THE CLASSROOM: Why so many children struggle with numbers – The Citizen

You’ve probably heard of dyslexia, but have you heard of dyscalculia before? What is dyscalculia? Dyscalculia is defined as a condition that involves long-term, severe difficulties with mathematics – which cause significant problems with academic or occupational performance, or with daily activities.

Some typical signs of dyscalculia that parents might notice are using finger counting – even for simple arithmetic – struggling to retrieve number facts from memory (such as times tables), and struggling to learn new procedures.

Dyscalculic children might also have trouble using calendars and clocks, they might struggle with recalling the order of past events, and with following sequential instructions.rrying, given that research shows low numeracy might affect people’s life chances more negatively than low literacy.

Indeed, there is a strong link between numeracy and educational success, income, mental and physical health and even chances of arrest and incarceration.

Why diagnosis matters

Early diagnosis is particularly important, because missing the basics of mathematics makes it difficult for learners to follow subsequent topics. This can lead to frustration and negative attitudes towards mathematics, as well as school subjects in general.

Officially diagnosing children might also lead to faster changes in government policies. Once dyscalculic learners appear in official statistics, it is more likely that support will be offered.

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