It has been estimated that 10 to 15 percent of all children who are of school going age suffer from some type of learning disability with only a small percentage of that group privileged enough to receive some form of remedial therapy. A child with learning disabilities usually has deficiencies in the basic academic skills of reading, writing and spelling; these three skills are interlinked, with problems in one affecting the child’s abilities in any of the other two.
The primary focus of E-Kids Remedial English (ERE) is to establish whether there is improvement in the reading, writing and spelling skills of learning differently abled children, where innovative, skill based E-Kids (ERE) teaching techniques are used for remediation. ERE techniques may be an alternative remediation strategy to structured phonic techniques; especially where children are not making progress in the latter.
What is dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a brain-based condition that makes it hard to make sense of numbers and math concepts. Some kids with dyscalculia can’t grasp basic number concepts. They work hard to learn and memorize basic number facts. They may know what to do in math class but don’t understand why they’re doing it. In other words, they miss the logic behind it.
Other kids understand the logic behind the math but aren’t sure how and when to apply their knowledge to solving problems.
Dyscalculia goes by many names. Some public schools refer to it as a “mathematics learning disability.” Doctors sometimes call it a “mathematics disorder.” Many kids and parents call it “math dyslexia.”
Your child’s struggle with math can be confusing, especially if he’s doing well in other subjects. This can lead to anxiety and low self-esteem. But parents have the power to change that equation.
There are many tools and strategies that can help with dyscalculia. The trick is finding the ones that work best for your child. Dyscalculia is a lifelong condition, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t be happy and successful.
NUMBER SENSE AND OTHER DIFFICULTIES
Dyscalculia can affect many different areas of math learning and performance. Different kids have different challenges.
The most common problem is with “number sense.” This is an intuitive understanding of how numbers work, and how to compare and estimate quantities on a number line. Most researchers agree that number sense is at the core of math learning. If kids don’t understand the basics about how numbers work, learning math and using it every day can be very frustrating.
Studies show that even babies have a basic sense of numbers. Dr. Brian Butterworth, a leading researcher in dyscalculia, compares number sense to being color-blind. He says some people are born with number blindness. This makes it hard to tell the difference between quantities.
Number blindness is one reason many kids have trouble connecting numbers to the real world. They can’t grasp the idea that “five cookies” has the same number of objects as “five cakes” and “five apples.”
How common is dyscalculia?
If you hadn’t heard of dyscalculia until recently, you’re not alone. It isn’t as widely discussed as dyslexia, and it’s not as well understood. However, some researchers are beginning to think it may be almost as common as dyslexia.
It isn’t clear how often kids identified with dyslexia would also meet the criteria for dyscalculia. Both conditions can affect a child’s ability to understand math-related words.
Scientists can’t say for sure how many children or adults have dyscalculia. This is partly because different groups of researchers use different criteria for what counts as severe math difficulties. There is no central data bank for the research data on dyscalculia. That makes it hard to estimate how many people it affects.
An estimated 6 to 7 percent of elementary school children may have dyscalculia. It’s not uncommon for kids to have more than one learning issue. In fact, 56 percent of kids with a reading disorder also have poor math achievement. And 43 percent of kids with a math disability have poor reading skills.
The good news is that all of these children can excel in other areas.
What causes dyscalculia?
Researchers don’t know exactly what causes dyscalculia. But they’ve identified certain factors that indicate it’s a brain-based condition.
Here are some of the possible causes of dyscalculia:
- Genes and heredity: Studies of dyscalculia show it’s more common in some families. Researchers have found that a child with dyscalculia often has a parent or sibling with similar math issues. So dyscalculia may be genetic.
- Brain development: Researchers are using modern brain imaging tools to study the brains of people with and without math issues. What we learn from this research will help us understand how to help kids with dyscalculia. The study also found differences in the surface area, thickness and volume of parts of the brain. Those areas are linked to learning and memory, setting up and monitoring tasks and remembering math facts.
- Environment: Dyscalculia has been linked to exposure to alcohol in the womb. Prematurity and low birth weight may also play a role in dyscalculia
- Brain injury: Studies show that injury to certain parts of the brain can result in what researchers call “acquired dyscalculia.”
For children with dyscalculia, it’s unclear how much their brain differences are shaped by genetics and how much by their experiences.
Researchers are trying to learn if certain interventions for dyscalculia can “rewire” a child’s brain to make math easier. This concept is known as “neuroplasticity” and has been shown to work in people with dyslexia.
What are the symptoms of dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia includes different kinds of math difficulties. Your child’s symptoms may not look exactly like those in another child. Observing your child and taking notes to share with teachers and doctors are good ways to find the best strategies and supports for your child.
The signs of dyscalculia also look different at different ages. Dyscalculia tends to become more apparent as kids get older. But it can be detected as early as preschool. Here’s what to look for:
Warning Signs in Preschool or Kindergarten
- Has trouble learning to count, especially when it comes to assigning each object in a group a number
- Has trouble recognizing number symbols, such as making the connection between “7” and the word seven
- Struggles to connect a number to a real-life situation, such as knowing that “3” can apply to any group that has three things in it—3 cookies, 3 cars, 3 kids, etc.
- Has trouble remembering numbers, and skips numbers long after kids the same age can count numbers and remember them in the right order
- Finds it hard to recognize patterns and sort items by size, shape or color
- Avoids playing popular games like Candy Land that involve numbers, counting and other math concepts
Warning Signs in Grade School or Middle School
- Has trouble recognizing numbers and symbols
- Has difficulty learning and recalling basic math facts, such as 2 + 4 = 6
- Struggles to identify +, ‒ and other signs and use them correctly
- May still use fingers to count instead of using more sophisticated strategies
- Has trouble writing numerals clearly or putting them in the correct column
- Has trouble coming up with a plan to solve a math problem
- Struggles to understand words related to math, such as greater than and less than
- Has trouble telling his left from his right, and has a poor sense of direction
- Has difficulty remembering phone numbers and game scores
- Avoids playing games like Risk that involve number strategy
- Has trouble telling time
Warning Signs in High School
- Struggles to apply math concepts to everyday life, including money matters such as estimating the total cost, making exact change and figuring out a tip
- Has trouble measuring things, like ingredients in a simple recipe
- Struggles with finding his way around and worries about getting lost
- Has hard time grasping information shown on graphs or charts
- Has trouble finding different approaches to the same math problem
- Lacks confidence in activities that require estimating speed and distance, such as playing sports and learning to drive
What skills are affected by dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia affects more than your child’s ability to handle math class and homework. Math skills and concepts are used everywhere from the kitchen to the playground to the workplace.
It’s understandable if you’re concerned about the long-term impact of dyscalculia on your child’s life. But once you identify your child’s weaknesses, you can find ways to work around them by building on strengths. Here are some everyday skills and activities your child may find difficult:
- Social skills: Failing repeatedly in math class can lead your child to assume failure is inevitable in other areas too. Low self-esteem can affect your child’s willingness to make new friends or participate in after school activities. He might also avoid playing games and sports that involve math and keeping score.
- Sense of direction: Your child might have trouble learning left from right. He may have trouble getting places by reading maps or following directions. Some kids with dyscalculia can’t picture things in their minds. Does your child have trouble imagining how a building or other three-dimensional object would look if viewed from another angle? If so, he may worry about getting lost when changing classes, riding a bike or driving a car.
- Physical coordination: Dyscalculia can affect how the brain and eyes work together. So your child may have trouble judging distances between objects. He may seem clumsier than other kids the same age.
- Money management: Dyscalculia can make it difficult to stick to a budget, balance a check book and estimate costs. It can also make it hard to calculate a tip and count exact change.
- Time management: Dyscalculia can affect your child’s ability to measure quantities, including units of time. Your child may have trouble estimating how long a minute is or keeping track of how much time has passed. This can make it hard to stick to a schedule.
- Other skills: A child may have trouble figuring out how much of an ingredient to use in a recipe. He might have a hard time estimating how fast another car is moving or how far away it is.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ON “E-KIDS REMEDIAL MATHS”
- Montessori concepts incorporated
- Learning through answering questions
- Focus on understanding
- Adaptive logic – questions always at the child’s level
- Addressing common errors & misconceptions
- In-depth explanations
- Visuals and animations for effective learning