Dyscalculia Tests Used to Diagnose It

No parent likes to witness their child having academic difficulties. The majority of parents believe their child will behave and develop in a manner that is both normal and comparable to other students. It is your responsibility as a parent to start investigating the cause or causes of your child’s issues as they begin to exhibit basic learning concepts difficulties.

If your child is having difficulty with math, they may have dyscalculia, a learning condition that the medical community refers to. Of course, there is only one way to be certain that your child’s difficulties are directly related to this specific learning condition. This would entail obtaining a thorough evaluation from a qualified psychologist or specialist who conducts Independent Educational Evaluations or IEE and specializes in learning impairments.

Signs Your Child Might Have Dyscalculia

Prior to going through the expense of evaluation and testing, your child might be showing signs of dyscalculia in school or at home when doing math homework.

As a means of determining whether or not to have your child evaluated, here are some signs you can look for (age of child dependent):

  • Has trouble learning to count
  • Struggles with very basic math calculations
  • Needs to use fingers to count beyond the first year of elementary school
  • Struggles with the recognition of math symbols
  • Has trouble properly lining up numbers for calculations
  • Avoids math and the use of numbers
  • Struggles to keep score in games and sports
  • Has difficulty telling time or counting money
  • Types of tests for Dyscalculia

Your child will have to undergo testing when you bring them in for a thorough assessment of their learning ability. Of course, if your child is under the age of 10, that can be a little distressing for them. However, the best method a doctor can tell if your child has a learning issue like dyscalculia is through testing.

Since dyscalculia is a very specific learning disability that involves math, there is a good chance the doctor will administer a battery of tests that focus on math learning and skills.

Essentially, you can expect them to administer multiple tests from one of the following four types:

  • Tests that assess computation skills
  • Tests that assess math fluency
  • Tests that assess quantitative reasoning
  • Tests that assess mental computation

It’s reasonable to expect that you as the parent would like to know more about these types of tests. For that information, we encourage you to keep reading.

Many exceptional people struggled with Math. Four notable people:

Alexander Graham Bell: 1847-1922 – Invented the Telephone
Thomas Edison: 1847-1931 – Invented Lightbulb
Michael Faraday: 1791-1867 – Invented the Electric Motor
Charles Darwin: 1809-1882 – Theory of Evolution which had a great impact on science

Tests That Assess Computation Skills

In this category, the most popular and common tests would include:

  • The Woodcock-Johnson IV (WJ IV) Calculation subtest,
  • The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test IV (WIAT-III) Numerical Operations,
  • Certain subtests of the Comprehensive Mathematical Abilities Test (CMAT),
  • And the Mathematical Fluency and Calculations Tests (MFaCTs).

These tests will help identify how your child handles basic math operations like adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and dealing with basic fractions.

As you well know from your school days, having these basic math skills is necessary in order to be able to handle more complicated math calculations in the future. The testing process involves nothing more than giving your child basic math equations and asking them to work through them manually with paper and pencil.

Tests That Assess Math Fluency

In this category, the most popular and common tests would include:

  • The WJ IV Math Fluency subtest,
  • The MFaCTs Fluency Test,
  • And the WIAT-III Math Fluency subtest.

These types of tests are directed at determining how quickly and accurately your child can solve basic math equations. If they struggle to handle basic math by instinct, it will force them to use too much energy on the basics and affect their ability to do math without counting fingers or using a calculator.

These types of tests involve answering as many math problems in writing while trying to complete as many as possible within a prescribed time period.

Tests That Assess Quantitative Reasoning

In this category, the most popular and common tests would include:

  • The WIAT-III Math Problem Solving subtest,
  • The CMAT Problem Solving,
  • And the WJ IV Applied Problems.

Beyond handling basic math operations, children need to learn how to understand quantitative relationships and turn word problems into mathematical formulas that can be solved. These evaluations assess a child’s capacity for this form of reasoning. Either dyscalculia or dysgraphia could be the root of these problems (language understanding learning disability).

To test in this area, children are given a series of oral word problems and asked to solve the problems while showing their work. If a child in mid-elementary school struggles to lay out a proper math formula to help solve the problem, the presence of dyscalculia is almost certain.

Tests That Assess Mental Computation

In this category, the most popular and common tests would include:

  • The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) Arithmetic subtest,
  • The Test of Mental Computation,
  • And the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT).

Children who are proficient in math have very good math recall capabilities. They can do math calculations in their head with reasonable speed and accuracy. Tests like this will assess a child’s ability to do “mental math.”

Testing is done either orally or visually. The child is given math problems and asked to solve them in their head without paper and pencil. If a child scores low in this area, it could indicate they have issues with basic math, problems with math memory, or perhaps emotional problems that interfere with their ability to mentally perform math operations.

Treating Dyscalculia

It’s critical to realize that mathematical aptitude does not equate to intelligence. People who are talented in one area—like Shakespeare or Picasso—may nonetheless have difficulty with math. Don’t be startled if your doctor requests to administer an IQ test because children are no different than adults in that they might struggle with dyscalculia while also being above-averagely intelligent. There are a few strategies to handle this learning issue if they determine that your child has dyscalculia.

The first step would be to pair your child with an occupational therapist who would attempt to enhance their relationship with numbers. If that has little to no impact and your child still struggles with the necessary math, adjustments can be made (computers, calculators, math tables, etc.).

Serin Center

If you are located in the Metro Phoenix Arizona area, the Serin Center has two offices located in Peoria, AZ, and Scottsdale, AZ that can provide testing for Dyscalculia and provide Independent Educational Evaluations. Contact us today to discuss how we can help.

Our educational evaluations can provide diagnoses and generate specific goals and treatments to help your child succeed. Completed in Peoria & Scottsdale AZ