What are the signs of dyscalculia?

Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines dyscalculia as a “earning disability where individuals have problems with “number sense, memorization of arithmetic facts, accurate or fluent calculation and accurate math reasoning.”

Francis, Wareham & Wood, 2013

Department for Education and Skills (United Kingdom) states that dyscalculia is “A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.” (Butterworth, 2003)

· Difficulty learning to count

· Difficulty counting from any number other than 1.

· Difficulty memorizing math facts

· Seem to always have to calculate the

answer to basic facts.

· Difficulty making sense of math

applications.

· It takes longer to complete math

assignments.

· Seem to “get lost” within the steps of a larger math problem like division.

· Difficulty recalling the rules they have learned in order to complete calculations.

How is dyslexia diagnosed?

Individuals with dyscalculia often struggle along with math without anyone noticing their difficulties until they are unable to memorize their multiplication facts. By this point, they are very far behind. They are aware that their skills are below that of their peers. Many may sit in class simply baffled by what is being taught. Or, they may nearly understand it during math class, but by the time they get home to do their homework, they no longer know what to do.

Is there a test for dyscalculia?

Currently, there is not a test for dyscalculia. In fact, due to their average or better intellect, they may even score well on a math assessment if given enough time. It is not until the examiner looks closely at how the student arrived at the correct answer that it is discovered that the student used a more basic operation like addition in order to solve a multiplication problem. In London, Brian Butterworth is developing a system to screen for dyscalculia. It is not yet used in the United States.