LearningRx Warren Clarifies Dyscalculia
Thursday, March 14, 2013 • 5:42pm
Most of us are familiar with the word dyslexia, a broad term that defines a learning disability affecting a person’s ability to read. On the flip side, we are much less acquainted with the term dyscalculia, a learning disability that causes a person to have difficulty in learning and comprehending math. Now that we know the brain is plastic, that is, capable of change at any age, no one can use the excuse that they’re “just bad at math.” That also means you can’t blame your son’s algebra grade on bad genes, or your daughter’s struggles with calculus on a less-than-perfect teacher.
The truth is that anyone can have dyscalculia, or “trouble with numbers”. Math struggles have almost nothing to do with genetics, gender, age or study habits. And plenty of highly intelligent people struggle with math while excelling in other subjects. In fact, many people with dyscalculia – which affects about 5 percent of the population – have normal or accelerated language acquisition.
Causes, diagnoses and treatment
So if your genes, gender and geometry teacher aren’t to blame, what is? Most people with dyscalculia have poor visual processing and memory skills. These weak cognitive skills may manifest as specific symptoms that are not as prevalent in same-age peers. They might include:
- Difficulty learning math facts
- Reversing or transposing numbers (89 becomes 98)
- Confusion over math symbols
- Difficulty with mental math
- Trouble telling time and direction
- Difficulty differentiating between left and right
- Difficulty with mentally estimating distance of an object
- Problems grasping and remembering concepts
- Trouble with sequencing
- Longer-than-normal homework sessions
- Inability to concentrate on mentally taxing tasks
- Poor recollection of names and faces
- Over-sensitivity to noise, smells, light etc.
- Inability to filter unwanted information
While homework struggles and poor performance on standardized and classroom math tests are often the first indications of dyscalculia, the most accurate diagnosis of any learning struggles is found through cognitive skills testing. The first step to discovering the root cause of the struggle is to have a cognitive skills assessment that identifies strengths and weaknesses in individual brain skills. With an accurate measurement of specific brain skills – such as computation skills, working memory, processing speed, numerical fluency, sequencing and planning – a custom cognitive skills training program can be designed to strengthen those skills.
If your child has fallen behind in subject matter due to a lengthy absence from school (e.g. from an illness, injury or family move), tutoring can provide a short-term fix to help them catch up on the material. But if your child has fallen behind in math due to weak cognitive skills, no amount of re-teaching the material will help. Instead, look for a program to develop the broad set of underlying cognitive skills that are required to efficiently and effectively learn mathematical concepts, solve problems, and perform mathematical calculations faster and easier.
It’s not natural for anyone to be “just bad at math.” In fact, just the opposite is true. The plasticity of our brains allows us to structurally reconnect the circuits in our brain in order to functionally enhance our ability to make “natural sense” out of numbers. Give your kids the opportunity to excel in math by strengthening the underlying brain skills to make it easy, fast and – dare we say – fun!
LearningRx specializes in identifying and correcting the underlying cognitive skill deficiencies that keep people from achieving their full potential in school, sports, business or life. Using a comprehensive cognitive skills assessment test and intensive one-on-one training, certified brain trainers quickly and effectively enhance weak cognitive skills such as attention, memory, processing speed and problem solving for kids and adults. At LearningRx Warren, we have successfully worked with both enrichment students and those struggling with dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, memory loss and other learning struggles. Our students benefit from improved confidence, self-esteem and overall achievement. LearningRx is not a tutoring program. Our clinically proven, research based programs actually “re-wire” the brain and raise IQ.
To learn more about LearningRx, call (908) 22-BRAIN (908-222-7246), stop in the center at 34 Mountain Boulevard, Bldg. C in Warren, or visit www.learningrx.com/warren.
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