Dyslexics and people with dyscalculia do not have an easy day-to-day life and even at school they are uncomfortable because they cannot follow the lessons. They have no lower intelligence quotient than their classmates, but only a partial performance disorder in the mathematical or linguistic area. It is important that parents recognize signs early and have their child tested. A reliable diagnosis and targeted subsequent support measures can ensure that the problems in everyday life are no longer as significant. In the case of dyslexia, there is also the possibility in primary school that spelling errors are not included in the performance evaluation.
Are Dyslexia and Dyscalculia Diseases and How do They Arise?
Difficulty reading and writing and arithmetic are not considered illnesses in the narrower sense. Nevertheless, they were included in the catalog of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Is Dyslexia a Disability
About ten percent of people worldwide are affected by dyslexia, five to seven percent are affected by dyscalculia, although there are major deviations depending on the study.
The causes of dyslexia and dyscalculia have not yet been clearly clarified. With both partial performance disorders, however, a genetic and therefore hereditary predisposition is very likely. With dyslexia in particular, other causes and risk factors also play a role, namely
Is Dyslexia Genetic
- Neurological Abnormalities: The brain regions that are responsible for language work differently,
- Disturbances in visual and/or auditory perception
- Speech development delays (so-called “late talkers” have an increased risk of developing dyslexia),
- Dealing with media in the home environment: Children who are rarely read to and who instead use digital media are more likely to develop a reading and spelling disorder than other children.
What Signs Should Parents Look For?
With some affected children, the partial performance disorders are already apparent in kindergarten, with others, for whom the problems are not so pronounced, only in elementary school age. Sometimes the children succeed in compensating or hiding their weaknesses first. In the number range up to 10, you can compensate for your poor understanding of numbers and quantities by counting on your fingers.
Often, even in preschool age, they lack the ability to assign the correct number to a group. They also find it difficult to record quantities simultaneously, for example, without being able to count exactly or at least roughly say how many pens are on the table or how many eyes a die shows.
In school they cannot do simple arithmetic operations because they do not have a basic understanding of them. Therefore, mathematical transfer payments are not possible either. For children with dyscalculia it is not a contradiction if 2 + 2 = 4 is on their sheet and 3 + 3 = 4 next to it. In addition, they always need visual aids to be able to draw up an invoice.
The Following Symptomatic Weaknesses Occur in Dyslexics:
- Letters that look similar are swapped (e.g. d and b),
- Letters and sounds are not or only incorrectly connected to one another
- Letters can only be viewed in isolation and are difficult to perceive as a meaningful word,
- Spelling rules are difficult or impossible to internalize and apply,
- Meaningful reading is difficult,
- Reading is slow
What Diagnosis and Therapy Options are There?
A diagnosis of both partial performance disorders is only possible in close cooperation between parents, teachers and therapists or psychologists. Both learning disabilities must be distinguished from other diseases or environmental factors. For example, children with a general learning disability or a low intelligence quotient can develop problems with arithmetic and / or writing or reading, but in these cases the cognitive problems are no longer just partial performance disorders.
An IQ test is therefore always carried out as part of the diagnostic procedure. Children with dyslexia or dyscalculia often have a high IQ, or at least an average IQ. The mathematical or written language performance must therefore deviate significantly from the generally measured intelligence in order for dyscalculia or dyslexia to be present. Furthermore, the performance compared to peers is in the lower quarter of the total test results.
Social factors such as poor teaching or school anxiety as well as illness-related performance restrictions must also be ruled out before a reading and spelling disorder or arithmetic weakness can be diagnosed with certainty.
With regard to therapy, it is important that the individual learning problems are first carefully analyzed. In dyscalculia in particular, there are very different thought patterns behind the alleged calculation errors. For this reason, even standardized support programs or tutoring can have little effect, since the causes of the partial performance disruptions cannot be discussed here.
Regarding the financing of learning therapies, parents in USA are unfortunately left pretty much on their own. The health insurances cover the costs of therapies for sequelae such as school anxiety or other socio-emotional illnesses, but not the therapy itself. In individual cases, however, it is possible to apply for funding from the respective youth welfare office.
Holistic therapies that address both the symptoms and the psychological concomitant symptoms are useful. Many children with dyscalculia or dyslexia have low self-esteem, are frustrated, and are aggressive towards others. They often refuse to go to school or suffer from social isolation. Then a child psychologist should definitely be consulted. In addition, occupational therapy measures can be successful.
But: Both dyslexia and dyscalculia are incurable. The children can only learn strategies how to deal with them and learn about the possibilities of compensation.
Partial Performance Disruptions and Grading
The extent to which a diagnosed dyslexia is taken into account in the performance evaluation depends on the school and the respective federal state, because educational issues are a state issue. In most elementary schools it is possible that the spelling of affected children is not included in the assessment. Most secondary schools don’t get involved. It is important that the teachers are informed in order to find individual solutions together with the parents and the student.
Children with dyscalculia, on the other hand, are currently not being accommodated by teachers or school administrators. Unfortunately, you often have to accept the bad grades that go along with the problems in the math area.