Dyscalculia and dysgraphia

Written by CWD Editor
Last updated Monday June 28 2021

Many people have heard of dyslexia and understand how it manifests; however, other similar learning difficulties are less well known, mainly dyscalculia and dysgraphia. These are all examples of learning difficulties, which are different from learning disability. The main difference is that learning difficulties do not affect overall intelligence, whereas learning disabilities often do. 

Like learning disabilities falling on a moderate to severe scale, the way a learning difficulty impacts a person varies. 

Here at Careers with Disabilities, we want to shine a light on these less well-known learning difficulties to help more people understand neurodiversity and how it manifests and educate employers and education providers on brain activity and how it varies. 

What is dysgraphia?  

Dysgraphia is a neurological learning difficulty that predominantly affects a person’s ability to write. It impairs a person’s ability for written expression and can have a physical impact on fine motor skills. Some things that a person with dysgraphia may find challenging include: 

– Spelling, spacing and sizing words 

– Expressing oneself through the written word and finding it hard to put thoughts onto the page. 

– Communicating via written language 

– Having legible handwriting 

– Following lines and staying within margins 

– Organising writing on a page 

There are many crossovers between learning difficulties, and the symptoms of dysgraphia are very similar to dyslexia. However, dysgraphia has a more significant impact on writing and dyslexia on reading. Both children and adults can have dysgraphia, and people can manage their dysgraphia undiagnosed until adulthood. 

Ways you can support somebody with dysgraphia at work: 

– Allowing more time to read important documents 

– Offering things printed rather than digitally

– Providing any assistive technology that may help them complete their work, such as a dictaphone or special computer. 

What is dyscalculia?  

Dyscalculia differs from dysgraphia and dyslexia because it does not affect a person’s written and reading communication. Instead, it affects their ability to use numbers. Dyscalculia is a neurological learning difficulty that inhibits the processing of time, numbers, sequences and space. As well as numbers, some people believe dyscalculia can affect a person’s ability to process language as this is a sequencing process. 

Some of the symptoms of dyscalculia include: 

– Struggling with simple maths problems and calculations 

– Difficulty telling the time and reading a clock 

– Visual-spatial difficulties 

– Trouble recalling simple mathematical facts 

– Finding money overwhelming and difficulty estimating quantities 

– Problems with directions and orientation 

– Struggling to recognise patterns and sequences 

Not everybody who struggles with numbers has dyscalculia, and it’s essential to speak to a medical professional if you think you have dyscalculia to receive the support and adjustments you need. 

Ways you can support somebody with dyscalculia at work: 

– Don’t allocate them responsibilities that require dealing with numbers or figures such as spreadsheets, and if they are an essential element of the role them allow extra time. 

– Allowing for the use of calculators in everything they do. 

– Providing any assistive technology can help them complete their role, for example, specialist computer software. 

Last Updated: Monday June 28 2021

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