How to Recognize Dyscalculia Symptoms

Dyscalculia Symptoms Recognition

Dyscalculia symptoms are often shooed away by parents with the excuse that the child is “just not good in math”. By not recognizing or ignoring dyscalculia symptoms, a parent may deprive a child of the proper therapy or treatment.

Dyscalculia is a disability that prevents a child from learning or understanding arithmetic. Another name for it is numlexia. About 3 – 6% of the population is estimated to suffer from the disability or to manifest dyscalculia symptoms.

Dyscalculia symptoms may fall into the general category of difficulty dealing with numbers or numerical concepts. Of the dyscalculia symptoms, the earliest to manifest itself is difficulty in “subitizing”. From birth, humans have an innate ability to subitize, that is to know without counting how many items there are in a small group, using only a brief glance. Infants can usually subitize 3 objects. As the child grows, the number of objects increases and a typical adult can subitize 5 or even more objects.

Dyscalculia Symptoms – Math

When a child can subitize fewer objects or take longer to do so than other children its age, you may be looking at dyscalculia symptoms. Other extreme dyscalculia symptoms may be a child’s inability to read analog clocks, identify which of two numbers is the larger one, differentiating between left and right or being late or early chronically.

Interestingly enough, a person displaying dyscalculia symptoms may be performing well in a field related to writing. Some researchers point to studies that journalists and authors may be susceptible to dyscalculia. These persons have a highly-developed sense of imagination because children with dyscalculia are over-sensitive to smell, light and sound and, therefore, take in more information or impressions than those without the disability.

Recognizing Dyscalculia symptoms depends upon a child’s age. In young children, dyscalculia symptoms mostly consist of difficulty in learning how to count; problems in recognizing printed numbers; difficulty relating a number in the abstract (e.g. 2) to a number in the concrete (e.g. 2 cars, 2 apples, 2 boys); difficulty remembering numbers and problems organizing things in a logical way.

When a child reaches school age, dyscalculia symptoms can include difficulty learning math facts and solving math problems; a problem measuring things and an aversion for games that require strategy. Non-familiarity with math vocabulary and difficulty remembering mathematical functions are also dyscalculia symptoms.

Dyscalculia Symptoms in Teenagers

Among teenagers, dyscalculia symptoms may be difficulty understanding math concepts beyond the basic addition, subtraction, etc. operations; problems estimating costs, balancing a checkbook or approximating time and sticking to a schedule.

Testing the child for the disability because of suspected dyscalculia symptoms is usually conducted by a teacher or another trained professional. An extensive interview together with pencil-and-paper math tests are used to measure the child’s grasp of numbers and math concepts as well as how the child uses this knowledge in real life.

By identifying dyscalculia symptoms early enough, parents and teachers can work with the child to devise strategies and programs that can help the child overcome the disability, first in school and later on in that person’s career.