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Dyscalculia: difficulties in mathematical reasoning in children

Dyscalculia: difficulties in mathematical reasoning in children

One of the learning difficulties that children may present in their school stage is related to mathematics and mathematical reasoning, and is what is called dyscalculia. This difficulty may or may not be accompanied by other learning disorders such as dyslexia or attention difficulties.

Many times we think that children's difficulties with math They are related to the subject itself (it is difficult, it does not interest the child, it does not make enough effort ...) but we do not think that after these difficulties or bad marks in mathematics there may be a fundamental problem, a specific difficulty that affects the learning of this subject.

It must be taken into account, as in the rest of learning difficulties, that all children can present math learning problems at some point during their school years, but they are not due to a specific learning difficulty, therefore it is important to distinguish when we speak of dyscalculia and when not. Dyscalculia is a persistent disorder, and affects the learning of mathematics in general and not specific content.

For the development of mathematical learning, previous skills or prerequisites are necessary, which if not correctly acquired, can lead to problems with mathematics:

- Attention, memory, reasoning and perception, (visuospatial organization, auditory perception, short and long term verbal memory, serialization and sequencing skills ...)

- Adequate linguistic development, good level of reading comprehension.

- Acquisition of basic concepts (size, shape, quantity, order, position)

- Body knowledge, (body scheme, adequate lateralization).

To all this must be added the child's own cognitive development, which in its different stages will allow him to face increasingly abstract tasks. As not all children develop at the same rate, facing certain tasks before they are ready can also lead to difficulties, but these gradually disappear.

But yes, these difficulties persist above what is considered normal by age and school stage, we can speak of a Specific difficulties of mathematics.

Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that affects children with an adequate level of cognitive development, a good performance in learning, but it is difficult for them to understand numerical notions or perform arithmetic calculations. This difficulty manifests itself in different degrees. They can present:

- Problems to write the numbers correctly.

- Problems learning to perform basic mathematical operations.

- Trouble carry out and solve mathematical reasoning questions.

In dyscalculia, the following may appear:

- Perceptual, visuospatial, and visuoconstructive difficulties (spatial organization, recognizing mathematical signs and symbols, position of numbers, identification of numbers, notions in front of behind, before after ...)

- Linguistics, (reading comprehension, writing numbers in letters, understanding mathematical terms ...)

- From memory.

- Symbolic, (handle numbers mentally, perform calculations, series ...)

- Cognitive (plan work, check results ...)

All of them can make it difficult to carry out operations and calculations.

The fundamental thing, as in the rest of learning difficulties, is an early and correct detection of them, by a professional who determines if the difficulties that the child presents are due to a specific learning disability or rather you have a base of lack of maturity or poor acquisition or development of basic skills for learning mathematics.

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