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The diagnosis and management of dyscalculia


Kaufmann, Liane; von Aster, Michael (2012). The diagnosis and management of dyscalculia. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 109(45):767-778.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Dyscalculia is defined as difficulty acquiring basic arithmetic skills that is not explained by low intelligence or inadequate schooling. About 5% of children in primary schools are affected. Dyscalculia does not improve without treatment.
METHODS: In this article, we selectively review publications on dyscalculia from multiple disciplines (medicine, psychology, neuroscience, education/special education).
RESULTS: Many children and adolescents with dyscalculia have associated cognitive dysfunction (e.g., impairment of working memory and visuospatial skills), and 20% to 60% of those affected have comorbid disorders such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. The few interventional studies that have been published to date document the efficacy of pedagogic-therapeutic interventions directed toward specific problem areas. The treatment is tailored to the individual patient's cognitive functional profile and severity of manifestations. Psychotherapy and/or medication are sometimes necessary as well.
CONCLUSION: The early identification and treatment of dyscalculia are very important in view of its frequent association with mental disorders. Sufferers need a thorough, neuropsychologically oriented diagnostic evaluation that takes account of the complexity of dyscalculia and its multiple phenotypes and can thus provide a basis for the planning of effective treatment.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Dyscalculia is defined as difficulty acquiring basic arithmetic skills that is not explained by low intelligence or inadequate schooling. About 5% of children in primary schools are affected. Dyscalculia does not improve without treatment.
METHODS: In this article, we selectively review publications on dyscalculia from multiple disciplines (medicine, psychology, neuroscience, education/special education).
RESULTS: Many children and adolescents with dyscalculia have associated cognitive dysfunction (e.g., impairment of working memory and visuospatial skills), and 20% to 60% of those affected have comorbid disorders such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. The few interventional studies that have been published to date document the efficacy of pedagogic-therapeutic interventions directed toward specific problem areas. The treatment is tailored to the individual patient's cognitive functional profile and severity of manifestations. Psychotherapy and/or medication are sometimes necessary as well.
CONCLUSION: The early identification and treatment of dyscalculia are very important in view of its frequent association with mental disorders. Sufferers need a thorough, neuropsychologically oriented diagnostic evaluation that takes account of the complexity of dyscalculia and its multiple phenotypes and can thus provide a basis for the planning of effective treatment.

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21 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:11 Apr 2013 07:11
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 16:01
Publisher:Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag
ISSN:1866-0452
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2012.0767
PubMed ID:23227129

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