Does your child have Dyscalculia? It is not a simple test to take. We aren’t big on labels anyway. We ARE big on finding interventions that can help them improve neurologically, and thus improve or reverse the problem. There are simple tests and exercises that can strengthen the functions of the brain and help the different areas of the brain communicate better. We will discuss that more below.
Some children memorize so well that the Dyscalculia becomes more evident when they start doing math that requires more than memorization. But, if a child has a memorization problem too, the dyscalculia is evident early on. Click here for a list of Dyscalculia Symptoms.
In recent studies, it was found that lack of communication between the right and left half (hemisphere) of the brain was a big issue with children suffering from dyscalculia. This lack of communication between the two hemispheres can be attributed to lower cognitive function on one or both sides. Math needs good communication between both sides of the brain. Basic math is handled mostly in the left hemisphere and number cognition is mostly processed by the right hemisphere. As luck would have it, math problems require both. Is it any wonder they would struggle if the two hemispheresare not communicating well with each other?
Dyscalculia is diagnosed mostly by symptoms. It’s characterized by difficulty in basic math. The child may have good memorization skills that allow them to memorize 2+2=4. But, they do not understand the concept behind it. They cannot connect the number symbol’s meaning, to the world around them.
“What does the symbol ‘6’ and a picture of some apples have to do with each other?”
Then it gets more complicated…
They are often very pictorial children. They just can’t make the connection.
There are plenty of math practice sheets online, so we won’t duplicate that here. They are great, but dyscalculia needs more than practice, practice, practice. Let’s find the weaker areas of the brain that are causing the dyscalculia and strengthen them through cognitive and motor exercises. Once functions are stronger, there are exercises that help the two halves start to work together. Brains can rewire. Neurologists say ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’. Let’s get them firing together.
After exercising the cognitive functions to make sure they are all working strong, start adding brain integration exercises to help connect the two hemispheres. These exercises can be games, dances and more. The best resource for these exercises is Brain Gym by Paul E. Dennison. You should see great improvement after taking these two steps. Then move forward with teaching them math.
References and additional reading.