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Is it a Learning Disability?
History of MLD
Dyscalculia Timeline - 1808 to 2021
College & MLD
DefinitionsDyscalculia is a math learning disorder that makes mathematical reasoning and computation difficult, in spite of adequate education, average or greater intelligence, and proper motivation.
It appears as poor memory for numbers, time, sequences, directions, layouts, and visual-spatial information, as well as a confounding inability to manage these things.
Dyscalculia is believed to affect 3% to 7% to 26% of the population.
For people with dyscalculia, performing number-related tasks produces mental confusion, anxiety, and distress.
Dyscalculics often display a lack of academic progress in mathematics, accompanied by average or advanced skills in speech, reading, writing, and other areas.
DSM-V: Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs) are defined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
"Specific Learning Disorder-- with impairment in Mathematics (315.1), Reading (315.0), or Written Expression (315.2). SLD is "a neurodevelopmental disorder of biological origin manifested in learning difficulties and problems in acquiring academic skills markedly below age level and manifested in the early school years, lasting for at least 6 months, not attributed to intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders, or neurological or motor disorders."
1. CALCULATOR A calculator allows the student to focus on problem-solving.
Calculation is hindered by poor and inconsistent retrieval of facts, and unconscious errors when thinking and writing.
A calculator cannot fix unconscious errors in reading, writing, and reasoning (ex. number and sign mix-ups).
2. MONITOR It helps to have an external editor or monitor to catch and point out unconscious errors.
3. 1:1 PERFORMANCE Because of the need for a monitor, it is essential to have the student perform individually with the instructor, instead of in a group situation.
4. AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENTS Instead of traditional paper math tests, the dyscalculic should demonstrate understanding by teaching the concepts adequately and successfully.'
A demonstration will show what, why, how, and when, with these forms of explanation: verbal (focus on key vocabulary), visual (physical, color, illustrations).
Examples: video, illustrated study guide, book, show-and-tell.
5. REMOVE TIME CONSTRAINTS The dyscalculic is quickly overwhelmed by compounding demands.
The awareness of time running out, adds additional stress, and further impairs functioning.
Deficiencies that compound to impair performance: retrieval of learned facts and procedures; ability to apply learned facts and procedures to new situations; processing speed; working memory; visual-spatial-directional-sequential processing; procedural memory; and monitoring.
When accommodations don't result in success, after earnest effort is demonstrated, an instructor may grade on work attempted, time on task, persistence, and attitude.
Ultimately, the instructor should document the experience, citing the learning difficulties, student characteristics, interventions, and results and performance data; and then recommend a waiver of a requirement (and all prerequisites).
Math Ed Improvement Courses MEd Neurologist & Teacher RAD Learning, Author of Learning to Love MathTedTalk]
Dyscalculia Signs1. random number and symbol mixups when reading, thinking, copying, writing, speaking, and remembering
2. unreliable memory of numbers, math facts, rules, and procedures
3. exerts inordinate effort, buts gets disappointing results
4. unable to do mental figuring
5. uses fingers or marks to calculate
6. quickly experiences frustration, tears, mind-freeze, distress, anxiety, panic, trauma, and avoidance
7. struggles with handling money
8. struggles to make change, figure tax, tips, discounts, and conversions
9. poor money planning, and management
10. avoids cash
11. struggles with telling time, tracking and managing time, and punctuality
12. experiences directional confusion during math tasks, when navigating inside buildings and across town, and during physical sequences (dance steps, sports, playing music, playing games,combination lock, following physical directions).
13. can follow patterns and complete math work, but quickly forgets
14. operates from fleeting memory, but lacks deep understanding
15. reasons aloud to keep ideas in mind
16. has difficulty imagining abstractions, quantities, layouts, clocks, faces, numbers, and figures
17. difficulty processing more than 4 visual items
18. visual-spatial processing difficulties
19. experiences brain static with number lines, equations, large numbers, decimal numbers, graphs and coordinates, clocks, ten frames, abacuses, cuisenaire rods, unifix cubes, ans manipulatives
20. needs small recognizable patterns
21. inefficient visual memory for keyboarding, learning to play an instrument, sight-reading music, cards and dominos with more than 5 dots
22. impaired feedback from fingers (finger sense)
23. inefficient motor-sequencing 24. insufficient working memory needed for simultaneous processing, compounding task demands, retention of serial information (counting, listening to and following directions), keeping track during math work)
25. imperfect sequential memory, especially when distracted, and beyond 5 items
1. Reading one number but saying a different one.
2. Copying errors.
3. Reading errors.
4. Operational mix-ups (seeing the subtraction sign, but adding anyway).
5. Reasoning errors (finding the difference between two digits, instead of subtracting).
6. Knowing exactly which number to write, but writing a number not intended (ex. writing 1,000 instead of 100,000).
Dyscalculia in Children
Young children struggle with these:
1. left and right
3. counting reliably
4. number-amount associations
5. memory of numbers and quantitative information
6. memory of instructions
7. short-term memory (working memory)
8. time awareness, telling time, time management, schedules, organization, sequencing
9. procedures for arithmetic
10. place value
11. memory of addition and multiplication facts
12. memory of math rules, mental arithmetic
14. name-face memory
15. visual memory
16. visual-spatial discrimination, interpretation, processing, and memory.
17. They make unconscious errors with numbers and symbols when reading, listening, thinking (reasoning), copying, writing, and speaking.
18. When doing math, they think slowly and carefully, and operate without confidence.
19. When tasked in their deficit areas, children may demonstrate agitation, distress, anxiety, anger, avoidance, and resistance.
20. Children grow into dyscalculic adults who exhibit the same problems, but become better at hiding and managing their difficulties.
JT graduated college, wrote a book, and climbs mountains, in spite of severe dyslexia and serious health problems!Explaining Dyscalculia and Overcoming Number Problems for Children and Adults by Paul MoorcraftLimitless Mind by Jo Boaler by Judy Willis, Neuroscientist and Classroom TeacherBarbara Oakley.by Brian Butterworth (2018)Barbara Oakley.
USA's Poor Math Skills
52% of US 4th-graders were not proficient in Mathematics;
56% of US 8th-Graders were not proficient in Mathematics;
72% of US 12th-Graders were not proficient in Mathematics (2015, NEAP).
In 2015, the USA, ranked 38 out of 71 countries in Math Achievement on the Program for International Student Assessment. Trends in International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS).
In 2015, 29% of 15-year-olds in the United States of America, scored deficient (in the lowest 10%) on international tests of mathematical literacy- 3 in every 10 students were below proficiency Level 2- worse than half (35) of the 69 countries tested. Only 6%, scored above 90% proficiency (Level 5), worse than 36 countries.Source: NCES, 2016, p.23.