Working with Students with Dyscalculia

Characteristics of the Condition

This is a general term is used to describe specific and unexpected difficulties with mathematics. These problems may be developmental in origin or may result from a brain injury or neurological disease.

  • Specific difficulties with quantitative concepts, estimation and comparison of magnitudes, for example:
    • length of a city bus
    • distance from NYC to Washington, D.C.
    • proportion of the earth covered by water
  • Specific difficulties with the acquisition of “number facts”
    • Memorization/retrieval of multiplication /division values
    • Concept of fractions
  • Specific difficulties with basic computational operations and procedures
    • confusions of application: e.g., addition rather than multiplication
    • Errors in organization of steps leading to (e.g.) errors in carry operations
    • Errors in sequencing of operations
    • Errors of omission or repetition of procedural steps.
  • Specific difficulties in problem analysis or execution due to limitations on working memory or accurate interpretation of language.

Impact on Performance

  • Unexpected limitations in estimating absolute or relative quantities, amounts, distances, sizes, etc.
  • Difficulty grasping and retaining basic quantitative ideas, e.g., mean or median,
  • Inaccuracies in arithmetic computation due to inaccurate recall of products or dividends.
  • Multiplication and division errors

Interaction with Student

  • Determine whether output problems are limited to one modality (e.g., only handwriting or typing)