## Frequently Asked Questions

**Q: What causes dyscalculia?**

A: (taken from the “Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Treatment” section of the “General Information” page on our website)

About 7% of all students experience dyscalculia. The cause of dyscalculia has been the subject of much research. It appears that numerical processing is independent of other abilities in the brain. It is possible that dyscalculia is inherited or that it occurs with problems in brain development. Dyscalculia can be diagnosed through math assessments, student’s work, and other assessments that test cognitive functioning.

**Q: What is the relationship between dyscalculia and dyslexia? Dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?**

A: The relationship between dyscalculia and dyslexia is the subject of ongoing research. The estimated number of people who have both learning disabilities differs greatly across the board. In addition, it is unknown whether or not the two are caused by the same factor. The same can be said for ADHD. The percentages of students who have both dyscalculia and ADHD vary, and there is no way to tell if ADHD causes dyscalculia.

**Q: How is dyscalculia treated?**

A: See below.

(taken from the “Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Treatment” section of the “General Information” page on our website)

Treatment for dyscalculia will depend on the area in which a student is struggling. For example, if he or she is having trouble organizing math problems, it may be helpful for him or her to use graph paper to keep their work structured.

(taken from the “At School” page on our website)

There are certainly modifications that must be made for a student with dyscalculia in the classroom because of the effects that the disability can have on a student. As a teacher, oftentimes the student is allowed to use scratch paper, have access to peer assistance, use colored pencils to better understand problems, work with manipulatives, and even to draw pictures of word problems. This is not by any means a comprehensive list of accommodations for these students, as the teacher can use his or her best judgment to supply any help needed. The use of music or mnemonic devices has also been shown to help students, as they can help them to see patterns and remember steps more easily. Students diagnosed with dyscalculia would certainly be in line for an IEP or 504 plan, as long as the standard protocol is met. Other modifications include:

- Scheduled computer time for practice
- Use of graph paper when needed
- Tutor to work with students on word problems in order to better understand the language of mathematical problems

**Q: How can I tell if my child has dyscalculia?**

A: (taken from the “Warning Signs” section of the “For Parents” page on our website)

- Dyscalculia is the learning disability that involves being unable to do math. Many resources give warning signs for dyscalculia with varied indicators depending on different phases of life. They include:
- Having difficulties learning to count
- Experiencing trouble in recognizing and memorizing numbers
- Finding it hard to connect the idea of a number to its real-life application
- Having trouble organizing things in a logical way
- Finding it difficult to do math manipulations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division)
- Having difficulties developing math problem-solving abilities
- Weak long-term memory in doing math operations
- Trouble learning math vocabulary
- Difficulty in measuring objects or playing strategic games
- Being poor at managing budget or account
- Feeling uneasy learning math concepts
- Having a poor concept of time
- Having a poor sense of direction
- Finding it difficult to do mental calculations and/or estimation
- Difficulty in finding alternative approaches to solve math problems

**Q: How should I teach math to a student with dyscalculia?**

A: See below.

(taken from the “Accommodations” section of the “For Teachers” page on our website)

- Offer extra time for solving math problems or for a quizzes and tests
- Offer individual tutoring for students
- Allow the use of calculators
- Get to know the learning styles of students with dyscalculia
- Encourage students to visualize problems by reading problems out loud or by doing hands-on calculation with models or tool kits
- Encourage students’ distinctive solutions to a math problem
- Provide real-life examples relating to math concepts or problems
- Provide neat and clean worksheets and graph paper
- Use flashcards or mnemonics, acronyms, rhythms, music, or some other means that may help students process math problems
- Respect students with dyscalculia. Encourage them, and be patient. Do not scold or pity them.

(taken from the “Differentiation Strategies” section of the “For Teachers” page on our website)

There are many different strategies that can be used when teaching students with dyscalculia. The essence of most of these strategies is to try to avoid confusing students. Three main categories of strategies are: visual and verbal strategies, sequence strategies, and mnemonic strategies.

These categories are based on the fact that students have different learning styles. According to Felder and Henriques (1995), there are different dimensions of learning styles: sensing and intuitive, visual and verbal, and sequential and global. For students who struggle with math, it may be overwhelming for them to think abstractly with numbers, and numbers may seem to be meaningless to them. In this sense, using visual or verbal strategies according to their learning styles makes more sense to them. Also, mnemonic strategies are important for students with dyscalculia, since they oftentimes have poor long-term memory.

Information for this page was taken from the following website:

http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/dyscalculiaprimerandresourceguide.htm

http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/dyscalculiaprimerandresourceguide.htm