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Interventions>

Dyscalculia

What is Dyscalculia?


Dyscalculia (also called math disability or numlexia) is a specific learning disability that negatively affects a person’s ability in learning or comprehending arithmetic. It is akin to dyslexia and includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning maths facts, and a number of other related symptoms (although there is no exact form of the disability). Math disabilities can also occur as the result of some types of brain injury, in which case the proper term is acalculia, to distinguish it from dyscalculia which is of innate, genetic or developmental origin.


Although math learning difficulties do occur in children with low IQs, dyscalculia also affects people from across the whole IQ range, and sufferers often, but not always, also have difficulties with time, measurement, and spatial reasoning.


Symptoms of Dyscalculia:


The earliest symptom of dyscalculia to appear is the inability to know, from a brief glance and without counting, how many objects there are in a small group. This is an innate ability, present in human infants from birth. Children with dyscalculia find it difficult to compute the number of objects at a glance and even when correct take longer to identify the number than their age-matched peers. Other symptoms include difficulty reading analog clocks, and in extreme cases inability to even simply state which of two numbers is larger. The following are some symptoms associated with dyscalculia:



How is Dyscalculia diagnosed?


There is no single widely accepted specific definition for dyscalculia. The following are two definitions:




There are two key features of the DSM-IV definition are:



Causes and Assessments for Dyscalculia:


Most educators providing intervention for dyscalculia do not look beyond the symptoms. They can only resort to remedial and repetitive drilling assignments. However, if the brain problems are not resolved, such interventions will not produce significant results.


Essentially, our brain is the center that controls for our thinking, reasoning, learning, language, behavior and emotions. For problems associate with the brain, we should look into the brain for answers. As the condition is obviously a mental processing problem, it will make sense to look at what’s going on inside the brain while they are attempting a maths problem. At Spectrum Learning, we have been investigating the causes for learning difficulties since 1995.


Brain factors:



Adams and Hitch argue that working memory is a major factor in mental addition.[3] From this base, Geary conducted a study that suggested there was a working memory deficit for those who suffered from dyscalculia.[4] However, working memory problems are confounded with general learning difficulties, thus Geary's findings may not be specific to dyscalculia but rather may reflect a greater learning deficit.


At Spectrum Learning, we routinely do a Brain Mapping or QEEG to see what is going on inside the brain while the child is attempting various mathematics problems. This state-of-the-art brain imaging technique allows us to see how one is utilizing the brain while attempting to do arithmetic or solving a math problem.


Examples:



A) The diagram on the left shows a QEEG analysis of a 11 year old child with Maths difficulty while attempting a problem sum. The blue areas shows shut down in neural activities while on a maths task.








B) The diagram on the left shows a QEEG analysis of a 12 year old girl with Maths difficulty. The shutdown areas are at the right side.










C) The diagram on the left shows a 12 year old boy with Maths difficulty. The shutdown is at the prefrontals, which are associated with working memory.









Like other learning difficulties/disorders, there are a variety of variations in QEEG for children with dyscalculia. So the best way to assess for Dyscalculia is to do a brain mapping or QEEG.



Biological causes:


So far, we have not identified any specific nutritional imbalance that correlates with Dyscalculia or Maths Difficulties. However, deficits in mental processes are due to unusual brain development which can be caused by trauma or exposure to toxins. There are many toxins that can affect brain development. Children are most susceptible to these toxins as their brains are still developing. The type of learning or behavioral problems that results from toxic exposure will depend on where these toxins settle in the brain.


We have tested many children with learning difficulties since 1995 using hair analysis (HTMA), urine and blood. We find that many in this region, including Singapore, are exposed to toxic elements that can lead to learning difficulties including dyscalculia.


Contact us to see how you can assess your child for biological causes.



Interventions for Dyscalculia


As we can identify the specific neurological profile of dyscalculia for each child, the best intervention is to train these brain regions directly using neurofeedback. We find that this helps the child to overcome deficits in the brain.


With neurofeedback, we can specifically traget training at sites where the QEEG shows are having problems. We have helped many children with Dyscalculia or maths difficulties to improve their examination results significantly.


With neurofeedback, once your child’s brain learns how to activate the appropriate sites, other interventions such as tution and remedial will yield better results. Many with mathematics difficulties have tried tuition/remedial but without much progress. With neurofeedback, we see that once the brainwaves starts to change in the positive direction, there will be breakthroughs in mathematical abilities.



References:

  1. Mayer E, Martory MD, Pegna AJ, Landis T, Delavelle J, Annoni JM (June 1999). "A pure case of Gerstmann syndrome with a subangular lesion". Brain 122 (6): 1107–20. doi:10.1093/brain/122.6.1107. PMID 10356063.
  1. Adams JW, Hitch GJ (October 1997). "Working memory and children's mental addition". J Exp Child Psychol 67 (1): 21–38. doi:10.1006/jecp.1997.2397. PMID 9344485.
  2. Adams JW, Hitch GJ (October 1997). "Working memory and children's mental addition". J Exp Child Psychol 67 (1): 21–38. doi:10.1006/jecp.1997.2397. PMID 9344485.
  1. Geary DC (September 1993). "Mathematical disabilities: cognitive, neuropsychological, and genetic components". Psychol Bull 114 (2): 345–62. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.114.2.345. PMID 8416036.


Test and Assessments Interventions

Finding the Causes


Most clinicians do not bother about the causes as diagnosis is based on behavioral symptoms …   


At Spectrum Learning, we have been investigating the possible causes …

Learning Difficulties


Dyscalculia - Maths Disabiity/Numlexia


Intervention Program

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Different brain causes:


… we have discovered a variety of QEEG profiles that can lead to dyscalculia symptom …


Find out what brain condition your child has!


Contact us now

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