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Harrison Boltin

Liberty University
EDUC 518

DYSCALCULIA
Abstract
Dyscalculia is the inability to obtain an appropriate
capability in mathematics and the inability to build
mathematical relationships successfully. It is something
that could be affecting more of society, specifically school
aged children, than what has been found. The lack of
research and interest from the educational world causes
this to be a topic that is place in the background. Many
mathematics educator do not even know of the topic, thus
making us believe that students are lacking in drive and
ability, rather than having an actually learning disability.
This proposal seeks to find differences between dyscalculic
and non-dyscalculic children in hopes of being able to
further research and knowledge of this lost disability.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of my study is to define
what dyscalculia is and potential factors
that contribute to the development of it,
along with how it is diagnosed.
The second purpose will be to examine
what is being done to help students
overcome this disability and prosper in
the classroom.
Research Questions
What is the definition of dyscalculia?
What is the diagnosis process for this
learning disability?
Is this learning disability being
diagnosed properly in schools?
What are interventions for helping
children with this disability?
Hypotheses
Dyscalculia is not being properly
diagnosed, therefore students are being
left with a disadvantage, even into
adulthood.
Students who exhibit non-normal
difficulties in math should be tested for
dyscalculia.
Variables
Independent Variable
The control and experimental groups

Dependent Variable
Scores on standardized test
Key Terms
Developmental Dyscalculia
This is the name given to a math learning disability.
Cognitive Processes
This refers to the process of thinking that an
individual has. It can be anything from gathering
and storing information to applying information into
different situations.
Working Memory
This refers to the part of the memory that is
responsible for holding and processing information.
It is sometimes referred to at short-term memory.
Key Terms
Neuropsychology
According to American Neuropsychiatric Associations
website, neuropsychology is defined as psychology
that specializes in the assessment and treatment of
patients with brain injury or disease.
Number Processing
This refers to a persons ability to understand numbers.
The difficulty that comes with this can be as simple as
not understanding how numbers are communicated on
the number line to not being able to tell the differences
between numbers. In a sense, a lack of number
processing skills can be number blindness.
Key Terms
fMRI
This refers to functional magnetic resonance
imaging, which uses MRI technology to
measure brain activity by detecting changes
in blood flow.
DTI
This refers to diffusion tensor imaging, which
uses MRI technology to give information
about the white matter infrastructure without
invasive procedures.
Review of Literature
Montis, Kristine K. (2000). Language development and
concept flexibility in dyscalculia: A case study. Journal for
Research in Mathematics Education, 31(5), 541-557.
Retrieved April 1, 2015, from ProQuest (223498879).
Retrieved April 1, 2015, from
http://search.proquest.com/docview/223498879?accountid=
12085
This article looks at a case study with a 12 year old girl who has multiple
learning disabilities. Montis uses her as test subject for finding more
information out about dyscalculia. The article explains the research
design that is used to extract this information. Close observation of the
students grades and behaviors is essential to the study, but also surveys
from the students parents, teachers, etc are used to a large extent. The
article gives specific ways to intervene with this disability. The article also
relates language developments to the mathematical developments
children should perform through. It gives evidence that dyscalculia can
accompany other disabilities.
Review of Literature
De Castro, Marcus Vasconcelos, Bissaco, Marcia Aparecida
Silva, Panccioni, Bruno Marques, Rodrigues, Silvia Cristina
Martini, & Domingues, Andreia Miranda. (2014). Effect of a
virtual environment on the development of mathematical
skills in children with dyscalculia. PLoS ONE, 9(7), .
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103354
This article shows the effects that technology has on dyscalculia. It
performs a study in which it gathers a group of students who fit into a
specific pattern based on testing, socioeconomic setting, etc. The group
of students are introduced to a virtual environment. It is found that
students suffering from dyscalculia, in general, begin performing better
on math testing after being introduced to this environment. The virtual
space consist of games and activities that develop working memory,
representation, reading and writing numbers, measurable quantities, and
calculations.
Review of Literature
Cangoz, Banu, Altun, Arif, Olkun, Sinan, & Kacar,
Funda. (2013). Computer based screening
dyscalculia: Cognitive and neuropsychological
correlates. The Turkish Online Journal of
Educational Technloogy, 12(3), 33-38.
This article examines the diagnosis of dyscalculia. The
researchers use a neuropsychological software that test
specific areas of mathematical thinking and then analyze
it to be of use in understanding dyscalculia. It also looks at
brain functioning and the amount of white matter that is
showing while children are doing these procedures. It
shows that dyscalculia is a primarily brain based disability.
Review of Literature
Dinkel, Philipp Johannes, Willmes, Klaus,
Krinzinger, Helga, Konrad, Kerstin, & Koten, Jr,
Jan Willem. (2013). Diagnosing developmental
dyscalculia on the basis of reliable single case fmri
methods: Promises and limitations. PLoS ONE,
8(12), . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083722
This article looks at fMRI scanning to develop an understanding
of dyscalculia. It primarily focuses on the differences in the brain
structure and characteristics between dyscalculic and normal
children. The white matter shows a significant difference
between these children.
Review of Literature
Michaelson, Matthew T. (2007). An overview of
dsycalculia: Methods for ascentaining and
accomodating dyscalculic children in the
classroom. Australian Mathematics Teacher, 63(3),
17-22.
This article specifically focused on what the mathematics
teacher can do within the classroom to help students with
dyscalculia. The primary way for diagnosing this learning
disability is with the Dyscalculia Screener. It gives that this
is the best method for diagnosis at the moment.
Themes
Definition of Dyscalculia
Raja and Kumar (2011-2012) gives seven types of dyscalculia: verbal,
practogonistic, lexical, graphical, ideognostic, operational and sequential. Verbal
dyscalculia leads the student to be able to complete normal mathematic
computations on paper and in their head, but they cannot verbalize the procedures
and terms. On the other hand, practogonistic dyscalculia leads to an inability to
move from viewing arithmetic work to the concrete quantities and operations that
they represent. Lexical dyscalculia is a difficulty reading mathematic equations,
symbols, and directions. Graphical dyscalculia is a difficulty in writing all the
symbols that are unique to mathematics. Ideognostic dyscalculia expresses itself in
a difficulty comprehending the ideas and relationships of mathematics. Such as, a
child not understanding the concept of what slope on a graph is actually doing even
when they can work problems associated with it with guidance. Operational
dyscalculia students struggle to complete basic mathematical operations; taking
this a step further, they also struggle to follow the many rules that are specific to
mathematics within these operations. Sequential dyscalculia affects students much
beyond the classroom. These students struggle counting numbers in sequence,
which leads to a difficulty understanding measurements, time, and schedules.
Students may exhibit one or more of these forms of dyscalculia.
Themes
Diagnosis of Dyscalculia
Researchers have found that diagnosing
dyscalculia is very difficult. There are many
different ways that can lead to the diagnosis of a
child having dyscalculia, thus making is very
difficult to create a common assessment
framework (Cangoz, Altun, Olkun, & Kacar, 2013).
There are three main ways to diagnose
dyscalculia. The first is through brain imaging.
The second is through observation inside the
classroom. And the third is through the
Dyscalculia Screener.
Themes
Intervention
Intervention of dyscalculia is most seen
through teacher motivated changes in the
classroom to help these students to develop
a better understanding of the material. Other
interventions involving using technology and
virtual environments to improve
mathematical abilities.
Design Descriptive Research
Gall, Gall, and Borg (2015) refers to
descriptive research as "the collection
and analysis of quantitative data in order
to develop a generalizable, statistical
representation of a sample's behavior or
personal characteristics with respect to
predetermined variables." Specifically, I
believe that group-comparison research
could be a good design to use.
Sampling
Two comparison groups would be used.
One group would be average to above
average students in math
The second group would be student
displaying the normal characteristics of
dyscalculia (as defined through the literature
review)
Data Collection
Work from students in a specific classroom would be
examine and students would be placed into two
separate groups.
Teacher input, along with recorded data would influence
the grouping.
Students from both groups would begin the study by
taking a standardized test.
This provides a baseline for all the students.
Students would be tested in even intervals through
many grade levels.
Teacher and researcher observation within the
classroom.
Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics to examine the
data
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to
determine if there is a positive or
negative relationship
Ethics and Human
Concerns
Ethical concerns:
Privacy and confidentiality of participants.

Human Concerns:
Students leaving/entering the classroom
Parents and students will be informed of all
procedures and testing for this study
Timeline
3+ months prior: creation/adoption of
standardized test used, location of school for
study, parental and school approval of study
participants.
Beginning and end of each school year: testing
and analysis of data
This would continue through a minimum of 4 years
(through elementary school), maximum of 12
(through secondary education)
3 month post study: complete analysis of data
and completion of study
References
American Neuropsychiatric Association. (n.d.).
American neuropsychiatric association.
Retrieved May 3, 2015, from
http://www.anpaonline.org/what-is-
neuropsychology
Cangoz, Banu, Altun, Arif, Olkun, Sinan, &
Kacar, Funda. (2013). Computer based
screening dyscalculia: Cognitive and
neuropsychological correlates. The Turkish
Online Journal of Educational Technloogy,
12(3), 33-38.
References
De Castro, Marcus Vasconcelos, Bissaco, Marcia
Aparecida Silva, Panccioni, Bruno Marques, Rodrigues,
Silvia Cristina Martini, & Domingues, Andreia Miranda.
(2014). Effect of a virtual environment on the development
of mathematical skills in children with dyscalculia. PLoS
ONE, 9(7), . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103354
Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P., & Borg, W. R. (2015). Applying
educational research: How to read, do, and use research
to solve problems of practice (7th ed.).
Michaelson, Matthew T. (2007). An overview of
dsycalculia: Methods for ascentaining and accomodating
dyscalculic children in the classroom. Australian
Mathematics Teacher, 63(3), 17-22.
References
Montis, K. K. (2000). Development and concept flexibility
in dyscalculia: A case study. Journal for Research in
Mathematics Education, 31(5), 541-556.
Raja, B. William Dharma, & Kumar, S. Praveen. (2011-
2012). Findings of studies on dyscalculia - A synthesis. i-
manager's Journal on Educational Psychology, 5(3), 41-
51.
Shalev, Ruth S., Manor, Orly, & Gross-Tsur, Varda.
(2005). Developmental dyscalculia: a propesctive six-
year follow-up. Developmental Medicine and Child
Neurology, 47(2), 121-125. Retrieved March 31, 2015,
from ProQuest Psychology Journals.
doi:10.1017/S0012162205000216