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.
Despite the science and despite its serious long-term effects, there is no educational guidance about dyscalculia on the Department for Education website, despite a written parliamentary question in March 2019 about it by Tulip Siddiq MP. The dyscalculia war is still a battle for recognition.
Prof Brian Butterworth Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
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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.
Signs of dyscalculia are not always easy to spot. Keep in mind that all kids have trouble with maths from time to time. But children with dyscalculia struggle a lot more than other children the same age. Dyscalculia is not the same as math anxiety because the latter involves strong emotions around Math.
The Eblity blog gives a great overview of the signs of Dyscalculia and the accommodations possible in class
Something many parents struggle with is to get their children in the right frame of mind for online learning.
This is all new for the children and their attention span can be limited or the distractions around the computer screen can be too intense and the teacher or tutor on the other side of the internet will have to work hard to get them to focus on the lessons.
Although it is written for children with ADHD, the guide that the ADDitude magazine gives will help everyone to get their child ready and make life in these pandemic times a bit better for all those involved.
In our link for today a great story about how math has a place in your regular life. This is why it is important to remediate dyscalculia as best you can. Here is the problem you can solve by using math, read the story in the link for the solution:
You are the HR manager of a company and need to hire the best secretary out of a given number N of candidates. You can interview them one by one, in random order. However, the decision of appointing or rejecting a particular applicant must be taken immediately after the interview. If nobody has been accepted before the end, the last candidate is chosen. What strategy do you use to maximize the chances to hire the best applicant?
Rice University in Houston TX has been so kind to share some math books online, 100% free and without any licencing. The trouble with students with Dyscalculia is that the curriculum can be great but they will still struggle to take it all in.
Hence our Dyscalculia Tutor Training where tutors and teachers can learn how to work with students who have Dyscalculia. It is available at https://DyscalculiaTutor.org
Pandemic or no pandemic, last I looked the IDEA is still out there in full force and your child who qualifies for special education is still entitled to that, even when teaching has gone online in your schooldistrict.
The article in our link for today gives some tips for special education teachers provided by the theeducatorsroom blog
According to Smartick global research, about 5-7% of a country’s population may suffer in silence from dyscalculia. That means that in a class of 25 students, it’s likely that at least one child has the learning disorder. For a population of 57+ million in South Africa, and if similar percentages are anything to go by, it could equate to around 4 million people potentially being misdiagnosed.
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.
It’s important that parents and teachers of students with learning disabilities look for any signs of anxiety or depression. These may include:
Feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
Changes in social behaviors (not spending time with friends)
Changes in appetite
Thoughts of harming themselves
Once any signs are noticed, parents should bring their child to a qualified mental health therapist. This professional will help the child manage their symptoms so they can better function at home and at school.
The article in our link for today is about a situation in the UK but the same question can be asked here in the US. Does the identification of children with learning disabilities get hampered by the remote learning mode that many countries are in and if so, what can we do to improve this?
The mathigon website is a great resource when you are looking for some good activities to do with your student online. Factris, a form of the well known tetris, can be very helpful in practicing the factoring skills.
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