Asperger Syndrome and Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia combined with Asperger Syndrome can cause huge difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics. It means those who have it experience a fundamental inability to conceptualize numbers as abstract concepts of comparative quantities. For those diagnosed with Asperger anything abstract can be hard for them to understand due to their impairment in imagination. If you cannot imagine what something represents it is so much harder to understand the symbol or the representation.
Dyscalculia occurs in people across the whole IQ range, and those who suffer from it often, but not always, also have difficulties with telling time, measurement, spatial reasoning and have a poor sense of direction.
Children with Asperger and dyscalculia can experience problems with:
• Conceptualizing time and judging the passing of time,
• Telling the difference between left and right.
• mentally estimating the measurement of an object or distance
• Inability to grasp and remember mathematical concepts, rules, and sequences
• Telling which of two numbers is the larger
• Relying on 'counting-on' strategies
• Everyday tasks like checking change
• Reading analog clocks
• Keeping score during games
The problem of dyscalculia does not reflect any emotional issues but causes difficulties in mentally connecting with thought processes. Children with dyscalculia and Asperger often need extensive mental strain to solve simple arithmetic tasks. One of their strategies is using their fingers when counting as a visual aid. They can keep on doing this even when they are into the upper grades. They experience severe difficulties in categorizing and have automatisation difficulties.
How to help
Planning your homework or activities within school is a major problem for those with Asperger and dyscalculia. Most of the time the children do not estimate correctly how much time they need to complete a task or how much time there is left to complete is. Most of them also have problems imagining in what order the tasks should be done. This is also known as an inability to prioritize the tasks. Give these children a clear structure in everyday life and provide them with help such as:
• Using pictures or pictograms for math concepts
• Getting them help from their classmates or peers
• Allow them to use their fingers or scratch paper
• In order to see different problems use colored pencils
• Make sure they are allowed to draw pictures
• Use music or a beat to teach them math facts
• Work with real stuff such as beats for counting, dividing or multiplying
• Give them more time to work on mathematical problems
• Never put them down
And remember: they are not dump but unable to connect mentally with specific types of thought processes. Dyscalculia can be detected by taking a good look at intelligence test. There is often an uneven picture in their results.
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