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Numerical dyslexia is a term few parents ever Google search unless they have a child that struggles with math. Although the correct term is dyscalculia, having trouble calculating numbers is not as globally recognized as struggling with reading. You may even be wondering if a dyscalculia test exists!
There are several reasons why this might be, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that so many people dislike math in general. Because of this, few parents and even some teachers, do not realize that there is a difference between feeling like ‘I hate math’ and having a brain disorder that makes dealing with numbers extremely difficult.
If your child is struggling with mathematics, taking a dyscalculia test (math dyslexia test) may be the first step toward true diagnosis. If you already have a diagnosis, keep reading. There are many things you can do to help your child exceed academically despite his or her learning difficulties.
Some people call dyscalculia ‘numerical dyslexia’ but these are actually two very different learning disorders. Around 5% of the population struggle with this disorder, but the number may be higher since so many go undiagnosed.
For many years, I thought that I suffered from dyscalculia. When I tell people that, they usually seemed puzzled. After all, I am a math teacher with an MBA. How could someone who has built her life around math be “bad at it”? The truth is I have always struggled with math and still do, to some extent.
Although I was gifted in other areas (I could read on a college level in elementary school), I had a hard time with numbers. Telling time, doing basic math in my head, and solving problems with more than one step was a nightmare.
Although I took advanced reading classes during junior high and high school, I was in remedial math classes. This was before ‘No Child Left Behind’, so being placed in what was labeled ‘slow class’ was common. It impacted my self-esteem.
Even in my first few years of college, I had difficulty passing math courses. The only classes I ever failed in my 15 years of pursuing higher education degrees were math classes. Being the stubborn person I am, this only strengthened my resolve to ‘be good at math.
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The truth is, it was a long road. There have been many tutors, disappointing test grades, lots of studying, and tears over the years. However, I’ve learned to work with my ‘math shortcomings’ and have helped many students do the same.
Here is what I’ve learned about dealing with “numerical dyslexia” that I’d like to share
When I was growing up, dyscalculia was not something that was commonly diagnosed. At least not in my area. Thankfully, both parents and educators are becoming more aware of this disorder.
Dyscalculia can be extremely frustrating for both parents and children. For this reason, it is so important to stay supportive. Dyscalculia can cause serious emotional issues. Not being able to do what is natural and normal for others can be extremely embarrassing.
If a dyscalculia test shows your child has this disorder or some other kind of learning disability, don’t give up hope! Implementing these strategies can help:
One final suggestion is to ask your child’s school administrator about classroom accommodations that could help. Having a working teacher-parent partnership is one of the best ways to support your child in overall school success.
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