Julia studied psychology in Germany, where she received her PhD in 2018. Julia is a trained dyscalculia therapist allowing her to both put her theoretical knowledge into practice and to feed research and teaching with questions and input resulting from the work with children, learning therapists, instructors and parents.
Amongst other things we spoke about:
Number-words in different languages and the impact it can have on students’ early grasp of number and place value – wait until you hear about German!
What are the implications for teachers who teach students for whom English is not their first language?
Interesting new study will be started, here is their brief:
Retrieval might not be the optimum strategy in mental arithmetic. In fact, expert adults would rather solve simple problems such as 3 + 2 by automated and unconscious procedures. Therefore, we hypothesize that children with dyscalculia might not present deficit in retrieval but, instead, in counting procedure automatization. The aim of the current project is to test this challenging position.
The research in the attached document coming from Nepal shows that the lack of knowledge about Dyscalculia among teachers is wide spread. One reason more to emphasizse the need for Dyscalculia Awareness. We have a training online which does not take too much time but gives a great introduction. Find it HERE
A study from Pakistan confirmed the comorbidity of the various learning disabilities. Which goes to show that many of the people having to deal with one of them are also usually dealing with one of two more disabilities. See the study in the link for details.
Different learning difficulties do not correspond to specific regions of the brain, as previously thought, say researchers at the University of Cambridge. Instead, poor connectivity between ‘hubs’ within the brain is much more strongly related to children’s difficulties.
Researchers have shown that children with Developmental Dyscalculia got better at solving multiplication problems and that brain activation changed after a two-week training using an interactive learning platform. Importantly, the different brain activation changes in children with Developmental Dyscalculia observed in our study once again confirms that we need to study this population as information about this disorder cannot simply be inferred from studies with typical developing children.
Visual perception has been found to be a critical factor for reading comprehension and arithmetic computation in separate lines of research with different measures of visual form perception. The current study of 1099 Chinese elementary school students investigated whether the same visual form perception (assessed by a geometric figure matching task) underlies both reading comprehension and arithmetic computation. The results showed that visual form perception had close relations with both reading comprehension and arithmetic computation, even after controlling for age, gender, and cognitive factors such as processing speed, attention, working memory, visuo-spatial processing, and general intelligence.
Cui J, Zhang Y, Wan S, Chen C, Zeng J, Zhou X. Visual form perception is fundamental for both reading comprehension and arithmetic computation. Cognition. 2019;189:141-154. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.03.014
According to some researchers at the University of Upsala it is. They have found that the brain of the people with Dyscalculia and Dyslexia basically work in the same manner and so they claim that Dyscalculia is not a learning disability in itself but a version of Dyslexia.
This study investigated if developmental dyscalculia (DD) in children with different profiles of mathematical deficits has the same or different cognitive origins. The defective approximate number system hypothesis and the access deficit hypothesis were tested using two different groups of children with DD (11–13 years old): a group with arithmetic fact dyscalculia (AFD) and a group with general dyscalculia (GD).
Number Processing and Heterogeneity of Developmental Dyscalculia
In our modern, digital society, difficulties with numbers and arithmetic can have profoundly negative consequences on educational outcomes, career prospects and overall quality of life.
This brief arises from Science of Learning fellowships, funded by UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) and the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO). The IBE-UNESCO/IBRO Science of Learning Fellowships aim to support and translate key neuroscience research on learning and the brain to educators, policymakers, and governments.
In the 21st century, lack of adequate numeracy skills can have profound negative consequences for educational success, career prospects and overall quality of life;
Developmental Dyscalculia (DD) is a brain-based condition that leads to low numeracy skills in the context of otherwise normal intelligence and educational opportunities;
Because of its documented brain basis, efforts towards developing effective ways to remediate DD can benefit from neuroscience findings.
The branch of neuroscience devoted to shedding light on the development of brain processes supporting typical (and atypical) learning, shows that DD can be the result of dysfunctions in multiple brain systems for math knowledge;
Training programs designed to ‘stimulate’ multiple aspects of math knowledge acquisition and the brain systems subserving it may, therefore, yield the best outcomes to effectively remediate math deficits in children with DD.
This is not a new study but we highlight it today just to give the conclusions some more attention. The researchers confirmed that the their findings support the hypothesis that ADHD and dyscalculia are independently transmitted in families and are etiologically distinct. These results reinforce the current identification approach to these disorders and underscore the need for separate identification and treatment strategies for children with both conditions.
Good article by Dr Nancy Doyle in Forbes magazine. She talks not specifically about Dyscalculia but about neurodiversity in general and tries to explain why is it so unknown yet.
She states it this way” Neuroscience is a young discipline. We’re still in the process of mapping the brain. We don’t know much more about human neurology than the anatomists of the 19th century knew about the lungs liver and heart when it comes to functionality.”
A podcast from it’s all in the mind, where they explore how children think about Math and Time. So as example what they think when you ask them if they would like to have eaten a donut yesterday or would rather eat one tomorrow. You can listen to the whole program in our link for today.
Great post by Natalie Kerslake, who wrote an MA ed dissertation that looked at how teachers and teaching assistants can effectively support children with dyscalculia in one primary school. Her study found that more awareness and training need to be provided for teachers and teaching assistants, to aid them in supporting children with dyscalculia. This includes knowledge of what dyscalculia is and what strategies can be used to support children effectively.
The study in our link for today had as objective to find out whether visual processing uniquely contributed to character reading and early mathematics in Chinese children. The findings suggest that visual processing should serve as a domain-general precursor of children’s performance in character reading and early mathematics and an important cognitive factor for later academic learning.
The researchers discovered that children with poorly connected brain hubs had severe and widespread cognitive impairments, and those with well-connected brain hubs either had no cognitive issues or had select cognitive deficits. The findings emphasize the importance of focusing on the areas of cognitive issues when it comes to targeted interventions and less on the diagnostic classification itself—opening the door for novel therapeutics that target the connectivity of the brain’s hub in the future.
New research suggests that excessive crowding effects might be a characteristic of DD, independent of other associated neurodevelopmental disorders. Visual crowding refers to the inability to identify objects when surrounded by other similar items.
“Early math skills have the greatest predictive power, followed by reading and then attention skills,” reports a psychology squad led by Greg J. Duncan, in School readiness and later achievement, published in Developmental Psychology in 2007. Follow-up studies continue to confirm the importance of early math skills. The more math-oriented activities kids do before kindergarten, the better they’ll understand math in school. Early math skills foretell higher aptitude in high school math and higher rates of college enrollment. And a 2014 Vanderbilt study determined that for “both males and females, mathematical precocity early in life predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles.”
New research with a large sample size has now confirmed that ANS tasks are not suitable as measures of math development in school‐age populations. The researchers studied other cognitive functions that can replace this as a good measure for Math development in school-age populations, read the article in our link for today to find out what they are.
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