Research suggests comorbidity between dyslexia and dyscalulia. Discuss in light of recent research and examine the implications for classroom practice. Dyscalculia is a fairly common specific learning difficulty (SpLD) that affects between 1 and 7% of the UK population…
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Beyond arithmetic difficulties, the abstract nature of mathematics means that dyscalculia sufferers can also have difficulty in spatial reasoning, and with comprehension of time. As mathematical reasoning is used in so many situations, it is important for educators to understand that management of dyscalculia is important for the individual in later life. As with many of the other SpLDs, the difficulties that children have when facing dycalculia in an educational environment is that they will often not understand why they are struggling. Peers may also acknowledge their difficulties, which can lead to feelings of failure, anxiety and stress. For this reason, it is important for educators to understand the needs of those with dyscalculia, which can often be overshadowed by dyslexia. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current research and government recommendations on dyscalculia to ascertain the implications that this SpLD has on classroom practice. It will also cover the evidence for comorbidity between dyslexia and dyscalculia, and how classroom practice should be altered to deal with individuals who have specific learning needs. What is dyscalculia? Dyscalculia is an important SpLD because it affects mathematical and spatial reasoning for the affected individual. This is despite the fact that an individual has had mathematical education, and may be developing normally in other areas. The UK parliament report on dyslexia and dyscalculia suggests that mathematical problems are more likely to affect people in adulthood because the effects of dyscalculia are more long-lasting and mathematical reasoning skills are more valued by employers Reed & Warner-Rogers, 2009. Dyscalculia does affect those with other learning difficulties and is prevalent in those with a low (intelligence quotient) IQ, but dyscalculia can affect a wide range of individuals across the spectrum Reed & Warner-Rogers, 2009. Like dyslexia and the other SpLDs, there is evidence that dyscalculia is highly heriditary and has a strong genetic component. Twin studies suggest that, where one twin has dyscalculia, there is a 70% likelihood that the other will also have the SpLD (). Although twins are likely to share a similar environment and educational history, many twin studies do take this into account, and there is evidence that only 55% of non-identical twins will share dyscalculia. Despite the fact that dyscalculia is thought to affect up to 7% of UK residents (), it is only recently that it has been properly acknowledged and thoroughly researched. Many of the options available for those with dyslexia (for example) are not available for those with dyscalculia. The British Dyslexia Association does provide information about dyscalculia but it does not currently have its own charitable support organization (). Government interventions for educators who are dealing with dyscalculia are fairly new, and based on recent research. However, dyscalculia is recognized as a special educational need and therefore there are guidelines provided for those in primary school, secondary school as well as guidelines and advice for adults Reed & Warner-Rogers, 2009. These will be covered in more detail throughout this essay, but it is important to acknowledge the influx of interest in dyscalculia, which suggests that it is an important and prevalent problem for many in the UK. Causes of Dyscalculia As previously mentioned, much ...
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