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Do you tell people that you have dyscalculia?





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Dyscalculia Lecture
RachelM
#1 Print Post
Posted on April 27 2008 07:19 AM
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Location: England
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Hi All,

For those of you based in the UK there is a lecture on dyscalculia coming up at the Cheltenham Science Festival. It's being delivered by Brian Butterworth who is one of the UK's leading researchers into the condition and author of "The Mathematical Mind".

The lecture is on Sunday 8th June at 2pm and tickets are available on: www.cheltenhamfes...tival.html
See you there!

Rachel
Edited by eoffg on April 27 2008 11:03 AM
 
3EBGPS
#2 Print Post
Posted on April 27 2008 12:18 PM
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Location: United Kingdom
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At last - i've been looking for something like this for ages.Maybe if there are enough UK members going, we could organise a meet!
 
3EBGPS
#3 Print Post
Posted on April 27 2008 03:16 PM
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Location: United Kingdom
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What a nuisance..cant book online. Will have to call tomorrow!
 
3EBGPS
#4 Print Post
Posted on May 16 2008 05:36 PM
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Location: United Kingdom
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Great news..ticket came through today. Im really looking forward to it!
 
gooup
#5 Print Post
Posted on May 16 2008 05:56 PM
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Please see if this will be made available in print or DVD media for those of us here in the states!
 
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3EBGPS
#6 Print Post
Posted on May 16 2008 06:17 PM
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Location: United Kingdom
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We will see what we can do
 
RachelM
#7 Print Post
Posted on May 17 2008 10:00 PM
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Location: England
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Great news about your ticket - I'm looking forward to it! I really want to know what studies are being done at the moment and if there are any tests available for adults. Also trying to collect evidence as no-one believes me! I hope there's something we can take away - if not we'll tell you all about it on the forum.
 
3EBGPS
#8 Print Post
Posted on May 29 2008 04:01 PM
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Location: United Kingdom
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I agree....dyscalculia is one of my performance management targets this year. Really looking forward to it
 
RachelM
#9 Print Post
Posted on June 08 2008 03:05 PM
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Location: England
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Well I have to say I was a little disappointed by the lecture itself, but it was being given for good reasons. It was organised through a government research programme called Foresight, the purpose being to increase awareness on the condition and get it recognised in schools.

The lecture was given by Brian Butterworth who is a British researcher into the condition. His view of dyscalcuia turned out to be quite extremist. His theory on dyscalculia was that it was unlike dyslexia but similar to colour-blindness ie: you either had it or you didn't...he believes there are no sub-types or degrees of severity and there is no evidence to suggest it.

Brian's theory is that dyscalculics have a problem with numerosity: the concept of number. He went on to describe the research being carried out on children in Australia and Cuba, and some other countries which have given him the estimation that 6% of the population suffer with the condition.

The tests developed for children are simple and are scored not only on accuracy, but also on the speed it takes to reach an answer. For example a number is shown next to an area of dots - the child has to say whether the number matches the amount of dots or not. Dyscalulics carried the task out slowly and had to count each dot. "Normal" children were able to reason and guess the amount which meant they carried the tasks out quicker. The other tests was to compare two numbers and to say which is the highest number. Again dyscalulics were slower and often had no concept of where numbers are placed in relation to each other.

Unfortunately he said there is currently no help for adults -but hopes to develop this further down the line. He recommends practising basic math concepts to re-enforce knowledge.

He also did not go into detail about any other symptom of the condition - although some members of the audience asked about time-telling and co-ordination. He recognises that there is a spectrum of other symptoms but did not elaborate.

I left the lecture feeling a little let-down...but I would be really interested in hearing what other researchers have to say.

How did you find it 3EBGPS?
 
justfoundout
#10 Print Post
Posted on June 08 2008 04:41 PM
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Location: Texas USA
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6/8/08
Hi people in the UK!
I just read all the above postings. How exciting that you all found a place on which to physically converge and maybe even meet each other! I'm sorry that the lecture left out such huge areas of interest, and also that:

... "he believes there are no sub-types or degrees of severity and there is no evidence to suggest it."

If this were true, then I would surely be 'up the creek without a paddle' as far as getting my algebra credits waived for my degree. It scares me to think of it. Here's some good news,... a counselor at a community college in Fort Worth, Texas, told me on the phone that there are different degrees of dyscalculia. He said that some people 'max out' at a 6th grade level, while others might 'max out' at a 12th grade level, etc.

I tend to believe that the person who gave the lecture you speak of is NOT dyscalculic himself,... right? And, he has probably had limited personal contact with anyone who has it. It sounds like he got his information from someone else's book or survey. Nevertheless, anyone who is trying to get the condition recognized by the school system is to be commended for his efforts.

It was fun to read your report to the forum.
justfoundout

Edited by justfoundout on June 08 2008 04:41 PM
 
ert
#11 Print Post
Posted on June 08 2008 08:47 PM
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I too, have seen Brian Butterworth 'live' - I spoke at a Nordic Conference about mathematical difficulties in 2005, and he was invited to speak too. Sadly, I can't remember much as I was sick as a dog - but he didn't mention anything about subtypes, just a lot about the brain, his studies and the dyscalculia screener.

It sounds weird that he said that there are no subtypes. I would really like to hear his reason for stating that, other than the fact that no evidence exists.

justfoundout: I like Butterworth. He is one of THE experts on dyscalculia - but then again, there aren't a lot of them. He's not dyscalculic, but have decades of experience in this field, and have made tons of studies. I'm sure he knows what he's talking about, in a lot of 'math and the brain'-areas. He's the author of several books, and made the dyscalculia screener.

But no degrees of dyscalculia, and no subtypes... I doubt it.
 
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3EBGPS
#12 Print Post
Posted on June 09 2008 07:11 AM
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Location: United Kingdom
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Hi all....

I have to agree. The lecture itself wasnt as inspiring as i thought it was going to be. The international research was good and I found the brain part interesting.I have to say that we have the screener he spoke of in our school and while it is a tool, there does not feel any security as what to do when the diagnosis is identifed. Rushed response...setting up at school. Will post later x
 
Brian Butterworth
#13 Print Post
Posted on June 09 2008 08:31 AM
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Location: London, UK
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About subtypes and the dyscalculia spectrum. Of course, dyscalculics present with a wide range of symptoms, and some will feel more severely handicapped than others. I have met, and tested, many dyscalculics over the years, both children and adults, and can testify to this diversity. The scientific question is whether this diversity is due to differences in the type of underlying numerical deficit, or whether it is due to other factors that could affect the presenting symptoms.

In one attempt to evaluate this, I compared dyscalculics with dyslexia and those without dyslexia. There was no difference between the groups on any of the tests of numerical capacity or numerical achievement. As far as I know, there have been no other studies of dyscalculia subtypes. From the sufferer's point of view, it may not matter whether the symptoms are due to the combination of two functionally independent cognitive impairments, or whether they are due to a particular subtype of dyscalculia. But from my point of view, it is vitally important to distinguish between the effects of another cognitive impairment on the external symptoms, from different underlying deficits in the capacity to deal with numbers. This is critical for establishing the causes of dyscalculia. For example, the brain systems affected will be different if the are two independent contributing factors as compared with a single different subtype. The genetic determinants may also be different.

In my lecture, I could only tell it as I saw it. That is, there is no experimental or systematic evidence for subtypes or for degrees of impairment in the core deficit, and no evidence for specific interactions between other cognitive problems and dyscalculia. But I was careful to qualify this, as I always am, with possibility that evidence to the contrary can turn up tomorrow. So, if there are keen researchers out there who think there are subtypes, or degrees of impairment, please please go out and find the evidence!
 
www.mathematicalbrain.com
hoobit
#14 Print Post
Posted on June 09 2008 04:01 PM
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Brian Butterworth – I’ve read with great interest all I could find on your research since I ‘found’ you a year ago. I thank you, beyond words!, for your investigating of dyscalculia; I can only imagine how difficult it is when there is so little previous (or current) work done on the issue. You are a hero. An absolute hero.

I’m having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around some of the information re: ‘no subtypes’ – no ‘degree(s)’ of dyscalculia, though, and I’m wondering if I’m understanding what you are saying correctly. In your saying:
But from my point of view, it is vitally important to distinguish between the effects of another cognitive impairment on the external symptoms, from different underlying deficits in the capacity to deal with numbers. This is critical for establishing the causes of dyscalculia. For example, the brain systems affected will be different if the are two independent contributing factors as compared with a single different subtype. The genetic determinants may also be different.


In my lecture, I could only tell it as I saw it. That is, there is no experimental or systematic evidence for subtypes or for degrees of impairment in the core deficit, and no evidence for specific interactions between other cognitive problems and dyscalculia.
could I compare that to, say, the ‘working’ of a hand in that old joke? The one where the Doctor looks at a person’s broken hand and says, “We can fix that – it’ll be as good as new and you’ll be able to do everything you want to with it”; and the patient says: “Oh, that’s wonderful news. Will I be able to play the piano?”, to which the Doc replies, “Sure; better than ever!” and the patient says: “Well, that’s GREAT, I wasn’t able to play the piano before I broke my hand…and I’ve always wanted to.”?

In other words: If a patient came in with an obvious break to their hand, the break would be the ‘diagnosis’ (the break can be seen –through observation (history) and through diagnostic tools (x-ray)) but nothing more than that.

The break, although identifyable, in and of itself, is not the sole issue preventing the person from playing the piano; there are other factors which, when combined with the break, toss any chance of piano-playing right out the window.

So, if 7 people come in with the same diagnosis (a broken hand) their eventual ability to play a piano is dependent upon other factors also simultaneously at work—(to name a few, their having rheumatoid arthritis, fused knuckles, missing 3 of the five digits normally found on the hand, etc.,) that would prevent them from tickling the ivories with any degree of facility…no matter whether the hand’s break was there or not.

The break is the break (dyscalculia is a ‘stand alone’ thing)…the other factors, factors exacerbating that break (visual-spatial difficulties, etc.), are what are causing the different manifestations of inability within the person diagnosed with the learning disorder.

Do I have that right - or even semi-right?, or am I totally off in the comparison? m.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein
 
ert
#15 Print Post
Posted on June 09 2008 08:44 PM
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Thanks for stopping by Brian!
 
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justfoundout
#16 Print Post
Posted on June 10 2008 12:16 AM
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Location: Texas USA
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6/9/08
Hoobit,
I know you'll be checking back here to see subsequent postings to yours. Please go to my latest posting on the 'introduce yourself' thread. I'm in serious need of comfort regarding my school making me re-take the same math course I've failed 3 times. I know you have so-o-o much experience with this in helping your son. Just need a little comfort.
justfoundout
Edited by justfoundout on June 10 2008 12:17 AM
 
RachelM
#17 Print Post
Posted on June 12 2008 09:57 PM
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Location: England
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Thank you Brian for your clarification of your study - I think I understand the objective and why the many variables must be minimised. My own interest in the condition is not only focussed on the why it occurs - but also on how it affects peoples lives (especially adults), individual experiences, coping strategies etc etc and am frustrated that as an adult there is no help out there (or if there is why I've not found it!).
I look forward to any further reseach being carried out and am always willing to be a part of that. I'd love to carry some out myself of course but I'm statistically very challenged (having had teachers on the verge of tears trying to explain them...).
I'm sure I speak for many when I say that us adults are desperate for help/guidance/whatever-we-can-get and are impatient for the research to get to that stage!
Best of luck for your continuing studies!
 
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