The term ‘dyscalculia’ refers to a math learning disability. The screening test for this learning disability are designed in such a way that the individual’s understanding of the concepts of mathematics and ability to use them to solve simple and advanced-level problems can be tested.
Just as a child affected by dyslexia finds reading to be a herculean task, a child affected by dyscalculia (math learning disability) faces great difficulty in comprehending mathematical concepts. The problem lies in the inability of such children to visually process the arithmetic symbols. This learning disability can be identified with the help of screening tests.
The causes of this disability are still unknown. It could be attributed to structural brain abnormalities. Well, whatever be the cause, it turns mathematics into a completely incomprehensible subject. If parents and teachers have some idea about the symptoms of this learning disability, this condition can be diagnosed at an early stage. Most of the time, parents and teachers think that the child is making mistakes because he/she is not attentive enough.
Though many of us would find mathematics extremely difficult, the difficulty faced by such children arises from the fact that they cannot visually process arithmetic symbols. These children also have a tough time with sequencing the information. They find it very difficult to understand number facts or mathematical formulas. Due to this reason, this learning disability is also referred to as numerical blindness.
Since they cannot visualize numbers, they might face difficulty while reading clocks. They might face problems in simple mathematical calculations. Their understanding of concepts such as speed, distance, time, and direction can be seriously affected. If a child is exhibiting these symptoms, he/she should take a dyscalculia screening test.
If you feel that your child is facing a lot of difficulty in mathematics, he/she can take an online test. Dyscalculia Screener is a computer-based assessment that can help in the diagnosis of this learning disability. This test can be taken by children who are in the age group of six to fourteen years. This test can help in identifying a child’s inability to understand simple mathematical processes. Arithmetic achievement, number comparison, and dot enumeration are the three core aspects in the test.
Since, the assessment is done on the basis of the speed of response to the mathematical problems, a test on simple reaction time is also included. The screener also contains a set of guidelines for the identification of this disability. It also contains some information about products that can be used to provide assistance to children affected by this disability. If the test scores indicate that a child might be affected, you can also consult an educational psychologist for an assessment.
Once the problem areas have been identified, both parents and teachers must help the child learn mathematical concepts. Since most of these children might have poor long-term memory of concepts, repeated reinforcement and practice of such concepts will help them. Revision will allow the retention of the concepts in their memory, which will help them retrieve the information as and when required.
Parents and teachers can also go through books to find out more about ways to teach mathematics to such children. Since such children have a tough time processing arithmetic symbols and formulas visually, you can use different methods to help them picture the symbols in their mind. One can also make use of CDs, DVDs, or multi-sensory brain training programs for providing help to affected children.
If your child is having a very tough time learning simple mathematical concepts, let him/her take the screening test. If this learning disability is diagnosed at an early stage, you can follow the treatment guidelines given by experts and help such children cope with this learning disability.