Option #2: Conservation of Numbers
Learning disabilities refer to disorders that affect an individual’s ability to understand and use written or spoken language, coordinate movements, carry out mathematical calculations or direct their attention purposefully. Learning disabilities are more pronounced and prevalent during an individual’s formative years especially when they join school. Learning disabilities manifest as difficulties in the interpretation of various stimuli such as visual, auditory, and tactic stimuli, which require linkage and processing by the brain.
These disorders are caused by a defect in the brain affecting nerve cell connections responsible for conveying nerve impulses from one region to another, which spawns differences and disabilities in learning. In the US, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that schools use a Response to Intervention (RTI) model as an approach to determining a student’s learning needs.
The most common learning disabilities include dyslexia or the inability to read, auditory and visual difficulties, dyscalculia or flawed mathematical reasoning, and dysgraphia or difficulty in syntax or arrangement of words in a sentence.
Dyscalculia is a learning disability that that affects a child’s mathematical abilities by limiting their ability to understand concepts related to numbers such as formulas and symbols used in calculations (Nicolson and Angela 134). Dyscalculia is a disorder that affects a child’s mathematical abilities by affecting adversely on their numbers sense that is manifested through difficulties distinguishing between big and small and relating numbers to their respective words such as five to 5. Dyscalculia can manifest as developmental, whereby a child exhibits significant disparities in cognitive abilities especially in dealing with numbers and mathematical concepts.
Type2 dyscalculia is characterized by the complete inability to grasp numerical problems and mathematical concepts. It is important to note that the other learning disability called dyslexia that affects an individual’s ability to read and associated words with their respective sounds (Nicolson and Angela 133). Dyslexia affects all learning activities that require reading including mathematics and related concepts. Problems with conservation of numbers are a common attribute of dyscalculia, whereby victims do not distinguish the fact that the number of objects does not change upon their rearrangement.
The children interviewed were between the ages of 4 and 7 years and they exhibited the following symptoms typical to dyscalculia. Upon arrangement of 8 marbles in a straight line, the children were able to count them accurately. However, upon increasing the distance between the marble to create a longer line, the children agreed that the marbles were more than 8 despite the fact that their number had not increased. Other symptoms include poor number facts memory, weak visual-spatial skills, reversal of mathematical figures, and inability to apply knowledge and skills to solve mathematical problems (Nicolson and Angela 129).
Discussion and Summary
Dyscalculia is a learning disability that can co-occur with other issues that can manifest similar symptoms. For this reason, it is critical for educators to carry out full evaluations that cater to all learning areas. Attention deficit disorder/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects a child’s ability to pay attention or sustain it for substantial periods of time that offer an opportunity to learn something as characterized by the fact that almost 40% of ADHD victims manifest dyslexia (Nicolson and Angela 131). Other disabilities that can co-occur with dyscalculia include executive functioning issues, slow processing speed, auditory processing disorder (APD), visual processing issues, dysgraphia, and dyslexia.
Nicolson, Roderick I., and Angela Fawcett. Dyslexia, learning, and the brain. MIT Press, 2010, pp. 127-139.