# Dyscalculia (Math LD)

Dyscalculia is a life long learning problem involving mathematics. Dyscalculia encompasses a wide variety of math-related learning difficulties. The level and type of mathematical difficulty varies from student to student and may be serious enough to qualify a student as having a learning disability.

**What are some Characteristics of Dyscalculia**

• Poor at computing mental math problems

• Difficulty understanding and remembering math concepts or processes such as, addition and multiplication, sequencing, or formulas.

• Poor long-term memory when it comes to mathematics. A student may be able to do a specific math problem initially, but not after some time has passed.

• Difficulties with games involving mathematics or daily tasks that use math concepts. Examples are balancing a checkbook, keeping score at a baseball game or while playing a board game, telling time, and handling money.

• Poor spatial awareness that affects ones sense of direction; getting lost or disoriented easily.

• Difficulties learning to play an instrument and reading music.

**How is a specific learning disability in mathematics**
(dyscalculia) identified?

To determine the existence of a specific learning disability that adversely impacts mathematics or other areas, there must be evidence of:

A. **Severe Underachievement** in mathematical computation or mathematical reasoning. Classroom observations and documentation of prior interventions attempted (for K-12 students) are usually required to proceed to the assessment (testing) stage. Underachievement is determined through such measures as diagnostic testing, classroom work, teacher reports, etc.

B. **Significant Gap** between ability and achievement in the area of mathematics as measured by individually administered ability and achievement tests. The standard for a significant gap may vary depending on the age of the person being assessed, state eligibility criteria for disability services, or other factors.
C. **An Information Processing** deficit involving visual, auditory, kinesthetic, processing speed, or various memory functions is present. Evidence of a breakdown in learning is gathered through standardized tests, observations, review of records, etc.

*Please note that the underachievement cannot be the result of environmental, cultural, or economic influences.*

**What are some strategies that will help me or my child?**

• Find the student’s strengths. Use the student’s strengths to help him/her solve math problems. If a student is a strong auditory learner have them read the math problem out loud. For a visual learner have them draw pictures or visualize the problem in their head.

• Do math problems on graph paper. This may help keep the problem organized and numbers lined up.

• Use real world examples when doing math problems.

• Begin by learning math in a concrete format (e.g. manipulative items, such as blocks or counters) and moving to an abstract format.