Types of Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia, which means inability to calculate, is the most widely used term for disabilities in arithmetic and mathematics. Sometimes the term acalculia is used to refer to complete inability to use mathematical symbols and the term dyscalculia is reserved for less severe problems in these areas. Developmental dyscalculia may be used to distinguish the problem in children and youth from similar problems experienced by adults after severe head injuries, according to Hallahan et al. in Introduction to Learning Disabilities.
According to the website Dyslexia in Ireland dyscalculia can be broken down into three subtypes:
- Quantitative dyscalculia, a deficit in the skills of counting and calculating.
- Qualitative dyscalculia, a result of difficulties in comprehension of instructions or the failure to master the skills required for an operation. When a child has not mastered the memorization of number facts, he cannot benefit from this stored "verbalizable information about numbers" that is used with prior associations to solve problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots.
- Intermediate dyscalculia involves the inability to operate with symbols, or numbers.
On the basis of his experience with arithmetic learning problems, Kosc described six types:
- Verbal dyscalculia, which refers to problems in naming the amount of things.
- Practognostic dyscalculia, which refers to problems in manipulating things mathematically — for example, comparing objects to determine which is larger.
- Lexical dyscalculia, which refers to problems in reading mathematical symbols, including operation signs (+, - ) and numerals.
- Graphical dyscalculia, which refers to problems in writing mathematical symbols and numerals.
- Ideognostical dyscalculia, which refers to problems in understanding mathematical concepts and relationships.
- Operational dyscalculia, which refers to problems in performing arithmetic operations.
These types of dyscalculia have not been independently verified — the data Kosc reported about students in Czechoslovakia were not directly supportive of the categories — and they are quite difficult to differentiate in students who have arithmetic learning disabilities. Nevertheless, Kosc's discussion illustrates the many problems students may have in arithmetic and mathematics.
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