Dyscalculia & Definitions of Learning Disabilities
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. SLD is defined as a "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."
What is it like to have Dyscalculia?
You're copying, "15.17 " thinking or saying, "fifteen seventeen," but you write, "15.70".
- It sounds almost identical.
You're copying, "264.69" thinking or saying, "two sixty-four sixty-nine," but you write, "369.49".
- "Sixty" suggested 3, you retained sixty-nine, and 4, and the 9 ending, and wrote "369.49".
You can't seem to remember numbers, even important ones (multiplication tables, birthdays, dates, amounts). When counting, you easily lose track, especially if distracted.
You're overwhelmed by all of the directional sequences in long division, multiplication, arithemetic, and algebra.
You struggle with visualizing, time, directions, layouts, sequences, scheduling, budgeting, figuring, procedures, and logistics.
Smart Thick Kid- Living with Dyscalculia by Loz Mac (a personal description of dyscalculia).
Young children struggle with left and right, directionality, counting reliably, number-amount associations, memory of numbers and quantitative information, memory of instructions, short-term memory (working memory), time awareness, telling time, time management, schedules, organization, sequencing, procedures for arithmetic, place value, memory of addition and multiplication facts, memory of math rules, mental arithmetic, visualization, name-face memory, visual memory, and visual-spatial discrimination, interpretation, processing, and memory. They make unconscious errors with numbers and symbols when reading, listening, thinking (reasoning), copying, writing, and speaking. When doing math, they think slowly and carefully, and operate without confidence. When tasked in their deficit areas, children may demonstrate agitation, distress, anxiety, anger, avoidance, and resistance.
Children grow into dyscalculic adults who exhibit the same problems, but become better at hiding and managing their difficulties.
What does US Federal Education Law say about Specific Learning Disability?
- STATE & FEDERAL LEGAL GUIDANCE on DYSCALCULIA, DYSLEXIA, DYSGRAPHIA, & LEARNING DISABILITIES
- National Institutes of Health on Dyscalculia Diagnosis & Management (2012)
- Federal DOE Guidance on Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, & Dysgraphia and IEPs (10/2015)
- Federal Guide: IEP Goals Must Align w/ Current Grade-level Content Standards (11/15)
Persistent Underachievement in Math
- 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Report:
- 52% of 4th-graders were not proficient in Mathematics;
- 56% of 8th-Graders were not proficient in Mathematics;
- 72% of 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.
- 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- that's 3 in every 10 students 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.