.