Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dyscalculia = Maths oriented Dyslexia

We have heard a number of stories concerning the lack of awareness and knowledge about Dyscalculia but we are always amazed and shocked when it pertains to educational institutes and teachers.

Recallinga recent letter concerning a mother and her daughter, who is in college working on her associates degree. She was doing very well in all her classes, with one exception, maths, and then only within the criteria of timed tests.

She had been tested when she was much younger and been told that she had issues with stress or timed testing of maths. Her parents tried to explain the circumstances to the college. They asked if their daughter could be tested in a one to one learning centre with supervision, but without the stressful time limits. Unfortunately, the institution said no and were very unsympathetic to the parent's and their daughter's plight.

Sadly, we are told that the college personnel and teachers were very dismissive and acted as if the family were imagining the condition or simply making the whole thing up. We find this completely unacceptable in this modern world where inclusion, accessibility and usability is uppermost in all our minds. Educational institutes sole role is to enable learning and comprehension NOT to create difficulties by exclusion, squashing enthusiasm and promoting elitism.

For parents and students in a similar situation there is a supportive and helpful forum on the Dyscalculia website; The Dyscalculia Forum. There’s even a good chance a member is close where you live and maybe know a local place to get help.

If you’re in the US you can find local learning disability associations on the LDA USA website. They are a good source for local facilities, support and testing. It is important that you seek support from your community and not work too much in isolation, especially in raising awareness and in communicating your needs to the colleges and institutions.

Raising awareness for Dyscalculia is extremely important because it is still somewhat unrecognised all over the world. You will come across barriers to understanding but remember that Dyscalculia is medically approved in the scientific and educational world and falls into the same category as dyslexia, and has been for Decades.

Dyscalculia is clearly described, and accepted, in Both the DSM-IV and WHO ICD-10, which is the global medical registers used by doctors and mental health professionals to diagnose. It would be useful for you to seek this out and to get good copies made, to distribute to non-believers or misinformed educators. Thus, helping raise awareness and your cause through evidence-based research.

Unfortunately, you do need to become a pseudo or mini expert on dyscalculia to respond to the ignorance of others and to not only answer their questions but also to know what you are talking about. Also you should contact a local association and ask for their support and advocacy.

You will not only be helping your own or your family's situation you will be helping the many people who are excluded by the mere fact they have a Maths Dyscalculia.

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