Dyscalculia: difficulty learning math

Although this sounds like a lie, there is evidence that humans we are born with certain skills to think in mathematical terms. For example, babies are already able to count units in small quantities, which is the antechamber so that they can add and subtract in the future.

However, just as we are specially prepared for mathematics, it is also true that in some cases this type of Specific mental processes can be affected by a disorder. This is what happens in cases where it is detected a type of difficulty called dyscalculia.

What is dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a class of learning disability that specifically affects math-related mental operations and that it cannot be explained by the presence of mental retardation or bad manners.

To put it another way, in the same way that dyslexia affects reading, dyscalculia affects number management and arithmetic in general, especially when it comes to simpler mathematical operations, such as addition. and subtraction. This is why dyscalculia it is also known directly as learning difficulties in mathematics (DAM).

Symptoms and diagnosis

It is very common for dyscalculia to be accompanied by other learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or dysgraphia. Therefore, in DSM-V diagnostic manual dyscalculia is part of a larger diagnostic category known as specific learning disabilities. Within this framework, it is possible to specify which specific difficulties arise in each case, such as problems in reading and mastery of mathematics, only in writing, etc.

As for the symptoms of dyscalculia, they are grouped into several categories, and may not be due to an injury or a malformation related to an already known disease:

graphic transcription

In some cases, people with dyscalculia it is difficult to memorize the symbol that represents each number, Or draw them in an abnormal way, like the other way around. Likewise, it is often impossible to Sort groups of numbers write it from left to right.

Errors in learning the concepts of quantity

In dyscalculia it is quite normal not to understand that a number is made up of groups of units, And that the idea of ​​number-object association necessary to carry out basic mathematical operations is not believed, by what one tries to count on the fingers (the position of the fingers makes the function of working memory) .

Causes of dyscalculia

As with learning disabilities in general, the exact cause of dyscalculia is not known, possibly because there is not just one but several who act together and who react.

This is why, for the moment, dyscalculia is supposed to have a multifactorial origin in which are involved problems of maturation of certain parts of the brain as well as more psychological aspects related to cognition and the management of emotions.

To better understand this, let’s take an example. The brain of a girl with dyscalculia will likely have directly affected areas of the brain responsible for working with numbers, but in addition to that he will get used to the idea that he is not good at mathThis will make you work harder and therefore your results will be even worse.

It is important to note that psychologists and educators can intervene on the psychological aspects of dyscalculia, improving or at least not hindering the learning performance of those diagnosed.

Prognosis and treatment

Very little is currently known about the course of untreated cases of dyscalculia, although in the medium term it is known to be associated with psychological problems such as low self-esteem or the onset of symptoms of depression. .

However, dyscalculia can be treated from psychological and psychoeducational work. For this, it is necessary to carry out a process of cognitive restructuring linked to the use of basic mathematics and self-concept.

In this way, the fundamentals of mathematics are taught without which one cannot progress, and at the same time ideas that hinder learning, such as the belief that numbers do not exist, are rejected.

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