One of my students is struggling, could it be dyscalculia?

Every student is unique and many children experience that a Math topic is somewhat harder at the start. When a problem persists despite some extra help or explanations, you can consider the possibility of a learning difference in Math. Not all symptoms are combined in one student.

The most common symptoms are:

1. Number sense, counting, and numbers

• Starting to count at a later age than siblings/classmates

• Taking more time to memorize and learn to write the numerals

• Counting on fingers instead of using math facts from memory

• Using a number-line is difficult, no representation in their memory

• Larger numbers are often copied in the wrong order

2. Operations and procedures

• Confusion over math concepts

• Difficulty memorizing math facts, in particular multiplication tables

• Repeated mistakes with Math vocabulary

• ‘Misreading’ a number sentence: add instead of multiply etc.

• Difficulty selecting essential information and choosing the operation in a word problem

3. Measurement

• Difficulty selecting the larger of two small quantities without counting

• Difficulty with perception of shapes and relative sizes

• Difficulty with changing to another unit (days – weeks, pints – gallons)

• Confusion over telling time on a digital and an analogue clock

• Difficulty making a rough guesstimate

4. Behavioral characteristics

• Uncomfortable with activities involving counting or numbers

• Making wild guesses or just jotting down random numbers

• Working slowly and inconsistently

• Seems to ‘get it’ one day, ‘forgets’ it the next

• Deliberately avoiding math tasks, while being OK with other subjects