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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dyscalculia more common than dyslexia: stud

A new study has found that dyscalculia, a learning disability that leaves sufferers unable to deal with numbers, is more common than its literary equivalent, dyslexia.

The research which was carried out in Cuba, found that up to six per cent of children showed signs of dyscalculia, whereas a little more than four per cent had symptoms of dyslexia.

The research was led by Professor Brian Butterworth from University College in London.

He says it can badly affect the sufferer.

"You have trouble with time, you have trouble with money, you have trouble with any sort of simple calculation," he said.

"[You have] difficulty getting a job, keeping a job, worse health prospects and are more likely to get arrested. It's really disabling."

Tony Attwood, who has set up a support centre for the condition, says that children with dyscalculia need specialist teaching.

"Dyscalculia is at a state where dyslexia was 25 years ago - where everyone said 'we've got to teach them all the same. Sorry you can't cope and that's it'," he said.

"With dyslexia there's been a huge movement to get everyone recognised, to get everybody who needs the help, to have the help.

"And the same can be done with dyscalculia, as long as there's a will to do it."


hayesatlbch said...

At some point you have to read to solve math problems.

I would need more information about the study before evaluating work that finds a little over 4 % dyslexia rate (seems a bit specific and low)and then finds up to 6% have signs of dyscalculia.

I have never liked "up to" numbers
in general and it seems out of place in a math disability study.

Are these the same children in both tests? How is the overlap ?

Is there a reason that the professor did the study in Cuba ? Was the study done on pre school children where the quality of the instruction would not be important or how well was the quality of instruction evaluated.

Was there an effort to have equal definitions of lowered performance for both conditions?

Unless sample size was large enough to be accurate to be + or - 1% ( generally unlikely in studies that don't disclose # of subjects involved) is there really a difference between results of 4&6 %.

I am not saying the conclusion is not true. I have probably heard I don't like math more than I don't like to read.

Dollars to donuts there is a Math area of the brain. I looked at the University College web site and they do have an MRI in the professors department. Is this just the start for getting grant funding ? " Well after all there are more dyscalculics than dyslexics how can we fail not to study them."

I just googled Tony Attwood now I understand. Tony wants to teach dyscalulics and Butterworth has written a book on discalulic guidance.

I also noticed that people with dyscalculia and dyslexia both have an almost identical set of symptoms and would likely IMHO be the same people. They also both have visual problems so I can predict that my niche of visual dyslexia probably has a corresponding niche with visual discalculia where a small % of dyscalculics have difficulty seeing numbers to read them accurately.

I actually have heard some visual dyslexics complain about reading numbers and math symbols accurately and my See Right Dyslexia Glasses have corrected that for them. I just don't hear about the math problems much because my niche is visual dyslexia problems.

I will end now. I don't want to spam and I annoy enough people with my comments on what I think are poor conclusions reported by studies.

ERKO said...

YEs, Yes, Yes.

I agree that there are many more questions than answers not only about the info, but also about how it is framed.

I posted this in part because I found it odd that Cuba would be mentioned. Not a bad mention, to be sure, but an odd one nevertheless given so many different factors separating our two countries. (My family is Cuba, btw)

Also, it is part of a bigger picture of overdiagnosing every little difficulty. I believe it is part and parcel with our cultures definition of intelligence as being nature, not nurture.

I will continue to think about this and I really appreciate the comments.