Dyscalculia

DyscalculiaDoes 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.

Dyscalculia

 

“What does the symbol ‘6’ and a picture of some apples have to do with each other?”

 Then it gets more complicated…

discalculia dyscalculia

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.

Cognitive Function Exercises

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.

http://www.utdallas.edu/news/2012/8/30-19381_Study-Links-Math-Abilities-to-Left-Right-Brain-Com_article-wide.html

www.mathematicalbrain.com/pdf/HMC26.PDF

http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/2013/01/dyscalculia-tied-to-communication-between-brain-hemispheres/

Dyscalculia Symptoms

Many children struggle with learning mathematics in school, but they may reach a point that makes you question if they are struggling more than usual. Dyscalculia is less common than most disabilities, but can cover a wide range of difficulties in math that can lead to great frustration in your child. As your child ages, these symptoms may change as their mathematical curriculum and experience changes. Below is a list of common Dyscalculia symptoms. Click here to read more about Dyscalculia.

 

Dyscalculia Symptoms

  • Delay in counting
  • Anxiety and negativity towards math
  • Delay in using counting strategies
  • Has trouble sorting things
  • Struggles memorizing simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts
  • Difficulty imagining a mental number line
  • Struggles decomposing numbers (realizing that 5 and 5 go into 10)
  • Poor memory when it comes to remembering things with numbers in them (like a phone number)
  • Show less understanding of basic math and counting skills than peers
  • Struggles to understand place value
  • Struggles to realize that numbers can apply to objects and aren’t specific to one object or thing (2 cats, 2 toys, 2 eyes, etc)
  • Avoids playing games that may involve math
  • Difficulty having a fairly accurate sense of time
  • Difficulty connecting numbers to real life situations
  • Difficulty recognizing patterns in sequences or numbers
  • Struggles to memorize math facts
  • Difficulty recognizing number symbols (struggles to understand 9 is also nine)
  • Doesn’t connect math to groups of things
  • As peers advance, the child looses self confidence

 

Symptoms can vary from person to person and no two children are the same, so your child may also display different symptoms than the ones listed above. Despite your child’s diagnosis, these interventions can be helpful. You should consult a professional if you suspect your child has Dyscalculia. Support and academic assistance is important to ensure your child stays on track with their mathematical studies.

Click here to read more about Dyscalculia

8 Primitive Reflexes That Every Parent Should Know About

Retained Primative Reflex Exercises

Why They Matter?

Retained Primitive Reflexes have been found to cause neurological underdevelopment in some areas affecting learning. Find out what they are and how to solve them here!

 

What are They?

Primitive Reflexes are the special reflexes that develop in the brain stem before birth. This set of involuntary Primitive Reflexes help the baby with positioning in the womb, birthing, the first breath of life, feeding, urination etc. Most of these primitive reflexes go away  through the first year of life as higher functions of the brain and muscle control develop.

If the reflexes remain, they interfere with the neurological organization of the brain which causes learning, behavioral, social, sensory and health problems. These remaining reflexes are unnoticed muscle movements in older children and adults that would not normally be noticed if one did not know what to look for. They cause ongoing issues until they are solved through  exercises.

What can be Done?

If any of them remain past 12 months, they are called Retained Primitive Reflexes and they are a problem. There are simple exercises that can solve each one. This process is called Integrating Primitive Reflexes. Once they are integrated through these little exercises, many Learning Disabilities, Behavioral and Sensory Disorders, and health issues disappear or are greatly improved. You need to check for each of them, even if your child is not displaying the usual symptoms. If one remains unnoticed, it slows improvement in cognitive function. We will soon be adding information on Retained Babinski Reflex.

Primitive Reflexes

Symptoms when Primitive Reflexes Remain:

Because Primitive Reflexes start at the base of the brain. Functions that try to develop above them don’t wire properly. It can cause or contribute to:

  • Autism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Asperger’s
  • Hemispheric Imbalance
  • Sensory Disorders
  • Hyper Activity
  • ADHD
  • Speech Disorders
  • Social Disorders
  • Asthma
  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Immune Problems
  • Other Health Issues
  • Other Learning Disabilities

This is the first thing to check for. They can solve a multitude of problems. Other therapies or Brain Stimulation such as Hemispheric Integration Therapy, work best if Retained Primitive Reflexes are integrated or are being exercised first or at the same time.

How did this happen?

There are many children and adults that for one reason or another still have one or more Primitive Reflexes remaining. Some causes may include a traumatic birth, lack of “tummy time”, too much time laying in seaters or swings, induced labor, and traumatic C-Section birth. Most of the time, there is not a known reason.

Fear not. These are simple assessments and exercises that can be done 10 minutes per day for a few months. Then stimulate the other brain functions with these cognitive exercises and the disabilities often go away or symptoms improve amazingly. Click on the individual pictures above to see the tests and exercises.