|Classification and external resources|
Dyscalculia is difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in Mathematics. It is generally seen as a specific developmental disorder like dyslexia.
Dyscalculia can occur in people from across the whole IQ range, often, but not always, involving difficulties with time, measurement, and spatial reasoning. Estimates of the prevalence of dyscalculia range between 3 and 6% of the population. A quarter of children with dyscalculia have ADHD.
Mathematical disabilities can occur as the result of some types of brain injury, in which case the proper term is acalculia, to distinguish it from dyscalculia which is of innate, genetic or developmental origin.
Mental disabilities specific to mathematics were originally identified in case studies with patients who suffered specific arithmetic disabilities as a result of damage to specific regions of the brain. More commonly, dyscalculia occurs developmentally, as a genetically linked learning disability which affects a person's ability to understand, remember, or manipulate numbers or number facts (e.g., the multiplication tables). The term is often used to refer specifically to the inability to perform arithmetic operations, but it is also defined by some educational professionals and cognitive psychologists such as Stanislas Dehaene and Brian Butterworth as a more fundamental inability to conceptualize numbers as abstract concepts of comparative quantities (a deficit in "number sense"), which these researchers consider to be a foundational skill, upon which other mathematic abilities build.
Dyscalculia comes from Greek and Latin which means: "counting badly". The prefix "dys" comes from Greek and means "badly". "Calculia" comes from the Latin "calculare", which means "to count". The word "calculare" comes from "calculus" (the diminutive of "calx", which means stone), which means "pebble" or one of the counters on an abacus.
Problems with counting
The earliest appearance of dyscalculia is typically a deficit in the ability to know, from a brief glance and without counting, how many objects there are in a small group (see subitizing). Human adults can subitize 3 or 4 objects. However, children with dyscalculia can subitize fewer objects and even when correct take longer to identify the number than their age-matched peers.
Dyscalculia involves frequent difficulties with everyday arithmetic tasks like the following:
- Difficulty reading analog clocks
- Difficulty stating which of two numbers is larger
- Inability to comprehend financial planning or budgeting, sometimes even at a basic level; for example, estimating the cost of the items in a shopping basket or balancing a checkbook
- Difficulty with multiplication-tables, and subtraction-tables, addition tables, division tables, mental arithmetic, etc.
- Difficulty with conceptualizing time and judging the passing of time. May be chronically late or early
- Problems with differentiating between left and right
- Inability to visualize mentally
- Difficulty reading musical notation
- Difficulty navigating or mentally "turning" the map to face the current direction rather than the common North=Top usage
- Having particular difficulty mentally estimating the measurement of an object or distance (e.g., whether something is 10 or 20 feet (3 or 6 meters) away).
- Inability to grasp and remember mathematical concepts, rules, formulae, and sequences
- Inability to concentrate on mentally intensive tasks
- Low latent inhibition, i.e. over-sensitivity to noise, smell, light and the inability to tune out, filtering unwanted information or impressions. Might have a well-developed sense of imagination due to this (possibly as cognitive compensation to mathematical–numeric deficits)
- Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. May substitute names beginning with same letter.
Search for causes
Scientists have yet to understand the causes of dyscalculia. They have been investigating in several domains.
- Neurological: Dyscalculia has been associated with lesions to brain such as the Brodmann area 40 and angular gyrus at the junction between the temporal and parietal lobes of the cerebral cortex.
- Deficits in working memory: Adams and Hitch argue that working memory is a major factor in mental addition. From this base, Geary conducted a study that suggested there was a working memory deficit for those who suffered from dyscalculia. However, working memory problems are confounded with general learning difficulties, thus Geary's findings may not be specific to dyscalculia but rather may reflect a greater learning deficit.
Other causes may be:
- Short-term memory being disturbed or reduced, making it difficult to remember calculations.
- Congenital or hereditary disorders. Studies show indications of this, but the evidence is not yet concrete.
- Gerstmann syndrome: dyscalculia is one of a constellation of symptoms acquired after damage to the angular gyrus.
Forms of educational therapy, such as neuro-sensory educational therapy, can be an effective treatment.
A study used transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) to the parietal lobe during numerical learning and demonstrated selective improvement of numerical abilities that was still present six months later.
- Butterworth, B (2010). "Foundational numerical capacities and the origins of dyscalculia". Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14 (12): 534–541. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2010.09.007. PMID 20971676.
- Butterworth, B; Varma, S; Laurillard, D (2011). "Dyscalculia: From brain to education". Science 332 (6033): 1049–1053. doi:10.1126/science.1201536. PMID 21617068.
- Shalev, Ruth. "Developmental Dyscalculia".
- Klingberg, Torkel (2013), The Learning Brain: Memory and Brain Development in Children, Oxford University Press, p. 68, ISBN 9780199917105.
- Dehaene, S. (1997). The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513240-3.
- Pollak, David (5 March 2009). Neurodiversity in Higher Education: Positive Responses to Specific Learning Differences. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 125-. ISBN 978-0-470-99753-6.
- Kosc, Ladislav, 1974, "Developmental dyscalculia," Journal of Learning Disabilities 7" 159-62.
- Fischer, B; Gebhardt, C; Hartnegg,, K (2008). "Subitizing and visual counting in children with problems in acquiring basic arithmetic skills". Optometry & Vision Development 39 (1): 24–9.
- Posner, Tamar (2008). Dyscalculic in the Making: Mathematical Sovereignty, Neurological Citizenship, and the Realities of the Dyscalculic. ProQuest. ISBN 978-1-109-09629-3.
- Levy, LM; Reis, IL; Grafman, J (August 1999). "Metabolic abnormalities detected by 1H-MRS in dyscalculia and dysgraphia". Neurology 53 (3): 639–41. doi:10.1212/WNL.53.3.639. PMID 10449137.
- Mayer, E; Martory, MD; Pegna, AJ; Landis, T et al. (June 1999). "A pure case of Gerstmann syndrome with a subangular lesion". Brain 122 (6): 1107–20. doi:10.1093/brain/122.6.1107. PMID 10356063.
- Adams, JW; Hitch, GJ (October 1997). "Working memory and children's mental addition". J Exp Child Psychol 67 (1): 21–38. doi:10.1006/jecp.1997.2397. PMID 9344485.
- Geary, DC (September 1993). "Mathematical disabilities: cognitive, neuropsychological, and genetic components". Psychol Bull 114 (2): 345–62. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.114.2.345. PMID 8416036.
- Monuteaux, MC; Faraone, SV; Herzig, K; Biederman, N (2005). "ADHD and dyscalculia: Evidence for independent familial transmission". J Learn Disabil 38 (1): 86–93. doi:10.1177/00222194050380010701. PMID 15727331.
|last5=in Authors list (help)
- Rubinsten, O; Henik, A (February 2009). "Developmental dyscalculia: Heterogeneity might not mean different mechanisms". Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 13 (2): 92–9. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2008.11.002. PMID 19138550.
- Wilson AJ, Revkin SK, Cohen D, Cohen L, Dehaene S (2006). "An open trial assessment of "The Number Race", an adaptive computer game for remediation of dyscalculia". Behav Brain Funct 2: 20. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-2-20. PMC 1523349. PMID 16734906.
- Hatton, Darla; Hatton, Kaila. "Apps to Help Students With Dyscalculia and Math Difficulties". National Center for Learning Disabilities and Math Difficulties. Retrieved Mar 26, 2014.
- Callaway, Ewen (Jan 9, 2013). "Dyscalculia: Number games". Nature. Retrieved Mar 26, 2014.
- Cohen Kadosh, R; Soskic, S; Iuculano, T; Kanai, R; Walsh, V (2010). "Modulating neuronal activity produces specific and long-lasting changes in numerical competence". Current Biology 20 (22): 2016–2020. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.10.007. ISSN 0960-9822.
- Abeel, Samantha (2003). My thirteenth winter: a memoir. New York: Orchard Books. ISBN 0-439-33904-9. OCLC 51536704.
- Ardila A, Rosselli M (December 2002). "Acalculia and dyscalculia". Neuropsychol Rev 12 (4): 179–231. PMID 12539968.
- Tony Attwood (2002). Dyscalculia in Schools: What it is and What You Can Do. First & Best in Education Ltd. ISBN 1-86083-614-3. OCLC 54991398.
- Butterworth, Brian]]; Yeo, Dorian (2004). Dyscalculia Guidance: Helping Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties in Maths. London: NferNelson. ISBN 0-7087-1152-9. OCLC 56974589.
- Campbell, Jamie I. D. (2004). Handbook Of Mathematical Cognition. Psychology Press (UK). ISBN 1-84169-411-8. OCLC 644354765.
- Brough, Mel; Henderson, Anne; Came, Fil (2003). Working with dyscalculia: recognising dyscalculia: overcoming barriers to learning in maths. Santa Barbara, Calif: Learning Works. ISBN 0-9531055-2-0. OCLC 56467270.
- Chinn, Stephen J. (2004). The Trouble with Maths: A Practical Guide to Helping Learners with Numeracy Difficulties. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. ISBN 0-415-32498-X. OCLC 53186668.
- Reeve R, Humberstone J (2011). "Five- to 7-year-olds' finger gnosia and calculation abilities". Front Psychol 2: 359. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00359. PMC 3236444. PMID 22171220.
- "Sharma: Publications". Dyscalculia.org.
- Dyscalculia at DMOZ
- The Dyscalculia Forum - International nonprofit support forum
- Holistic Individualized Education
- Dycalculia Quick Links: The Mathematical Brain
- Butterworth, Brian. "Dyscalculia" (video). Brady Haran. Retrieved 1 May 2014.