Dyscalculia

In Greek and Latin, dyscalculia means “counting badly”, is also known as ‘math dyslexia’ and ‘math learning disability’. It is a neurological problem, and often a lifelong disability that makes performing basic math-related tasks extremely difficult.

“People with dyscalculia struggle to tell you whether 7 is more than 5.”[1]

It is prevalent in about 5–6 % of school populations.[2] In grade school 1 or 2 students in a class of 30 students are likely to have some form of this disability.

In the USA about 3 million students have dyscalculia,

Worldwide about 50 million students have dyscalculia

Although difficulty with spacial and math reasoning depresses scores on IQ tests dyscalculia is Not related to general intelligence.

In fact, people with dyscalculia often have enhanced functionality in the related areas of perception and interpretation.

Many brilliant people have had dyscalculia, yet they made great contributions including: Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, E.O. Wilson, and Bill Gates.[3]

Panamath offers free dyscalculia screening test:

It’s a 10 minute, computer-based, visual test for pre-K to adults of quickly seeing two dot arrays (yellow and blue) and asked to select the color of the more numerous dots. It can be used to differentiate people whose math difficulties are likely due to dyscalculia from people whose difficulties are likely due to math anxiety, or other issues. The test is available for free at panamath.org

If the screening test indicates dyscalculia, the student should be given a series of neuro-psychologically oriented diagnostic evaluation tests related to vision and hearing as well as tests of exact calculation and approximation abilities, and tests related to verbal memory, intellectual functioning and achievement to get a picture of the complexity of the individual’s dyscalculia and learning needs.

The results should include recommendations of effective interventions, accommodations or assistance.[4]

A Good Education is Now a Human Right in America

The March 22, 2017, US Supreme Court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District [5]assures students with disabilities the right to a substantively adequate program of free education . . . reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits . . . with disability opportunities to achieve academic success, attain self-sufficiency, and contribute to society that are substantially equal to the opportunities afforded children without disabilities.”

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that children receive appropriate services when needed for school success

The Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program of Medicaid requires that Medicaid-eligible children receive services, including school-based services, when needed to “ameliorate or cure” their condition.[6]

Unfortunately, many schools do not provide these services unless compelled to and rely solely on medication, isolation and office-based counseling, which alone are usually inadequate to meet the needs of children with significant disorders.

However under federal law, parents, teachers, administrators and students with dyscalculia or other learning disabilities have the legal right to a free education with adequate programs to help students achieve academic success, attain self-sufficiency, and contribute to society that are substantially equal to the opportunities afforded children without disabilities.