As one may deduce from examining the word's etymology (“dys” for “badly” and “calculia” for “counting”), dyscalculia symptoms are related to a learning disability that makes it difficult for one to learn or understand arithmetic. Specifically, dyscalculia symptoms will include a person's difficulty in understanding numbers, using numbers, or comprehending basic mathematical principles such as comparisons. Dyscalculia symptoms are similar to those manifested by dyslexia although the latter disability refers to words while the former refers to numbers. The condition was first given a name in 1974 to refer to the set of problems later identified as dyscalculia symptoms. Another name for the disability is “numlexia”. |
It is not only children with low IQ who display dyscalculia symptoms and it is estimated that 3 – 6% of the population suffer from this disability. Interestingly enough, while a person with dyscalculia may have problems with arithmetic (like calculating, for instance), this does not prevent that person from having abstract mathematical reasoning abilities.
Dyscalculia is innate and may result from genetic causes or problems during development. There are also physiological, scholastic and social causes of dyscalculia. If the dyscalculia symptoms are traced to a brain injury, the disability becomes knows as “acalculia”.
Although there are several probable causes, medical scientists still have not agreed on the exact reasons for the condition that gives rise to dyscalculia symptoms. There are several schools of thought that ascribe the causes of the disability to neurological causes, deficiencies in working memory, reduction in short-term memory or hereditary and congenital defects. Traditionally, the manifestation of dyscalculia symptoms is traced to anomalies in the left hemisphere of the brain. That part of the brain controls the right side of the body and influences a person's abilities in speech, reading and dealing with numbers.
Even social factors such as the refusal to deal with dyscalculia symptoms are said to contribute to dyscalculia . In many western societies, incompetency in math – possible dyscalculia symptoms – are shrugged off by people with high IQs even as they find incompetency in spelling, grammar or reading as unacceptable. That parents often accept the excuse that a child is just “not good in math” contributes to an ambivalence in addressing dyscalculia.
There are those who do not consider dyscalculia symptoms a sign of disability but a difference in a person which should be addressed with educational therapy. With the point of view that dyscalculia symptoms are just a person's way of manifesting abilities in other areas like the arts, at the expense of numbers, forms of therapy like neuro-sensory educational therapy are being proposed as an effective treatment for dyscalculia.
Technology may come to the rescue. Software is already developed that may provide effective remediation in the case of those who display dyscalculia symptoms.
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