General, Research, Technology

Causes and Treatment of Dyscalculia - Disability in Mathematics

There are many reasons why a capablethe student does not understand math, including poor school environment, attention disorders, and anxiety. But some children have a specific math learning disability known as developmental dyscalculia, to which scientists are increasingly focusing. Dyscalculia is defined as a condition involving prolonged, severe difficulty with mathematics. They often cause significant problems with academic or professional performance, or with daily activities. Some of the typical signs of dyscalculia, researchers attribute to the difficulty of using calendars and clocks, remembering the order of past events and sequential execution of instructions. This condition, like dyslexia, is lifelong and continues to affect people into adulthood.

As it turned out, people with dyscalculia count on their fingers, do not understand fractions and do not know the multiplication table.

What is dyscalculia?

Discover quoted Edward Hubbard as saying,a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin that people with dyscalculia have a hard time telling if seven is more than five. While dyscalculia is a very rare condition, it is about as common as the similar reading disorder dyslexia, but has not been adequately researched.

From calculating a tip in a restaurant to followinginstructions - the ability to understand numbers is essential to functional life. According to the results of a study conducted in the UK back in 2013, people in their 30s who count on fingers, as a rule, do not have higher education, are more often unemployed, have problems with the law and with health. Dyscalculia is severe in that despite flashcards, computer games, math songs and additional activities people suffering from it cannot truly understand the numbers.

However, now, thanks to advances in methodsvisualizing the brain and improving understanding of numerical cognition in general, new ideas began to emerge about the inability of some people to math. The researchers traced the dyscalculia all the way to the back of the brain, known as the intra-parietal sulcus, or IPC. This area of ​​the brain is critical for perceiving and roughly comparing quantities — say, a group of dots on a page or a peak on a playing card.

Boys are twice as likely to have dyslexia as girls (and girls are dyscalculia)

Intra-parietal sulcus (IPS) located on the lateral surface of the parietal lobeand consists of inclined and horizontal parts. IPS has been proposed to play a role in other functions, including processing symbolic numerical information, visuospatial orientation of working memory, and interpreting the intentions of others.

In a 2007 study, scientists scannedthe brains of children with dyscalculia as they counted the number of squares displayed on the screen. When asked to determine where there are more squares, children with dyscalculia made more mistakes and responded more slowly than healthy children in the control group. In addition, unlike their peers, children with dyscalculia showed no difference in IPC activation when they compared pairs of numbers that were closer or farther apart. The study authors suggested that the brain of such children is not as effective at recognizing the relative distance between numbers. Other scientists have since found similar effects.

Further study of dyscalculia wasit was found that the ability to distinguish between different quantities from each other appears at the age of 6 months. Moreover, some scientists suggest that in some cases the brain associates the perception of quantity with numerical symbols, such as Arabic numerals, or with the way it associates numbers with verbal or spatial processes.

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Signs and symptoms of dyscalculia

Dyscalculia can occur in people regardless of IQ range, along with difficulty with timing, measurement, and spatial reasoning. Estimates of the prevalence of dyscalculia range from 3% to 6% of the population. In 2015, it was found that 11% of children with dyscalculia were also diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Given the importance of math skills in everyday life, there is a need to develop ways to reliably identify children with special learning difficulties related to math

Researchers note that dyscalculia often looks different at different ages, however, symptoms may appear as early as preschool age. Common symptoms of dyscalculia are:

  • Difficulty understanding the time on the analogue clock;
  • Failure to understand financial planning or budgeting, sometimes even at a basic level; for example, estimate the value of items in a shopping cart;
  • Difficulty with the multiplication table, doing mental calculations, etc .;
  • Errors in writing, reading and memorizing numbers;
  • Difficulty distinguishing between left and right;
  • A “distorted” sense of spatial perception, or an understanding of shape, distance, or volume, which is more like guesswork than real understanding;
  • Difficulty following instructions, scheduling and keeping track of time;
  • Difficulty mentally assessing the measurement of an object or distance (for example, if something is three or six meters away);
  • Failure to understand and remember mathematical concepts, rules, formulas, and sequences;
  • Poor memory for names or faces;
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    Mathematical disorders can result from some types of traumatic brain injury, in which case the correct term is "Acalculia" must distinguish it from dyscalculia, which is congenital, genetic or environmentally induced.