The central feature of a Mathematics Disorder is that ability with numbers falls substantially below that expected for the child's chronoligical age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education. Achievement is measured by individually administered standardized tests of calculation or reasoning. The disorder significantly interferes with academic functioning and daily living. A number of different skills may be impaired. Linguistic skills include understanding or naming terms, operations, or concepts, and decoding written problems into symbols. Perceptual skills include recognizing or reading numerical symbols or signs, and clustering objects into groups. Attention skills include copying numbers or figures correctly, remembering to add in carried numbers, and observing operational signs. Mathematical skills include following sequences of steps, counting objects, and learning multiplication tables.
It is estimated that 1% of school-age children have this disorder. Symptoms may occur as early as kindergarten or first grade, including confusion in number concepts or inabiility to count accurately. It is seldom diagnosed before the end of first grade because sufficient instruction has not occurred until this point in most school settings. It usually becomes apparent during second or third grade. Particularly when associated with a high IQ, the child may be able to function at or near grade level in the early grades, and it may not appear until the fifth grade or later.
Special instruction or tutoring is often requried to help children with this disorder be successful in school and in preparation for later careers.
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