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Dyscalculia is a clinical term used to describe a Specific Mathematics Disorder. Children diagnosed with dyscalculia often have difficulty with number sense (understanding what the symbol of the number is representing); basic calculation skills including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; difficulty with mathematic problem solving and word problems (not due to difficulty reading the math problem but rather due to difficulty integrating the information in order to solve the problem); and difficulty with fluent retrieval of math facts.
There are several possible reasons that your child may struggle in math. It is a complex process requiring a great deal of cognitive ability to come up with one answer. We will outline below some of the most common.
Dysgraphia is a clinical term used to describe difficulty with the writing process. Typically students that struggle with dysgraphia struggle with the fine motor process of holding a pen or pencil, the ability to copy words from the board to their paper in an intelligible format, letter formation and handwriting, and the ability to get their thoughts from their brain to the paper.
There are several processes involved in writing ranging from the ability to hold the pencil to the ability to adequately organize thoughts in a sequential and meaningful format. Typically students with dysgraphia struggle in several of these areas. Not all students that struggle with handwriting have dysgraphia nor do all students that struggle with conceptualizing paragraph level writing have dysgraphia. Rather dysgraphia describes a pattern of performance across all writing domains than would typically be expected for the child's developmental level.
Dysgraphia is treated with a structured approach to fine motor control, handwriting instruction (often a switch to cursive is suggested if the child is over 8 years of age), systematic spelling instruction, and explicit paragraph/essay organization strategies. These students struggle with all of the demands of the writing process and making these routines more automatic allows them to use less of their cognitive capacity (i.e., brain space) on each task thereby allowing them to focus more on the content of their writing.
Students who struggle with number sense often need a more explicit curriculum with hands-on materials in order to understand the underlying concepts of mathematic operations. Explicit and direct instruction that is provided in a linear and sequential fashion based on complete mastery of a concept is typically a better fit than spiraling programs that move quickly from one concept to the next and then "spiral" back around for review.
Students with specific difficulties in math also benefit from an "Orton-Gillingham" approach in that the material is provided in an explicit manner, following a specific order of material that is taught to mastery. Spiraling programs or language heavy programs are often not good for students with specific learning deficits but are largely recognized in the general curriculum.
While we are happy to show your student how to use the skills we are teaching to their in-class concepts our philosophy is to teach the skills in a new, different, and meaningful way. So the concepts we are working on in therapy may not always align with the school's curriculum.
There are a number of difficulties that can be consumed under the umbrella of "dysgraphia" ranging from extreme difficulty with handwriting and the motor processes of writing to the difficulty with producing or coming up with a topic and details to write about.