Now that Thanksgiving is over, the biggest holiday of the year is upon us. I absolutely love the sights and sounds of Christmas. I mean the sheer joy of excitement leading up to December 25th brings a smile to my face every year. But beyond the hype of shopping for gifts, the delicious food sampling (my favorite), and even time off of work, I am grateful to know that the true meaning of Christmas is based on the birth of a child born in the town of Bethlehem years ago. This precious child came to the world bringing gifts of love, hope, joy, and peace. In understanding the special qualities of the Holy One, I reflect on the unique qualities of children who I have worked with over the years.
On last week I shared an interview that I did with a teacher who works with Special Needs Learners in a phase II/self-contained classroom. During the interview, helpful information and strategies were shared to help educators, parents, and guardians be able to make math more meaningful to those children with severe learning disabilities. In this final post on this topic, I want to shine the spotlight on one type of math disability that does not get enough attention as it should. Dyscalculia is defined as a structural disorder of mathematical abilities caused by impairment to part of the brain used in mathematical calculations (Kosc, 1940).
While dyscalculia may be an unfamiliar term, today's researchers use other terms such as math dyslexia and math learning disability instead (please note that the term math dyslexia may be misleading as dyscalculia and dyslexia are not the same thing). Children that show signs of dyscalculia may have a difficult time understanding number related concepts such as quantities (i.e. biggest vs. smallest, etc.)
I have seen students who struggle with understanding that the number 9 is the same as the word nine. The struggling learners often have a difficult time recalling math facts and they also have a hard time holding a number in their mind while doing multi-step math problems. Although dyscalculia is certainly a learning disability, it looks different at different ages and research finds that it becomes more obvious as children get older. Below are bulleted points that highlight what dyscalculia looks like at every level in school:
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