Understanding The Symptoms Of Dyscalculia In Children
Many people have heard of dyslexia – a neurological difference that affects how your brain processes letters, words, and sentences. Fewer have heard of dyscalculia, a similar neurological difference that affects numbers, equations, and mathematical skills.
Because of the common attitudes surrounding how difficult it is to understand mathematics, many dyscalculic people may not receive a diagnosis until adulthood or during their lifetime. However dyscalculia is a lifelong condition and not simply a temporary struggle. If left undiagnosed or untreated, it is a learning difficulty that can lead to significant problems after children enter adulthood and begin to deal with numbers or arithmetic problems in their day-to-day lives.
What are the symptoms of dyscalculia?
Similar to many other learning disabilities, dyscalculia tends to present itself early in life during childhood.
Common symptoms of dyscalculia to look out for include:
Persistent difficulty understanding mathematical rules or formulas
Persistent difficulty understanding or carrying out basic mathematical operations (i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
Difficulty understanding quantity or size (e.g. unable to differentiate which quantity in a set is larger or smaller)
Difficulty estimating math-related values such as time, speed, or distance
Needing to rely on finger-counting even after peers have moved on to ‘silent’ counting
These symptoms may be inconsistent but still continuing across a wide period of time; in other words, your child won’t appear to ‘grow out of it’ the way their peers do as their cognitive and arithmetic skills develop. Many symptoms may be dismissed by your child or others around them as simply being ‘bad at math’, leading to a lack of proper diagnosis.
As your child grows older, dyscalculia can affect everyday tasks such as:
Inability to tell time from an analogue non-digital clock
Having trouble handling money (e.g. returning change, estimating prices)
Persistent difficulty remembering right and left directions
Lateness and poor time management
Poor communication that can affect their social skills
Absent-mindedness, trouble with getting lost, or easily getting disoriented and distracted
However dyscalculia does not need to be a lifelong struggle – interventions such as educational therapy can be greatly beneficial in bridging your child’s learning difficulties.
What do I do if I suspect my child has dyscalculia?
There is no fixed standard diagnostic test for dyscalculia. A diagnosis may be given after comprehensive evaluation that takes many aspects into account, such as your child’s persistent learning difficulties, as well as eliminating them having other conditions such as ADHD.
Regardless, the most important thing is to pursue early intervention if you suspect that your child might be dyscalculic. There are many benefits of early intervention for children with learning difficulties including better intervention outcomes, improved relationships with others, and availability of caregiver support.
MindChamps Allied Care offers professional clinical assessments for children to ascertain their learning or developmental difficulties. This Initial Assessment will allow our team as well as yourself to have an understanding of your child’s current needs and future goals, following which we can recommend a suitable plan for therapy intervention.
Our educational therapy in Singapore provides support for children whose visual and auditory processing, attention, focus, and memory skills affect their academic performance. Educational therapy is a form of intervention that provides your child with academic strategies and coping mechanisms tailored to their specific and individual needs.
Here at MindChamps Allied Care our educational therapy sessions include learning support and Dyslexia management strategies that include tackling learning difficulties with numeracy and mathematics; Multisensory Learning to adapt to your child’s unique learning style; Increasing Attention Span to improve attention and focus skills; and Increasing Learning Readiness to prepare your child for mainstream education.