Learning disabilities such as dyscalculia can make schoolwork difficult for children, and many parts of daily life a challenge for adults. While there is no cure for dyscalculia, it is possible for a person suffering from the condition to learn how to find ways to work around their disability and be able to function normally.
Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that is similar to the reading disorder dyslexia. The difference is where dyslexia is a difficulty in learning to read and write, dyscalculia is an inability to comprehend and apply mathematical principles. Although the two conditions may appear to be intertwined, they are not. A person with dyslexia does not automatically have dyscalculia and a person with dyscalculia does not automatically have dyslexia.
The symptoms for dyscalculia encompass nearly any activity that involves numbers. Some of the symptoms that involve mathematics are a consistent confusion as to the name and function of the various math symbols such as the plus sign and the minus sign, an inability to balance a check book or do simple financial math, an inability to verbalise the process of doing a math problem which means that they cannot say what needs to be done to complete a math problem, an inability to count backwards or to start at a point other than 1 and count properly and an inability to understand the concept behind things such as fractions and percentages.
The inability to understand the relationships between numbers for people with dyscalculia can reach beyond the ability to do arithmetic. Some of the other symptoms of dyscalculia include an inability to understand the differences between time increments such as hours and days, difficulty in telling left from right, difficulty in being able to follow directions or use a map, an inability to remember names and associate those names with people's faces, an inability to judge distances and an inability to judge how fast something is moving or estimate temperature.
According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, one of the things that can help people with dyscalculia work around their disability is to become very organised. Avoid doing several things at once and focus on one thing at a time. To help understand math word problems it may help to draw pictures that represent the different aspects of the problem. It may also help the person learn math concepts better if they are set to music with a beat they can remember. Using other things such as pictures and sounds to help trigger a person's memory can be very effective.
One of the physical symptoms of dyscalculia is a lack of coordination. This usually occurs more frequently when the person is doing athletic activity where there is a need to react quickly, or make sudden movements in order to compete.
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