Dyscalculia: what are the symptoms of this learning disability?

At school, your child has great difficulty identifying numbers and using them in calculations, but has no particular problem with other subjects? He may have dyscalculia, a specific learning disability that is characterized by difficulty understanding, using, and interpreting numbers.

Dyscalculia should not be confused with other so-called “dys” disorders. There are six in total with this disorder which affects logical-mathematical abilities:

  • dyslexia and dysorthography which are specific alterations in the acquisition of written language (reading and writing)
  • la dysphasie which is an oral language disorder
  • the dyspraxia which designates a developmental disorder and / or visual-spatial functions
  • attention disorders with or without hyperactivity
  • specific disorders of the development of memory processes that can affect short-term memory, immediate memory, long-term memory, and working memory

A child or adolescent with dyscalculia has difficulty learning the use of numbers and math. If this disorder is not diagnosed and taken care of from an early age, it can lead to many problems in adulthood.

What are the causes of dyscalculia?

For now, the causes of “dys” disorders are still unknown, but dyscalculia can be attributed to a malfunction of the area of ​​the central system responsible for the perception of numbers and digits.

Dyscalculia: how does this cognitive disorder manifest itself?

The manifestations vary from person to person. Other disorders such as attention deficit, dyslexia, dysorthography can also affect some patients with dyscalculia. In general, it manifests itself in difficulties:

  • during the counts
  • to read and write numbers
  • to perform arithmetic operations
  • to remember the multiplication tables
  • to understand and use mathematical expressions like differences, sums, quantities, twice as much …
  • understand mathematical statements
  • to find one’s way in time and space
  • doing geometric exercises

A child with dyscalculia will also tend to count with his fingers, even when he is older.

How is dyscalculia diagnosed?

Many children can have difficulty with math without necessarily being dyscalculic. The diagnosis of this learning disability is therefore complicated. As soon as suspicious signs appear in a child, his parents can take him to see a speech therapist. The latter will confirm the diagnosis by carrying out a report which analyzes the child’s logical-mathematical skills. He will also determine if he suffers from other dys disorders, attention or memorization problems.

During the sessions, the speech therapist helps the child to get back to level in mathematics. Thanks to this follow-up, he manages to correct the discrepancy between the young person and his classmates. The professional also teaches him personalized learning techniques to overcome dyscalculia. The length of follow-up depends on the age of the child and the intensity of the disorder.

At school, the child can benefit from the help of a school life assistant (AVS) who will support him on a daily basis to overcome his difficulties. When he is too late, the pupil can follow a partial education in a Class of School Integration (CLIS) to follow courses adapted to his dyscalculia. For other subjects, he can return with his classmates.

It is important that dyscalculia is followed as soon as possible. When not diagnosed and treated, it causes many difficulties in an adult. In particular, he may have trouble:

  • to measure distances
  • to find one’s way in time and tell the time
  • to orient oneself in space
  • from
  • to manage a budget
  • get organized and plan tasks
  • follow technical instructions

Source : the French Federation of Dys



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