Dyscalculation means that you have great difficulty in coping with math in everyday life and in handling information with numbers. The difficulties are often noticed already in the preschool or during the first school years. Sometimes it is not noticeable until adulthood.
It often leads to major inconveniences if, for example, you cannot figure out what to pay for the food in the shop, cannot read the bus timetable or remember your social security number. It is therefore important to get support and help to improve the ability to calculate. It appears that people with dyscalculia also have reading and writing difficulties, called dyslexia. Every twentieth Swede is expected to have counting difficulties, but the reason is usually not a calculus.
Symptoms of dyscalculia
These are some typical symptoms that a child may have dyscalculia. It is not necessarily a sign of dyscalculia if the child has only one of the symptoms, but several of the following points must be true:
- The child has great difficulty in automatically perceiving the number or quantity.
- The child has trouble understanding what the numbers stand for.
- The child has difficulty calculating even low numbers. It takes time but can still be wrong.
- The child is often left in early ways of counting, such as counting his fingers.
- The child can reverse numbers and have difficulty remembering digit series and number facts.
- The child has problems learning the clock and has an uncertain time perception.
- The child has difficulty understanding the value of money and dealing with exchange money.
- The child has poor local sense. They may also have difficulty distinguishing between right and left, as well as reading maps and timetables.
Counting difficulties may have other causes
Many children find math difficult, but the reason is usually not calculus. The problem may instead be that there are, for example, deficiencies in the teaching, that the child has high absenteeism or has trained too little on mathematics. Having difficulty with math can also be because the child has general learning difficulties, dyslexia or a neuropsychiatric disability such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Syndrome called ASD.
Seek help with calculus
Contact the school’s student health team if your child has had major difficulties counting since preschool or elementary school and the efforts made have not had the desired effect. You can then decide together whether a referral should be sent or not.
Adults can also undergo a nozzle calculus. Contact a health care center if you find it difficult to calculate and want to have it investigated.
Investigation of dyscalculia
An assessment of the ability to calculate is usually done by a speech therapist. The purpose of the investigation is to find out what the difficulties are due to and possibly make a diagnosis. In the investigation, the speech therapist makes an assessment using various test data. Among other things, the memory ability and the ability to perceive number and quantity are assessed. Understanding of the speech system and the clock is also tested. The speech therapist also examines how the person counts and solves problems. Sometimes an assessment of language comprehension and reading comprehension is also made.
Support and aids
If the investigation concerns a school child, the purpose is to get an idea of the child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to gain an in-depth knowledge of the barriers to learning. Often, it becomes clearer what help the child needs in school and what compensation and what aids can facilitate his calculations. This may include extended test time or oral tests, calculators and cribs. Often the recommendations are also about the strengths of the child and which the environment can help to support, such as visual ability or linguistic ability. At a meeting with an educator and other interested parties, you as a parent get to know the results and recommendations of the investigation.
If you are an adult and need help, the support is mainly about finding strategies to facilitate everyday life.