Dyscalculia is a math learning disability that impacts a students’ ability to remember and recall basic facts, problem-solving procedures, or understand time and money. Roughly 5 million K-12 students in the U.S. could have dyscalculia, which affects 8-12% of the population. Dyscalculia can be inherited or caused by brain injury and is often mistaken for low numeracy or a weak math foundation. While many children struggle in math class, dyscalculia has some distinct signs and symptoms.
First, if a child forgets their basic facts even after extra practice, flash cards, or other interventions, this can be a sign of a learning disorder. “Most people memorize the 2 and 5 times tables, but struggle with the 7’s, and that’s normal,” says Dr. Honora Wall, Ed.D., founder of EduCalc Learning. “When an older child still figures out 2 times 5 by starting at the beginning—2, 4, 6, 8, 10—then further testing might be appropriate”. Another sign can be forgetting math they’ve already learned; a child who understands the homework, barely passes a quiz, but fails the test, could be losing math information over time. The third common sign of dyscalculia is having difficulty with time. This includes telling time on a clock and also understanding elapsed time. Adults with dyscalculia say they are always very late or very early because they can’t judge how long it will take to get ready or go somewhere.
Extra practice does not help students with dyscalculia, but using appropriate support tools like a times tables list, offering worked examples of problems, or using a calculator do. Dyscalculia causes lifelong difficulties in numeracy, telling time, handling money, and remembering math facts. EduCalc Learning trains teachers both online and in person, most recently in West Virginia, Illinois, and Florida.
Dr. Wall adds, “I’m most excited about our new Certified Dyscalculia Specialist program, which trains teachers and tutors how to support these students”. The course is available online at https://educalclearning.thinkific.com/. Dr. Wall is available to speak about dyscalculia and records a weekly podcast called, What in the World is Dyscalculia.