Dyscalculia: A Mathematical Learning Disorder

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Dyscalculia: A Mathematical Learning Disorder

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Although most people in Queens are familiar with dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects reading ability, fewer people have heard of dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is an inherited learning disorder characterized by difficulty learning and understanding mathematics. Students in Queens who struggle with this learning disorder have trouble understanding numbers, performing arithmetic, and memorizing mathematical facts. It can affect individuals of all different IQ levels, including students who are otherwise unusually academically gifted.

 

Signs of Dyscalculia

As a learning disorder, dyscalculia in Queens often becomes apparent when a child starts school, and mathematical concepts are introduced in an academic setting. One early sign of dyscalculia in very young children is often an inability to “subitize”. “Subitizing” is a term for visually estimating, without counting, how many objects are in a small group. Most people can accurately guess (without further subdividing or visually grouping) up to about six objects, and even very young infants have been found to be able to subitize three objects. Children with dyscalculia in Queens often have far more difficulty with these tasks than age-matched peers. As the child grows and attends school, other difficulties with numerical reasoning and spatial reasoning often become apparent. Some of the cognitive tasks that are especially challenging for learning disordered individuals with dyscalculia include:

  • Reading analog clocks
  • Determining which of two numbers is larger
  • Estimating quantities like the total cost of items in a shopping basket
  • Learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and other elementary-school arithmetical skills
  • Judging the passage of time
  • Mentally visualizing things
  • Reading musical notation
  • Telling the difference between right and left
  • Mental rotation
  • Reading maps
  • Mentally estimating size or distance

 

What Causes Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a complex learning disorder that probably results from an interplay of several different kinds of factors. There is some evidence that differences in neural architecture may be partly responsible for dyscalculia. Although dyscalculia itself is an inborn learning disorder, similar conditions like “acalculia” can result from damage to certain parts of the brain. This suggests that abnormalities in some brain areas may underlie dyscalculia in Queens. People with dyscalculia may also suffer from problems with working memory, contributing to the difficulty with mathematical reasoning.

 

Are There Any Treatments for Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia, like many other learning disorders in Queens, is often approached with educational interventions to assist students with difficult areas of learning. There are also a few brain-based therapies available that can help. Transcranial direct stimulation, a form of brain therapy that delivers low electrical current to areas of the brain, has been used on the parietal lobe to help with dyscalculia. Another brain-based treatment for dyscalculia and other learning disorders is neurofeedback therapy. As with many other conditions, qEEG mind mapping technology has been used to identify dysregulation in the brain’s patterns of electrical activity. Neurofeedback therapy works by providing real-time audiovisual “feedback” to patients to inform them of their brainwave activity in real time. They can then become trained to alter their brainwave patterns at will, which can help reduce the difficulties associated with learning disorders like dyscalculia. Neurofeedback therapy is safe and noninvasive, and does not produce any adverse side effects. For people who struggle with a learning disorder like dyscalculia, neurofeedback can be an excellent choice of therapy to provide lasting results and improved cognition.

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