I’m reading the bulletin learning difficulties from Australia and they comment on the remarkable difference between research funding for dyslexia and dyscalculia:
the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) had spent $107.2 million funding
dyslexia research in the United States
since 2000, but had spent only $2.3
million on dyscalculia research. This
is despite the prevalence of the two
conditions being similar. This apparent
lack of awareness and action may have
consequences for both the individual
and the community
There is lots involved in your brain when you learn something. Research is getting more insights every year in how exactly everything works. The article in the link is a very interesting piece that gives lots of details and shows what they are working on now.
Very interesting study about finger training and how interventions involving the fingers may improve skills:
This study has shown that an intervention that combines finger training with number games can improve quantitative skills among 6–7-year-old children. It supports the findings of previous research arguing for a functional relationship between finger gnosis and numeracy. We argue that this study provides evidence that fingers represent a means for children to bridge between other (verbal, symbolic, and non-symbolic) representations of number and that this contributes to children’s developing understanding. The large effect size suggests that with further refinement and replication, the combined finger training and number games intervention could be a useful tool for teachers to use to support children’s developing understanding of number.
Visual form perception has unique contributions to numerosity comparison, digit comparison, and exact computation, but has no significant relation with approximate computation or curriculum-based mathematical achievement. These results suggest that visual form perception is an important independent cognitive correlate of lower level math categories, including the approximate number system, digit comparison, and exact computation.
Interesting article from the Centre for Neuroscience in Education. Their view:
Overall, there is substantial evidence to suggest that there is no unique functional impairment at the heart of developmental dyscalculia, but that several cognitive functions may be implicated. Consequently, at the CNE maths group we adopt a multi-computational view of dyscalculia; rather than focusing on the search for a unitary underlying cause of dyscalculia, we aim to identity whether the condition can be related to individual variability in specified components of several cognitive functions such as memory and attentional processes.
It is concluded that difficulty with “number sense” results from the extended demands on executive
control in learning inverse dynamics models associated with cerebellar inner speech related to the second tier of
abstraction (numbers) of the infant’s primitive physics.
New research confirms that the sequence is indeed reading, writing and then arithmetic.
results of our analysis confirmed the role of preschool phonological ability as a domain-general predictor of later achievements. Phonological ability had a positive direct and indirect effect (via reading fluency) on the subsequent reading and math performance.
While Alfred Binet is credited with the first intelligence test, that was far from his intent when he and his colleague developed the Binet-Simon scale in 1908. The purpose was not to predict future performance, but simply to identify students who were in need of alternative educational approaches.
Spoiler alert: not much! Read the study that has been done among secondary school math teachers about how much they know about Dyscalculia. The researchers conclude we have some ways to go. Here is where they can start www.DyscalculiaAware.org
Great article in Today’s Parent encouraging parents to find out if their child has dyscalculia. They encourage working through the school system or go private with a hefty price tag…..
Let us add to the options provided the FREE dyscalculia screener by Dr. Schreuder on her website dyscalculiaservices.com (free registration required)
or for a more elaborate report goto DyscalculiaTesting.com where you get a low priced option to do a Math and Dyscalculia Screening Test that will provide you with a multiple pages report with gaps identified.
It is not recent but this article gives great insight in exactly what is going on in the brains of children with developmental dyscalculia. Share this article with those people who “do not believe in dysalculia” or who “do not subscribe to that” (actual quote from a school counselor!).
As a method of organizing efforts to help students who are struggling academically, response to intervention has seen widespread adoption. But as an improved method of identifying students with learning disabilities, RTI shows far less clear benefits, researchers are finding.
Breast Cancer Patients Need to Know the Numbers for Treatment Decisions Risk calculations, treatment evaluations, and assessing the odds of a medication’s side effects are all part of the process of deciding which treatment is best for breast and other cancers.
But not everyone is good at math, and sometimes this process can be intimidating. For these patients, decision science research can offer well-founded advice on how to evaluate the information and make knowledgeable decisions.
New research has been done in the theory that number, space and time might be part of a generalized magnitude system and that deficits in that system could explain Developmental Dyscalculia. It is quite a good read but their main conclusion is:
Deficits in number processing and arithmetic cannot be explained with a general magnitude deficiency. Our results further indicate that multiple neuro-cognitive components might contribute to the explanation of developmental dyscalculia.
Well one Dutch professor thinks so and points at a study where pupils got 6 weeks of arithmetic drilling and that put them 18 months ahead. The question is for how long that advantage stayed and if those pupils had been rightfully diagnosed with dyscalculia
Martin Saunders writes a good story about the role of language in children’s learning of Mathematics. His conclusion (but you really need to read the whole piece in our link for today):
In summary, it is clear that language is a requirement for mathematical cognition, if not higher cognition in general. Where language is a component of understanding it must also be a requirement for the learning process. A symbiotic relationship exists where dialogue, and in particular creating explanations, aids to build understanding but also to apply this understanding in ever more complex ways. As the ability to consider multiple conceptual areas collectively grows and with number facts readily available a proficient mathematician develops who is able to reason and problem solve with fluency.
Neurodiversity. It’s not a term that rolls off the tongue easily but it’s a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others. Now organizations such as Microsoft and EY are piloting programs to recruit individuals who have neurological conditions such as Asperger’s which comes under the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a range of conditions that affect the way a person sees the world, processes information and interacts with other people.