The environments we create and the experiences we provide for young children and their families not only affect the developing brain but also many other physiological systems. Biological systems like the brain and the autonomic nervous system, immune system, heart and gut interact with each other and with the environment and environmental stress negatively influences all of them. Remediation may be possible at any age but outcomes are better and easier to achieve when interventions are provided earlier and more cost effective than trying to fix them later.
Given that dyscalculia is a very heterogeneous deficit, studies examining dyscalculia should consider exploring deficits in WM because the whole group of children with dyscalculia seems to contain at least two subpopulations that differ in their calculation process.
We know that people who can easily work with both actual quantities like objects or dots and with written arabic numerals and can also easily translate between them so between the non symbolic and symbolic information, have good math skills. Reason to look into the question how the brain codes numbers like 2, 4, 6, 8 if brain sources are used for both symbolic and nonsymbolic information or that they is located in separate spots. Researchers from Western University in Canada and VanderBilt, Nashville did an fMRI study with 139 healthy adults. They used a 7 Tesla machine, which is very powerful so a great signal noise quality. They found that for specific numbers, like 4 and 6, the same neural resource was used to code for quantities of dots and written arabic numerals and also that both the left and right parietal lobes were active, also the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and that the process is specific to individual numbers in multiple formats. Not everything can be unraveled yet and how this relates to math performance and that there are individual differences in working with symbolic and non-symbolic numbers depending on their math skills
Even before the current pandemic started, this research was done to see if children with Dyscalculia who are being taught by teachers with the use of technology learned better than the ones who were being taught traditionally.
It is probably also dependent on what technology and they used the Geogebra software package here, but the outcome shows that it would be wise to embrace technology when working with children who have dyscalculia.
MathFun is a mobile app created by the mobile app developer while following the Calculic Model approach for Malaysia Dyscalculia children. The outcomes of this paper view on the effectiveness of the model towards building a mobile application for these children. Usability was performed in order to assess the usability and verifying the effectiveness of MathFun. This study involved 3 teachers and three children. Descriptive analysis was performed from the collected data. Based on the outcome, it’s shows that by using the suggested model there is an increased in the acceptance and usability of the application by the children.
Rizawati Rohizan et al 2020 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser.1712 012031
Dyscalculia is one of the less well-known learning problems in mathematics due to lack of exposure and study. Children with dyscalculia usually face arithmetic and symbolic number comparison issues, with about 3-6 percent of individuals affected. The lack of wide-ranging study and inconsistency in the condition’s characterizations through studies have impeded progress in identifying the root causes of dyscalculia and how best to handle it. This problem can be more serious because it can prolong up to adulthood. Therefore, this paper will discuss the general aspects related to dyscalculia problems and their effects on children in their lives. This paper also explains the signs and symptoms that are needed to understand children who may have dyscalculia. Finally, this paper discusses what treatments or methods can be used significantly to help children improve their mastery and mathematical skills,
 Muhammad Sofwan Mahmud , Mohd Syazwan Zainal , Roslinda Rosli , Siti Mistima Maat , “Dyscalculia: What We Must Know about Students’ Learning Disability in Mathematics?,” Universal Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 8, No. 12B, pp. 8214 – 8222, 2020. DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2020.082625.
The results of this large study show no significant impact of the home math environment on the children’s numerical and patterning skills. However the authors remark the following:
One explanation for these findings might relate to the characteristics of the general preschool system in the country of the present study (Belgium). Future studies should consider the effect of the preschool learning environment because it might explain differences between studies and countries with regard to the home math environment and its association with mathematical skills.
De Keyser L, Bakker M, Rathé S, Wijns N, Torbeyns J, Verschaffel L and De Smedt B (2020) No Association Between the Home Math Environment and Numerical and Patterning Skills in a Large and Diverse Sample of 5- to 6-year-olds. Front. Psychol. 11:547626. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.547626
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.
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