Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dyscalculia in the Philippines (In A Nutshell)

What is Dyscalculia?

- It is sometimes referred to as developmental dyscalculia
- It is distinct from a difficulty that has been acquired through accident, illness, poor teaching and other adverse circumstances
- Literally means disorder in calculation - condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills (Department of Education and Skills (London)

What causes Dyscalculia?

- Strong genetic influence on the development of mathematical skills
- environmental factors
- biological influences (50% if the siblings of a pupil with dyscalculia can be expected to have it as well Shalev and Gross-Tur 2001)
- Parents and siblings of a pupil with dyscalculia are then times more likely to have dyscalculia than members of the general population

How to identify Students with Dyscalculia?

List of Warning Signs
1. Slowness
2. Reliance on Tangible Counting
3. Difficulties with the Language of Mathematics
4. Difficulties with memory for Mathematics
5. Difficulties with sequences
6. Difficulties with position and spatial organisation
7. Reliance on imitation and rote learning instead of understanding

Common symptoms of dyscalculia
In the July 2009 article of Dr. Francis Dimalanta in Manila Bulletin, he enumerated the common symptoms of dyscalculia.

• Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing Poetic ability. Good visual memory for the printed word. Good in the areas of science (until a level requiring higher math skills is reached), geometry (figures with logic not formulas), and creative arts.

• Difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction. Inability to recall schedules, and sequences of past or future events. Unable to keep track of time. May be chronically late.

• Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Poor mental math ability. Poor with money and credit. Cannot do financial planning or budgeting. Checkbooks not balanced. Short term, not long term financial thinking. Fails to see big financial picture. May have fear of money and cash transactions. May be unable to mentally figure change due back, the amounts to pay for tips, taxes, etc.

• When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these common mistakes are made: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals.

• Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Poor long term memory (retention & retrieval) of concept mastery- may be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next. May be able to do book work but fails all tests and quizzes.

• May be unable to comprehend or “picture” mechanical processes. Lack “big picture or whole picture” thinking. Poor ability to “visualize or picture” the location of the numbers on the face of a clock, the geographical locations of states, countries, oceans, streets and the like.

• Poor memory for the “layout” of things. Gets lost or disoriented easily. May have a poor sense of direction, lo May have difficulty grasping concepts of formal music education. Difficulty sight-reading music or learning fingering to play an instrument.

• May have poor athletic coordination, difficulty keeping up with rapidly changing physical directions like in aerobic, dance, and exercise classes. Difficulty remembering dance step sequences, rules for playing sports.

• Difficulty keeping score during games, or difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, etc. Often looses track of whose turn it is during games, like cards and board games. Limited strategic planning ability for games like chess.”

Chinn, S & Ashcroft, R. (2007) Mathematics for Dyslexics (Including Dyscalculia).
West Sussex, England. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Dimalanta, F. X. (2009). Understanding Dyscalculia. Retrieved from

Hannell, G. (2005) Dyscalculia (Action Plans for Successful Learning in
Mathematics). London.

Google Images for the pictures


  1. I have Dyscalculia.. and It makes my life miserable.. :'(

  2. is there any method or test to diagnose a student with dyscalculia?

  3. I'm a dyscalculiac and felt very bad each time I go through exams with Math component.

    Hope Philippine Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia Dela Rosa-Bala would institute wide ranging reforms, starting with CSC-PPT, as such test, to be very blunt, discriminate strongly against persons suffering from dyscalculia.