Dyslexia, difficulties with mathematics and dyscalculia

Apart from reading and writing symptoms, people with dyslexia often have specific difficulties in teaching mathematics, but this is not a dyscalculia. The underlying difficulty in reading is the inadequate development of certain higher psychic functions that together constitute the functional basis of the reading process. Since most of these functions also participate in mathematics learning, many children with reading difficulties have additional difficulties in learning mathematics.

These difficulties due to dyslexia differ significantly from dyscalculia, as children with dyslexia do not primarily disrupt the mathematical thinking necessary for adopting mathematical concepts. In many cases, dyslexic children have good mathematical abilities, developed mathematical thinking, and therefore have a good potential for understanding mathematical concepts, but due to insufficient development of certain psychic functions, the process of manipulation with numerical symbols is disturbed, that is, the process of understanding and memorizing these symbols.

Children with dyslexia may have some of the following difficulties in mathematics:
• Difficulties in reading and understanding instructions and assignments,
• poor knowledge of mathematical vocabulary,
• Difficulties in adopting the visual appearance of individual symbols,
• Difficulties in learning, remembering and reproducing arithmetic tables (eg multiplication tables) and others

One of the forms of dyslexia that creates specific difficulties in learning mathematics is visual dyslexia. Its basis is the inability to interpret the meaning of written language symbols, and thus mathematical. Most children with visual dyslexia see certain letters, numbers and symbols in reverse. Reading whole words in a sentence turns into a complete mess with such a child. Due to such a distorted perception, the child with visual dyslexia works very slowly, and the to the result of arithmetic tasks the child comes slow and cautious.

Children with dyslexia have difficulty in naming mathematical symbols, actions, geometric characters, and so on. A child can not learn mathematical terminology for a long time (eg “addition,” “subtraction”, “plus”, “minus”, “equal”, “greater than”, “less than”, geometric forms, etc.). Even when learning the titles, the child needs more time to remember them.

There are children with specific difficulties in reading and writing who have no difficulty in learning mathematics. Some children with dyslexia have special abilities that can make them superior to gifted mathematicians. Sometimes the very nature of mathematics helps the dyslexic student to see and develop his extraordinary abilities.

Under dyscalculia we can understanding a set of difficulties in learning mathematics and performing mathematical tasks. These are such deviations that to person make a serious difficulty in mastering mathematics regardless of the degree of intellectual development. Difficulties in adopting mathematics can be light, moderate and difficult, and therefore result in partial or complete mathematical incompetence. Terminologically, dyscalculia and acalkulia are distinguished.

Dyscalculia is a partial disorder of the mathematics adoption process, which can occur in all or only in certain areas of mathematics. The child progresses in the adoption of mathematics, but much slower than his peers and inadequately to his mental age.

Acalkulia is a term that refers to the complete inability to adopt tasks in mathematics, or the complete absence of mathematical thinking.

Dyscalculia may be the sole and only child’s difficulty, but it may also occur in combination with some other difficulty, for example, dyslexia.


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