The word Dyscalculia is composed of the the Greek prefix "Dys" for difficult and the Latin word "Calculare", which means "to count". Thus the word literally means difficulty counting, but in common usage today it means extreme difficulty learning or comprehending mathematics/arithmetic. Sometimes it is referred to as math dyslexia.
According to the US National Center for Learning Disabilities, it refers to a wide range of lifelong learning disabilities involving math, varies from person to person and affects people differently at different stages of life. As with reading, when basic math skills are not mastered early, more advanced math becomes extremely difficult for teens and adults. It often occurs together with dyslexia, dysgraphia and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), though it is a separate learning disorder.
A difference in brain
function or structure in the area most related to math ability is believed to be the primary cause. Less research has been conducted on the disability than for reading disorders, but recent studies show
either less grey matter or less neural activity in the 'intra-parietal
sulcus', an area of the brain known to be involved in mathematical reasoning.
In some cases the disorder can arise after birth, usually the result of a brain injury to the same or related regions of the brain.
Computer software for teaching math is now often better than any traditional pen and paper teaching program. Properly designed software offers a number of advantages over traditional math teaching systems including:
Deciding which software application to use can be overwhelming since
there are dozens available for teaching any mathematical concept, but
not all are appropriate for children with learning disabilities.
One application we are familiar with is Nessy Numbers from Nessy Learning which teaches mathematical strategies using a colorful interactive game format, highly motivating for children who struggle with math.Specifically the software teaches multiplication and how to read an analog clock, which involves basic addition and subtraction. Full disclosure: we are Nessy affiliates, meaning we market some of their products, but only because we believe they are best in class. Nessy also produces great reading software.
Dyscalculia refers to a range
of learning disabilities involving math
and affects people differently at different stages of life. It often occurs together with
deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), though it is a separate learning
disorder. Intensive multisensory instruction and the latest software provide opportunity for struggling learners to master mathematics.
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