What is Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in math. Kids with dyscalculia may have difficulty understanding number-related concepts or using symbols or functions needed for success in mathematics. Often the difficulty with math becomes challenging in a real-world sense in not being able to manage money, measure items for recipes or home projects, and more.


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What Causes Dyscalculia?

Developmental dyscalculia is known to be caused by differences in brain function and impaired communication between areas of the brain involved in mathematics. Scientific studies show that the areas of the brain that control visuo-spatial working memory, visuo-spatial short-term memory and interference inhibition (which helps sustained attention) are lacking in their performance. The irregular brain functioning pattern is due to higher levels of slow brain activity and impaired communication between brain areas that perform these mathematical-related functions. This irregular brain pattern can result in difficulty with performance of mathematical skills.

What are Co-Existing Conditions?

Dyscalculia often co-occurs with other learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and specific language impairment (SLI). This is because the pattern that causes Dyscalculia is evident in other areas of the brain that control these related learning abilities.

Anxiety becomes a co-existing challenge for children with Dyscalculia. This is a co-occurring but different brain pattern of resulting excess fast brain activity. Kids who have a hard time with math often feel serious anxiety when it comes to doing any math-related task, especially homework or tests. Dyscalculia can create stress derived from difficulty with common math-based tasks. For students, frustration from math classes and general arithmetic tasks can mean immediate and longer-term stress in their lives. This creates struggle with numerical values and the application to daily tasks such as telling time, keeping score in a game, remembering phone numbers, and making change. Stress can perpetuate the brain pattern associated with Dyscalculia.

What are the Symptoms?

Dyscalculia can cause different types of math difficulties. Symptoms may vary from child to child and often changes as a child gets older. Here are some typical signs and symptoms of Dyscalculia:

Preschool –

  • Counting Difficulty, skipping numbers long others can remember numbers in the right order.
  • Pattern recognition problems, such as smallest to largest or tallest to shortest.
  • Difficulty recognizing number symbols (knowing that “7” means seven).
  • Meaning of counting is not apparent.

Grade School –

  • Difficulty learning and recalling basic math facts, such as 2 + 4 = 6.
  • Struggles to identify and use mathematical signs such as +, ‒ and others.
  • Fingers counting is used instead of using more advanced strategies, like mental math.
  • Difficulty understanding words related to math, such as greater than and less than.
  • Difficulty with visual-spatial representations of numbers, such as number lines.

Middle School –

  • Difficulty understanding place value.
  • Numerals not written clearly or put into the correct digit column.
  • Fractions and measurements remain difficult.
  • Keep score remains challenging.

High School –

  • Difficulty managing money persists, including use of estimates, making change and tipping
  • Graphs or charts are difficult to understand.
  • Measurements remain difficult.
  • Different approaches to the same math problem remain challenging.

How Can Symptoms Be Reduced?

 Dyscalculia is known to be caused and made worse by the underlying qEEG Brain irregularities indicating neurological dysfunction. When this pattern improves, symptoms reduce. Chronic stress, which can make the brain pattern irregularities even greater, can make Dyscalculia worse. Decreasing the use of the Dyscalculia neurological pattern and exacerbating stress pattern can significantly improve symptoms.

 

When these factors are evaluated and then treated in concert, symptoms can reduce quickly. At Leigh Brain & Spine, the doctors identify the disruptive brain patterns and then retrain the brain to operate better using Neurofeedback Therapy.

How is Dyscalculia Diagnosed?

Traditional assessment for dyscalculia includes a battery of tests in different areas to assess for discrepancy among learning areas, including math. Certain learning and attention issues often co-occur with dyscalculia, so a full evaluation of abilities is often performed. Your child’s teacher may also be asked about what he/she sees in the classroom. The biggest sign of a specific learning disorder is a notable discrepancy between ability and aptitude. A child with dyscalculia may perform well in other subjects, such as English or history, but have very low grades in math and math-based classes. The differences in performance area due to brain functioning among the areas needed to perform mathematical skills.

What is the Best Test for Dyscalculia?

Scientists have identified a brain pattern that is used when a person has strong cognitive functions in all areas. Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG) technology was used to find this brain pattern. Abnormal qEEG findings are known to be at the root of Dyscalculia. A qEEG Brain Map can identify if the brain is suffering from neurological dysfunction that is causing the person’s mathematical challenges. In this way, advances in neuroscience and technology are making it easier to identify and treat Dyscalculia and other learning challenges.

How Can Neurofeedback Improve Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is known to be associated with abnormal brain functioning patterns. The brain has difficulty implementing mathematical functions due to problems with visuo-spatial processing. This brain pattern, identified on qEEG, can give the person significant challenges with mathematical tasks. Stress and anxiety are a co-occurring condition for children with Dyscalculia. Neurofeedback Therapy improves the way the brain is performing and thus reduces the difficulties with math and the symptoms of anxiety.

Neurofeedback Therapy re-wires brain irregularities for better performance. Scientific studies prove that Neurofeedback has high success rates by providing auditory and visual feedback to improve the way the brain is operating. With better brain function comes alleviation of symptoms.

What’s the Most Effective Treatment for Dyscalculia?

Neurofeedback Therapy is a clinically proven, drug free, non-invasive treatment option that can improve the brain pattern toward the optimal one proven to be symptom-free. When the brain is working better, the flow of neural information that controls mathematical skills can work better and symptoms can be reduced.

Neurofeedback is:

  • Drug-Free
  • Non-Invasive
  • No Side-Effects
  • Clinically Proven
  • Long-lasting Benefits
  • Proven successful with 65-year legacy

Neurofeedback Therapy works directly with the person’s brain for an enjoyable experience that is proven effective.

What Do I Do If I Have Dyscalculia?

If you would like to reduce your Dyscalculia symptoms and associated anxiety, call the professionals at Leigh Brain & Spine. Our doctors can perform a qEEG Brain Map to determine if you are a strong candidate for Neurofeedback Therapy.